UCLA School of Law has awarded 14 postgraduate fellowships, including seven University of California President's Public Service Law Fellowships, to 2019 graduates committed to practicing public interest law. Totaling $665,000, the one-year fellowships include stipends of $45,000 for each graduate as well as funding to help defray bar exam expenses. The fellowships enable graduates to work on behalf of underserved individuals, communities and causes, as well as in government positions.
"These fellowships are critical because they enable our graduates to break into the field of public interest law, where job opportunities are scarce, and secure positions with top public interest employers," said Brad Sears, UCLA Law's associate dean of Public Interest Law. "These positions not only give our students a first foot in the door, but also lead to careers in the students' areas of interest."
Recipients of the fellowships will work at organizations including Al Otro Lado, the ACLU of Hawai'i, the ACLU National Prison Project, the Public Defender's Office in Charlotte, N.C., Disability Rights California, Earthjustice, the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, the National Center for Youth Law, the National Immigrant Justice Center, the National Lawyers Guild Los Angeles Chapter, Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles, Planned Parenthood and San Francisco BayKeeper.
Through these fellowships, UCLA Law graduates will help address critical issues including human trafficking, immigration, environmental law, civil rights and labor and employment discrimination.
This is the fourth year that UCLA Law graduates have received funding from the UC President's Public Service Law Fellowships. More than 90% of fellows funded through the program have transitioned from their fellowships to permanent public interest or government positions.
In addition to the UC President's Public Service Law Fellowships, funding for seven public service fellowships was provided by the Ahmanson Foundation, Glen Sato and Hope Nakamura, UCLA Law's David J. Epstein Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, Emmett Institute on Climate Change and the Environment and Promise Institute for Human Rights, and cy pres funds.
UCLA Law has a long-standing tradition of promoting legal work in the public interest. Through clinical courses and programs, students under expert supervision provide legal assistance to criminal defendants, asylum seekers, American Indian tribes, veterans, civil and human rights organizations and environmental justice advocates. For more than 40 years, UCLA School of Law students also have managed El Centro Legal Clinics, one of the largest student-run legal volunteer efforts in the country.
The UC President's Public Service Law Fellowships are part of a UC Office of the President initiative to award $4.5 million annually to make public service-oriented postgraduate work and summer positions more accessible to promising students at UC's four law schools – UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis and UC Irvine.