Public Interest Conference Funding

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Each year the law school sets aside funds to sponsor students who wish to attend public interest conferences. This funding is limited so students are encouraged to seek other funding. In the past, the school has provided partial funding for students to attend social justice conferences, national security law conferences, employment law conferences, animal rights conferences and more. Funding is distributed as follows:

Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair

The Equal Justice Works Conference & Career Fair, the nations’ largest public interest legal career fair and conference, is held annually in the Washington, D.C., area at the end of October. The Law School hosts a Public Interest Alumni & Student reception to coincide with the conference. Most years, somewhere between 25-50 students attend the conference and reception. The law school pays student registration fees (see instructions on how to register) and lodging at the conference hotel (based on sharing rooms). The school is not able to cover meal or travel expenses, so students are encouraged to carpool.

Public Interest Conferences

Students who want to attend public interest conferences are encouraged to meet with a staff member before making plans. To fund as many students as possible during the year, students are asked to first seek funding through the host organization, as many will sponsor students, and then apply for funding from the Duke Bar Association. After a student has pursued these options, they may apply to the PIPB office for additional funding. 

Apply for Funding

Students should email Stella Boswell and Catherine Davis the following: conference information including a link to the conference schedule and registration; the dates the student hopes to attend the conference; a proposed budget; and a short statement explaining why the student wants to attend the conference and what they hope to get out of the experience. Factors that will be considered in determining the amount of financial support a student will receive include: the amount of funding available during the current school year; the overall cost of conference attendance; the purpose of the conference; whether the student has been funded for other conferences in the past; other funding pursued by the student; and what information, if any, the student will receive that can be shared with other students and the broader Duke Law community. The law school generally does not provide funding for meals.

Funding and Reimbursement

Whenever possible, it is preferred that the student work with the Public Interest and Pro Bono Office directly to register for the conference. For air travel, it is best if the student arranges the travel and then seeks reimbursement following the conference. Students who seek reimbursement should be aware that the process may take several months and students will be required to provide all receipts indicating what an expense was for and that it was paid. For air fare, a student must also submit copies of all boarding passes.