How UVA Law Prepares You for a Public Service Career

We at the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center focus 100 percent on guiding and supporting the next generation of UVA Law’s public service attorneys. Between our three counselors, we bring experience in legal aid, public defense and government work, as well as a deep knowledge of the public sector market.  We work closely with student leaders and colleagues in the Program in Law and Public Service, externships, clinics and general faculty to build a community that supports each student’s path toward public service.  We provide a wealth of resources, both live and online.  For a sampling of our online resources, see our Employment Resources for Public Service.

What we value:

  • Exposing students to legal practice & practitioners.  Every day we connect students and alumni with public service attorneys, whether for informational interviews, job shadowing, or pro bono projects.  We host panels, receptions, and public service employer interview sessions throughout the year so students can meet attorneys at all stages of their careers.  We support formal mentorship programs like Public Service Alumni Mentors and PILA’s peer mentorship program to help students build long-lasting relationships with likeminded students and alumni working in a wide range of public service fields.
  • One-on-one counseling.  We believe in truly getting to know students, exploring their interests, strengths and challenges, and helping them craft practical plans to reach their goals.  Students who want to learn about public service jobs start meeting with Public Service Center counselors in the fall of their 1L year and work with them throughout law school on everything from phone and e-mail etiquette to cover letter drafting and real-time interview practice.
  • Generous financial support.  Students working in public service internships and  careers have the full support of UVA Law behind them.  We provide this in three major ways:

(1)   Funding every student who works in a 1L or 2L summer internship with a public service employer and fulfills grant application requirements, including pro bono service, through Public Interest Law Association grants ($4000 for 1Ls/$7000 for 2Ls pre-tax). We also offer several, competitively awarded UVA Law-only fellowships to students who will do international, nonprofit civil rights, and public policy-focused legal work.  Our Public Interest Interview Program also reimburses students for some or all of their interview-related travel costs.

(2)   Granting postgraduate fellowships each year to a graduating 3L or judicial clerk to spend two years working with indigent clients as a Powell Fellow in Legal Services, and to multiple graduating 3Ls to spend a year working at a nonprofit or government agency as Robert F. Kennedy ’51 Public Service Fellows.  Both fellowships are awarded through a selective application process.

(3)   Giving generous loan repayment assistance for up to 10 years to all graduates working in public service jobs who meet program guidelines under the Virginia Loan Forgiveness Program and Virginia Loan Commonwealth Plans.

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