This summer, more than 200 UCLA School of Law students are engaged in diverse public interest jobs ranging from fighting evictions to protecting migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border, and from advocating for low-wage workers to prosecuting war crimes.
UCLA Law is devoting nearly $840,000 to its Summer 2019 Public Service Fellowship Program, sending students across California and around the world to serve communities in need. Nearly 90 percent of the funding for the fellowship program is provided by the University of California Office of the President's Public Service Law Fellowships program. Private donors and UCLA Law fund the rest.
The Summer Fellowship Program makes student employment possible at nonprofit organizations and government agencies that cannot afford summer legal internships. Nearly half of UCLA Law's rising 2L class (142 students) and many rising 3Ls (62 students) participate, gaining valuable experience representing clients and doing advocacy work in fields including criminal justice, immigration, homelessness, youth and education work and labor law. Students are working across California, in 11 other states and Washington, D.C., and in six foreign countries.
Employers include Human Rights Watch, the ACLU, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Natural Resources Defense Council, Al Otro Lado, the Central American Resource Center, Bet Tzedek, Public Counsel, the East Bay Community Law Center, the California Coastal Commission, the Frank D. Lanterman Regional Center, the Los Angeles County Office of the Public Defender, the Bronx Defenders, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.
"The Summer Fellowship Program allows UCLA Law students to get a feel for real-world practice and legal representation while still in school, and supports more than 100 organizations in need of help in fulfilling their missions," said Karin Wang, executive director of the UCLA Law David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy." Many students who emerge from the program continue to give back throughout their professional lives, helping fulfill the University of California mission of public service."
In addition to UCOP, donors and foundations supporting the summer fellowships include the Ahmanson Foundation, the Frank D. Boren Environmental Law Fund, the Sadath Garcia Memorial Fund, the Karen Hauser Memorial Fund, the Robert & Milly Kayyem Family, the Panayota Nanopoulos Fund, the Robert A. Pallemon Memorial Fund, Michael Palley, Michael D. Palm, the Vicki Lynn Shapiro Scholar Fund, the Snyder Memorial Fund, the Justice John Paul Stevens Foundation and Stu Walter. Additional support was provided by the more than 200 donors who supported UCLA Law's 2019 public interest celebration, U. Serve L.A.
"UCLA Law has long been home of one of the top public interest law programs in the country," said UCLA Law Associate Dean for Public Interest Law Brad Sears. "The Summer Fellowship Program is an integral part of our effort to support students committed to advancing social justice and working in public service."