Duke University School of Law is proudly able to offer guaranteed summer funding for all students who work in unpaid government or public interest positions, as set out below. Students must participate in public service work during the year to be eligible for the guarantee.
The Law School also has several competitive summer fellowship programs which award additional funds to selected students. The initial application for all sources of funding is the same, though the competitively awarded funds require separate short essays for full consideration.
The online application described to the right is for funding from the following programs:
- Dean's Summer Service Grants (guaranteed funding for 1Ls and 2Ls who meet the public service requirements);
- Duke Endowed Public Interest Summer Fellowships (competitive fellowships for 1Ls and 2Ls);
- Horvitz Public Law Fellowships (competitive fellowships for 1Ls and 2Ls); and
- Schwarzman Entertainment Law Fellowships (competitve fellowships for 1Ls and 2Ls).
The Summer 2018 applications will be available early in 2018 and will be due in late March. (Students who are still seeking summer employment when the applications are due are strongly encouraged to submit an application by the deadline; the application should include a short statement about the types of positions the student has applied to and the status of any pending applications.)
Please email Stella Boswell with any questions regarding Duke Law Summer Funding.
Note: A few outside sources of funding are listed below the Duke Funding.
Duke Law Specific Funding
1. Dean's Summer Service Grant
The Dean's Summer Service Grant provides summer funding to 1L and 2L students who secure a qualifying public service position for the summer, including: local, state, or federal government; not-for-profit organizations or non-governmental organizations (including international); and summer judicial clerkships (for 2Ls only). In order to qualify for a full grant, 1Ls must commit to at least 8 weeks (at 40 hours per week) and 2Ls to at least 10 weeks; funding may be pro-rated for lesser commitments or split summers. The grant amounts for 2Ls are higher than for 1Ls.
To receive funding, students must complete 20 hours of public service during the year, 10 of which must be with the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) (see below). The remaining 10 hours may be with a pro bono project (approved by the Office of Public Interest & Pro Bono) or may be completed through PILF. Students may also apply for competitive funding through the Duke Law sources noted below or may seek additional funding from outside the Law School and other Duke University sources (e.g., from employers directly, Equal Justice Works Summer Grants, etc.) up to a total amount of $6500 without a reduction in the Grant amount.
PILF is a student-run fundraising organization whose mission is to help the law school raise money to award fellowships to 1L and 2L students who accept unpaid summer public interest internships. Any student who contributes at least 10 volunteer hours to PILF’s annual fundraising efforts and another 10 hours to PILF or an approved pro bono project is guaranteed funding. PILF’s largest annual fundraiser is its Auction & Gala in the spring semester, other fundraisers, including Duke Law merchandise sales, take place throughout the year.
2. Duke Endowed Public Interest Summer Fellowships
These Summer Fellowships are made possible through endowments to Duke Law School from generous alumni donors. To qualify for these Fellowships, applicants must secure a summer position with a non-profit, NGO, or government organization in the US or abroad. While 2Ls can be awarded these fellowships for summer judicial clerkship positions, 1Ls are not eligible for this funding for a summer clerkship. Open to 1Ls and 2Ls; full summer (8 weeks for 1Ls and 10 weeks for 2Ls at 40 hours per week) and split summer arrangements are possible. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated commitment to developing a career in the public interest. These are competitive Fellowships, with a preference for 2Ls; 2Ls will receive larger grants than 1Ls. The funding committee will consider student involvement in public interest and pro bono activities at Duke Law and prior public interest and volunteer work. Students may seek additional funding from outside the Law School and other Duke University sources (e.g., from employers directly, Equal Justice Works Summer Grants, etc.) up to a total amount of $6500 without a reduction in the Grant amount.
