Southwestern has a deep commitment to public service. Its administrators, deans, professors, students and alumni have devised many ways to help prepare and support the next generation of diverse, compassionate Southwestern attorneys in their public service career pursuits.
The following scholarships are dedicated to supporting Southwestern students pursuing public service career goals.
Individual Donor and Foundations Scholarships
Margaret A. Barreto-Morehouse Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: established in memory of Mrs. Margaret A. Barreto-Morehouse '80 to provide financial assistance to a continuing female student with the career goal of becoming a prosecutor.
Irwin N. Bloom Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: established in memory of Mr. Irwin N. Bloom '59 to provide financial assistance to students who have demonstrated a genuine interest and commitment to public service and government work.
Dino Hirsch Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: scholarships from this fund are awarded to Hispanic law students with financial need who are planning to pursue public interest careers. The endowment was established by the Coronado Street Tenants Association after they won a settlement from a negligent landlord with the assistance of Ms. Edie Sussman '81. The fund is named after the late tenant organizer who initially helped the 14 families.
Professor Douglas Salem Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: established by members of the Southwestern community in memory of this beloved and distinguished faculty member. Preference is given to students demonstrating academic excellence, participation in extracurricular and community activities, and financial need.
George A. Yanase Memorial Scholarship Endowment Fund: established in memory of Mr. George A. Yanase '67 by friends and members of the Yanase family. Scholarships from this fund are awarded to evening students in their final year of study who have been employed throughout their law school career and who have demonstrated an interest in public service and governmental work in the field of corporate securities law.
Public Interest Law Committee
Southwestern's student-run Public Interest Law Committee (PILC) sponsors a number of activities every year to raise awareness and encourage involvement in providing legal services to underrepresented members of society. The PILC board coordinates fundraising efforts throughout the academic year with all proceeds benefitting Southwestern’s Public Interest Law Fund which supports students including the Public Interest Law Summer Grant Program.
Public Interest Law Committee Summer Grant Program
Students interested in working in public service, which includes public interest law organizations and government agencies, may apply for grant and summer fellowship opportunities. These programs provide sources of financial support to students seeking education and training in public service while offering agencies the valuable support necessary to increasing services for diverse, indigent communities.
Public Interest Law Committee Graduating Student Awards
Recipients are selected annually through an application and faculty committee review process. The Faculty Public Interest Law Committee takes into account the following factors in assessing a graduating student application for each award:
- Participation in public interest law activities while a student at Southwestern.
- Participation in public interest law activities with a nonprofit organization, government agency or other entity while a student at Southwestern.
- Plans for a career in public interest law.
- Plans to incorporate pro bono service in private practice.
George and Katrina Woolverton Public Service Award
Given annually to one graduating student in recognition of demonstrated extraordinary dedication to public interest law activities while at Southwestern. The Woolverton Award is in the amount of $10,000.
Woolverton Family Public Interest Award
Given annually to one graduating student in recognition of demonstrated exceptional dedication to public interest law activities at Southwestern. The Woolverton Family Public Interest Award is in the amount of $5,000.
Southwestern Public Interest Law Service Award
Given annually to a graduating student (or students) other than the Woolverton Public Service Award and Woolverton Family Public Interest Award recipients in recognition of demonstrated significant dedication to public interest law activities while at Southwestern.
Application for Public Interest Law Committee Graduating Student Awards
In order to be considered for the George and Katrina Woolverton Public Service Award or The Woolverton Family Public Interest Award or the Southwestern Public Interest Law Service Award, the following items are required:
- Current resume
- Personal statement
- Letter(s) of recommendation
The deadline to apply for the PILC Committee Graduating Student Awards is typically scheduled mid-March each year and posted on the Portal along with full details on application instructions –e.g. application material requirements, format requirements, word-count requirements, letter of recommendation requirements, etc. – before submitting at the online application portal.
After close of the application deadline, the Faculty Public Interest Law Committee reviews all student applications received and will notify students of application status by early April with awards disbursed during the Spring semester.
Public Interest/Public Service Recruitment and Community Events
Equal Justice Works Career Fair
Happening every October, the Equal Justice Works Career Fair is the largest national recruitment event for public interest / public service career students and through which students can apply for academic-year, summer or postgraduate opportunities in regions from across the country – e.g. East Coast, Mid-West, South/Deep South, Pacific Northwest, and Southwestern states.
More than 250 employers will conduct formal interviews for academic-year and summer clerkships as well as postgraduate and entry-level positions with public interest, civil legal aid, and government agencies in offices from across the country. Employers also will be available to meet with students in informal “table talk” discussions. Registered student attendees also take part in workshops on public interest / public service careers, networking, resume review, mock interviews, and more.
If you are interested in competing for formal interviews, please contact Career Services or the Public Service Program.
Southern California’s Public Interest / Public Sector Career Day
Southern California’s Public Interest / Public Sector Career Day (PICD) is one of the largest regional recruitment events in the country with more than 130 employers from private-public interest firms, public interest / civil legal aid agencies, social justice nonprofit organizations, and government agencies participating to recruit law students for summer law clerk programs and other year-round opportunities.
PICD is sponsored by the Southern California law schools – California Western, Chapman, Loyola, Pepperdine, Southwestern, UCI, UCLA, University of La Verne, University of San Diego, USC Gould School of Law, and Western State.
PICD 2024 will take place on Friday, February 9 - Saturday, February 10, 2024. Students and recent graduates are welcome to participate in PICD. However, the formal interview component is only available to law students enrolled at a sponsoring law school. For individualized assistance in how to participate in PICD 2024, please contact Southwestern’s Career Services to schedule an appointment with your assigned Career Services advisor.