Santa Clara Law created the Public Interest and Social Justice Endowment in 1989 in response to a growing need to support students and alumni committed to the practice of public interest and social justice law. In 2009, the fundraising efforts of the Center for Social Justice and Public Service and the Endowment Board merged to create the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board.

Beginning in 2018, in recognition of the generous gift from Professor Emeritus Richard Berg and his wife, awards from the former Public Interest and Social Justice Endowment Fund will be designated as Richard P. and Madé S. Berg Social Justice Public Interest Summer Grants. In addition to the Berg awards and the other named awards summarized here, the Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board will continue to draw from other funding sources to award summer grants designated as Public Interest Social Justice Law Board Summer Grants.

Eligibility

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 have arranged 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. Both civil and criminal law jobs are eligible. Students who receive academic credit for a summer job are not eligible to receive grants.

Selection Process and Criteria

Applicants must submit their completed applications through the on-line application form no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, March 26, 2018. The Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board will select the awardees. 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.

Applications

Applicants for the Public Interest Social Justice Law Board Summer Grants must must complete the on-line application form and 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 award; (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.

Applications must be submitted no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, March 26, 2018. Applicants who also want to be considered for other grants should check the appropriate boxes on the on-line application form.