The application period for Summer 2015 Fellowships has now ended. Thank you to all of our applicants. Thanks to the generous support of the UT Law and Austin legal community, TLF will be able to fund forty-one of our summer fellowship candidates this year!
Each year, TLF awards $4,000 to 1L and 2L students who will spend their summers working for at least 400 hours (10 weeks) at a qualified public interest organization. Two-thirds of the fellowships are awarded based on donors’ votes during the Spring Pledge Drive, and the remaining third are awarded based on a holistic review of applications.
How to Apply
1. Secure a summer placement with a qualifying organization.
- Qualified Organizations
- 501(c)(3) tax-exempt non-profits.
- Government agencies.
- Some international organizations. Contact the pledge drive coordinators for details.
- Unqualified Organizations
- Labor unions.
- Lobbying entities.
- Judicial internships.
- Deadline: You must have your placement offer before the application deadline.
- Payment: Your summer work must be unpaid. If it provides a stipend or if you receive alternative funding totaling less than $4,000, you may apply for a TLF, but you will only be eligible to receive the difference.
- Split Summers: TLF recipients must complete 400 hours (generally ten weeks) of unpaid work for a qualified organization. You may split those hours between multiple qualified organizations, e.g., five weeks with a nonprofit and five weeks with a government agency. You may not split those hours between a qualified organization and an unqualified organization, even if both are unpaid.
2. Submit an application.
- Basic Information: Your name, contact information, and school year.
- Pro Bono Hours: The number of pro bono hours you have worked at UT Law. These hours will be verified against the Pro Bono Program’s records, so make sure you’ve reported your hours.
- Summary:Eighty words or less describing the organization you plan to work for and the type of work you will do. Your summary will be available on the web site and at the pledge drive table—it’s your opportunity to persuade donors to vote for you, so put some thought into it.
- Essay:Between 500 and 1000 words—with your name and any other identifying information removed—that describes:
- your commitment to public service;
- how you plan to use your TLF Fellowship;
- the reason you selected your sponsoring agency and what you hope to gain from your time there; and
- anything else you think the selection committee should know.
- Resume: A current resume with your name, contact information, and GPA removed.
- Verification Letters:A letter from your employer—or multiple letters, if you are splitting your summer—stating the following:
- They have a position for you.
- They are unable to pay you or the amount they are able to pay you, if it is less than $4,000 for 400 hours or more of work.
- The type of legal work you will do.
- The name of your supervising attorney.
Nonprofit organizations also need to provide verification of their 501(c)(3) status. They may do this in the letter or provide a separate document.
3. Encourage people to donate to TLF on your behalf.
- TLF’s Spring Pledge Drive raises the majority of our yearly funding. Applicants help us raise money—and help their own chances of receiving a fellowship—by encouraging others to donate to TLF on their behalves. Anyone who donates $25 or more can vote for the applicants and organizations they think TLF should fund.
- Write a persuasive summary (see above) to convince donors your summer work is worth funding.
- Encourage your friends and family to donate to TLF during the Spring Pledge Drive.
- Support your classmates.
- Put up posters or send mass emails.
- Loiter near the pledge drive table.
- Try to game the system.
How Fellows Are Chosen
- The number of fellowships TLF awards each year varies depending on fundraising. TLF will award fellowships to as many students as funds allow. In the past, TLF has been able to support between 15 and 35 students.
- Fellowships are awarded in two ways:
- Fundraising: Two-thirds of fellowships will be awarded based on the number of donors who voted for an applicant or project.
- Holistic Review:The remaining third of fellowships will be awarded based on a holistic review of applications. The review will be performed by a committee that includes UT Law faculty, staff, and students. Applicants will remain anonymous during this process. The review committee will consider the following:
- Commitment to public service, as shown by an applicant’s resume, essay, and class year. (E.g., a 2L returning to public interest work for a second summer may be presumed more committed than an otherwise identical 1L.)
- Pro bono hours.
- TLF recipients will be notified after the Spring Pledge Drive.
Requirements After Receiving a Fellowship
Fellowship recipients will be required to write a thank-you letter to donors, provide TLF with a photograph from their summer work, and to be available to speak briefly about their summer experiences to donors or other students during the subsequent school year.
Other Sources of Funding
TLF cannot predict the number of fellowships we will be able to award, but we are generally unable to fund every applicant. We encourage you to try to secure funding from other sources:
- Baron & Budd Fellowships
- CSO Study Break Public Service Stipends
- Equal Justice America Fellowships
- Equal Justice Works Summer Corps
- Haywood Burns Fellowships
- Peggy Browning Fellowship Program
- Rapoport Center Summer Fellowships
- Texas Access to Justice Internships
- Whitehurst Public Interest Summer Fellowships
You may also research pslawnet at www.pslawnet.org for additional summer funding options.