Summer Public Interest Law Grant Program

Southwestern’s Summer Public Interest Law Grant was established in 1990 with the mission of providing a monetary award to students who seek a summer law clerkship with a nonprofit organization that provides free or low-cost legal assistance to low-income or marginalized individuals or underserved communities.  Students who seek a summer law clerkship with a local, state or federal government agency are also eligible to apply for a grant. This includes the Public Defender’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office. As part of the application, students must demonstrate that the summer clerkship is consistent with the mission of Southwestern’s Public Interest Law Grant and merits funding as a public interest law position.  

Recipients are selected annually through an application process. The Faculty Public Interest Law Committee takes into account: whether an applicant participated in fundraising activities for the Summer Public Interest Law Grant; the applicant’s public interest experience; the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to public service; whether the applicant has interviewed for a qualifying public interest summer clerkship and whether the applicant has received a placement offer.

Students are provided meaningful public service exposure while offering community organizations valuable legal assistance. Other programs are also available to work in public interest and help the local community, living up to the dual goals of enhancing the educational experience of our students and assisting people and public entities in need.

Sample list of Southern California Nonprofit Organizations and Agencies

  • Alliance for Children's Rights
  • American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
  • Asian Americans Advancing Justice (APALC)
  • Bet Tzedek Legal Services
  • California Lawyers for the Arts
  • California Women's Law Center
  • Catholic Legal Immigration Network Inc.
  • Children's Law Center of Los Angeles 
  • Coalition to Abolish Slavery and Trafficking
  • Disability Rights California
  • Disability Rights Legal Center
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Inland Empire Latino Lawyers Association, Inc.
  • Inner City Law Center
  • Kids in Need of Defense
  • Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice
  • Learning Rights Law Center
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles
  • Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers, Inc.
  • Mental Health Advocacy Services
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Neighborhood Legal Services
  • Public Counsel
  • Working People's Law Center

NOTE: This is not an exhaustive list. It is rather a guide to help you with your search for a summer law clerkship.