3. Horvitz Public Law Fellowships
Funding for Horvitz Fellowships is made possible through a donation by alumnus Rick Horvitz '78. These Fellowships may be awarded to 1L and 2L students who secure summer positions related to public law, including positions with: state attorneys general and solicitors general; the Department of Justice; other federal positions where the work is related to Constitutional matters; federal executive branch office internships, including positions with the White House or Cabinet offices; and positions with organizations that work on issues of federalism, civil liberties, or other constitutional law-related issues. Open to 1Ls and 2Ls; full summer (8 weeks for 1Ls and 10 weeks for 2Ls at 40 hours per week) and split summer arrangements are possible. While 2Ls can be awarded these fellowships for summer judicial clerkship positions, 1Ls are not eligible for this funding for a summer clerkship. This is a competitive Fellowship. Successful applicants will have a demonstrated commitment to developing a career in the public interest; other factors that will be considered are involvement in public interest and pro bono activities at Duke Law and prior public interest and volunteer work. The grant amounts for 2Ls are higher than for 1Ls. Students may seek additional funding from outside the Law School and other Duke University sources (e.g., from employers directly, Equal Justice Works Summer Grants, etc.) up to a total amount of $6500 without a reduction in the Grant amount.
4. Schwarzman Entertainment Law Fellowships
Students applying for this fellowship must have an eligible position doing legal work for an entertainment organization, broadly defined as including anything in the arts or with sports related entities. The Schwarzman Fellowship is awarded on a competitive basis with a preference for positions with non-profit entities or positions providing pro bono services, however, given availability, funds may be awarded for positions with private sector organizations. The committee will take PILF and pro bono hours into consideration when deciding awards.
Students that receive funding from any of the above sources must stipulate that they will do the following:
- Send a personal thank you letter to identified donor(s) describing their summer work;
- Participate in programming to discuss summer positions for the following summer;
- If they work in the private sector 2L summer and earn more than $20,000 for the two summers combined, they will donate two days' pay or half of their grant amount back to PILF following their 2L summer.
Other Duke Funding
Stanback Internship Program, Environmental Law and Policy
The Stanback Internship Program is administered by the Nicholas School of Environment and is available to graduate-level Duke students. The program provides a $5,000 stipend for 11 weeks of work with one of more than 50 Stanback-approved environmental organizations. Split summers may be pro-rated. Stanback projects are not law-exclusive; some involve science, policy, advocacy and other conservation-related work. Every year, between 6-18 Duke Law Students complete Stanback internships. Some of the Stanback Fellowships for law students only are posted on Symplicity and have deadlines beginning in the fall semester. Many others are run through the Nicholas School's Career Link system with applications due in January and interviews in February. Students may also approach Stanback-designated law and policy organizations in advance of the deadlines to propose a specific project. Please see Stella Boswell or Bethan Eynon for additional information. Learn more about the program
Other Funding Sources
This website has a comprehensive list of summer funding resources tied to particular internships, types of work or geographic locations. See “Funding and Debt” under the Resource Section of the website.
Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps JD
The EJW AmericCorps program is an AmeriCorps-funded program that provides a $1,230 education voucher for 300 hours of summer legal work at a nonprofit public interest organization. The application window for this program is generally open from December to April and awards are made on a rolling basis.
McMillan Fellowship Program
Interested in working in Charlotte this summer? The McMillan Fellowship Program offers stipends of up to $3000 for summer internships to law students working with participating employers in Mecklenburg County. Students should be interested in pursuing a law career in the nonprofit or public interest sector in. Students will need to apply for and receive a position, and the employer will then submit an application on behalf of the student. You can view 2017 participating employers here. Applications from the employers were due on March 1. Summer 2018 participating employers will be posted early in the year.
Rural Summer Legal Corps
Run in conjunction with Equal Justice Works, the Rural Summer Legal Corps connects public interest law students with Legal Services Corporation-funded civil legal aid organizations around the country. Students receive a $4,000 stipend with one of the 31 positions open; locations include Alaska Legal Services Corporation, Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York, Legal Aid of Arkansas, Legal Aid of West Virginia and many more. Applications for 2017 were due in late February and participants had to complete 300 hours of service by August 31, 2017 to receive the full stipend.