UVA Law Public Service Summer Grant - FAQs

  1. What are the requirements to apply for a UVA Law Public Service Summer Grant?
  2. What if I am not sure whether I will be taking a public service job this summer. Should I still apply?
  3. What is a Pro Bono Hour?
  4. What is a Public Service Hour?
  5. I am planning on splitting my summer between two employers. Am I still elgible for a Public Service Summer Grant?
  6. What are the tax consequences of a Public Service Summer Grant?
  7. What is a qualifying Public Service Employer?
  8. What is a qualifying Judicial Employer?
  9. Is there a cap on Public Service Summer Grant funding?
  10. If I am selected to receive a Public Service Summer Grant what are the conditions of accepting it?

1. What are the requirements to apply for a UVA Law Public Service Summer Grant?

Grants will be 100% guaranteed to all applicants who complete their applications on time and meet the following requirements:

  1. 40 hours pro bono/public service hours per grant* (no more than 5 hours of which may be public service) completed by February 11, 2022 OR Register for and be accepted on a PILA-sponsored Alternative Spring Break trip for the upcoming spring; AND
  2. Accept a qualifying public service or judicial internship OR have applied to five qualifying employers; AND
  3. Complete the grant application by 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, February 11, 2022.

*NOTE: Due to limitations on pro bono service during the pandemic, we are making an exception to this general rule for 2022 grants. 2L students who received a grant for summer 2021 need to complete only a total of 60 (not 80) cumulative hours over their 1L-2L years in order to receive a grant for summer 2022. In other words, if you completed 20 hours to receive your 1L grant, you must now complete an additional 40 hours for your 2022 grant.

2. What if I am not sure whether I will be taking a public service job this summer. Should I still apply?

Yes! Each year some students do not perform the pro bono hours needed to apply for a Public Service Summer Grant because they think they will not need it. Unfortunately, we cannot grant an extension or an exception to grant policies in this situation. We recommend that you do pro bono and apply for a grant unless you are certain you will not need it.

3. What is a Pro Bono Hour?

Pro Bono Hours are volunteer hours that meet the definition of pro bono according to the Law School's Pro Bono Program:

  • Law-related and non-clerical (e.g. interpretation/ applications of the law, legal research and writing, legislative drafting and work in preparation for litigation or trial);
  • For the benefit of legal services, nonprofit organization (501(c)(3) or (4)), governmental agency, or private firm providing pro bono services;
  • Supervised by an attorney or faculty member;
  • Not performed for academic credit or financial compensation; and
  • Completed while the student is enrolled at the Law School.

We highly recommend that you read the Program’s Pro Bono FAQs on their website.  If, after reading the definition and FAQs you still have questions about whether an activity qualifies as pro bono, you should email the Program at probono@law.virginia.edu. To find pro bono opportunities, please check GoodWorks.

4. What is a Public Service Hour?

These are non-pro bono hours that count toward the minimum hours grant applicants need in order to be eligible to apply. The official definition and examples are below.

Public Service Hours:  Uncompensated hours during the academic year (including fall, winter, and spring breaks) spent volunteering in non-profit or governmental activities that directly benefit disadvantaged populations, the environment, animals, or the broader community beyond the university, including hours spent doing charitable work through a student organization.

Examples of Hours That Qualify:

  • Tutoring or mentoring disadvantaged populations.
  • Volunteer work with city agencies or local non-profits other than UVA (e.g. trail maintenance for Charlottesville Parks and Recreation; volunteering at the Humane Society; building for Habitat for Humanity).
  • Soliciting donations for a charitable cause or event where a majority of the net proceeds go to charity (e.g. raising money for natural disaster relief or disease research).
  • Organization and coordination of activities that qualify as pro bono or public service hours (e.g. organizing for Alternative Spring Break).

Examples of Hours That Do NOT Qualify:

  • Activities which primarily benefit law students or others in the UVA community (e.g. planning or attending student events, fundraising for an organization’s general fund, attending general meetings or social gatherings of student organizations).
  • Partisan activities (e.g. canvassing for a candidate, fundraising for a political party, lobbying).
  • Hours completed during the summer when school is not in session.
  • Hours that are already counted as pro bono hours.

If you are unsure about whether a particular activity qualifies as a public service hour, please contact the Public Service Center (publicservice@law.virginia.edu).

5. I am planning on splitting my summer between two employers. Am I still eligible for a Public Service Summer Grant?

Public Service Summer grantees must work at least 320 hours (the equivalent of 8 weeks of full-time work) during the summer in an eligible public interest position or positions. This requirement may be fulfilled with one or multiple qualifying public service/judicial employers.

6. What are the tax consequences of a Public Service Summer Grant?

Public Service Summer Grant recipients receive grant funding through the Law School Foundation’s payroll system. Required federal and state taxes will be deducted from the grant payment. Grant recipients must complete and submit all the necessary payroll paperwork before receiving their fellowship payment.

Pre-tax grant amounts are $4,000 for 1Ls and $7,000 for 2Ls. The tax impact will vary on an individual basis. Neither the Law School Foundation nor the Public Service Center can give you tax advice, so we encourage you to seek outside opinions if you have further questions about your personal tax situation.

7. What is a qualifying Public Service Employer?

Students must work for a qualified public service or judicial employer to be eligible for a Public Service Summer Grant. Qualifying public service employers include:

  • Government agencies (federal, state, or local)
  • Legal aid organizations
  • Prosecutors
  • Public defenders
  • Non-profits/NGOs

For lists of past internships students have participated in, see here: ​​https://www.law.virginia.edu/public-service/pila-grant-employers-summer-2021

*If you are unsure if an internship is eligible for the PILA grant, please contact the UVA Law Public Service Center at publicservice@law.virginia.edu.

8. What is a qualifying Judicial Employer?

Students performing legal work for a judge or a court in the summer of their 1L and 2L years are eligible to receive PILA grants. They must meet all the other requirements expected of public service grantees, including the performance of pro bono service.

9. Is there a cap on Public Service Summer Grant funding?

No, there is no cap on summer earnings for Public Service Summer Grantees. If a student earns a grant, they will receive the full amount, minus applicable state and federal taxes, regardless of any additional funding they receive for the summer.

10. If I am selected to receive a Public Service Summer Grant, what are the conditions of accepting it?

Grants are awarded on the following conditions: (1) completion of at least 320 hours of work at your qualifying public service or judicial internship; (2) submission of a summer internship evaluation survey to the Public Service Center; (3) you allow your employment information to be shared with the Law School Foundation; and (4) you agree to return the full amount of the grant by April of the following year, if the previous requirements are not met.

If you have additional questions that are not answered here, please e-mail the Public Service Center at publicservice@law.virginia.edu.