Richard P. Berg, Professor Emeritus, taught at Santa Clara University School of Law from 1973 to 2004. During that time he played an active role in the Law School’s public interest programs. He served for many years on the Board of the Center for Social Justice; he was an important advocate and supporter of the student summer grants program.

In 2017, Richard and his wife Madé made a generous donation to the Law School to create the Richard P. and Madé S. Berg Social Justice Public Interest Endowment Fund. Many of our summer grants will be awarded in their names. Their gift was made in the hope that it will inspire our students to pursue careers that value and promote the importance of public interest work, regardless of their practice area.


Santa Clara law students who have completed at least one year of full-time or part-time study by the start of the summer fellowship are eligible for grants. Applicants must arrange a full-time summer law position with a public interest or social justice organization. Qualifying organizations include legal service agencies or other not-for profit providers of legal services. Government offices that focus on public interest work will qualify, but judicial externships will not.

Selection Process and Criteria

Applicants must submit their completed applications through the on-line application form. Grantees will be honored at the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Celebration and Graduation Ceremony in May. Grantees are required to submit a brief report at the conclusion of their work.

Selection will be based on the following criteria:

  1. Strong interest in a career in public interest and social justice law. The student need not demonstrate that he or she ultimately will pursue a public interest law career but should provide evidence that he or she is giving serious consideration to such work. Such evidence could include prior involvement in public interest and social justice activities.
  2. Developing ability and strength in working with legal problems and materials. This criterion may be met in part by indications of successful academic performance in law school courses, but it also may be demonstrated through other types of successful involvement in legal projects.
  3. Additional consideration will be given to students with demonstrated financial need.

Applicants must include the following attachments:

  1. A letter from the public interest employer confirming a summer job offer for at least 40 hours per week for at least ten weeks. (This letter need not be included with the initial application, but must be provided before the grant money is distributed.)
  2. A resume.
  3. A personal statement explaining (1) the work or project for which the student proposes to use this fellowship; (2) how the work will develop the student’s legal skills, (3) how the work will further the student’s professional interests and goals, and (4) the student’s commitment to public interest and social justice law.
  4. Any available documentation of the student’s ability and strength in working with legal problems and materials.
  5. Optional: A Statement of financial need.