Directory

Berkeley School of Law

University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720
www.law.berkeley.edu

Law School Pro Bono Programs 

Contact Information

Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice
Mary Louise Frampton, Faculty Director
Thelton E Henderson Center for Social Justice
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
785 Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 642-4474
Email

Student-Initiated Legal-Services Projects (SLPS)
David Oppenheimer
Clinical Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Professional Skills Program
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
498 Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 643-3225
Email

Susan Schechter
Director, Field Placement Program
Lecturer in Residence
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
471 Boalt Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 643-3225
Email

Career Services
Sara Malan, Associate Director for Public Interest Programs
Career Development Office
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Berkeley, CA 94720
Email

Melanie Rowen, Associate Director for Public Interest Programs
Career Development Office
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
292B Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 664-4862
Email

Deborah S. Schlosberg, Esq.
Director, Pro Bono Program
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
472 Boalt Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 664.4614
Email

Pro Bono Program website

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Student Group Projects

Description of Programs

Integrated Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by Administrative Support for Research, Student-Initiated Legal Services Groups and Career Planning

Berkeley Law has an integrated pro bono program wherein the Thelton Henderson Center for Social Justice, the Career Development Office, the Field Placement Program, the Professional Skills Program and the Clinical Programs collaborate to maintain a thriving community filled with opportunities for students to pursue public interest and public service while in law school and to foster the ethos of pro bono service in our graduates. The Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice is the intellectual hub of the law school's vibrant social justice community. The Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice is a training and research center that prepares the next generation of lawyers to represent underserved communities and produces innovative and accessible scholarship on issues of race, sex, and poverty.

Student-Initiated Legal Service Projects (SLPS) are pro bono projects founded and operated by Berkeley Law students. Some of these projects date back decades; others began as recently as last semester. In each case, law students identified a legal need, recruited supervising attorneys, researched the relevant law, and enlisted classmates to bring legal services to under-served communities.

SLPS are open to all law students and participation is voluntary. Run by second and third year law students and primarily staffed by first years, these projects allow 1Ls to interact with clients from their very first semester. With training and supervision provided by the SLPS and local attorneys, students gain the benefit of practical experience to inform their academic coursework. The Professional Skills Program provides support and oversight for the SLPS projects, and the Director of Professional Skills with the Director of Field Placements co-teach a Leadership course for student leaders of the SLPS projects. The Berkeley Law Pro Bono Pledge honors students who complete at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before they graduate. Students are publicly recognized as fulfilling the pledge at Commencement, and at the Public Interest & Pro Bono Graduation Ceremony. Most students far exceed the 50 hour mark during their time at Berkeley Law.

Pro Bono Pledge hours completed in students' first or second years also help students qualify to receive the Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Sector Summer Fellowship (known informally by students as the 'Edley Grant Program'). This program provides a stipend to JD students who are completing a summer of qualifying public interest or government work.

In addition to these opportunities, the Associate Directors for Public Interest Programs in Berkeley Law's Career Development Office maintain a list of pro bono project referrals from local community organizations. The Career Development Office connects interested students with organizations seeking pro bono help.

The Public Interest and Pro Bono Graduation Ceremony celebrates the accomplishments of the graduating class. Significant others, family members, and attorneys who have mentored the graduates celebrate along with the Berkeley Law community.

Location of Programs

Location varies by project for student-coordinated pro bono projects. Pro bono hour tracking and a pro bono referral list are maintained through the Career Development Office.

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Thelton E. Henderson Center staff includes a Faculty Director, an Executive Director, a Program Assistant, and various professional and student researchers. The SLPS are staffed by students and overseen by attorneys from community legal service organizations or law firms, with additional support and oversight from the Professional Skills Program. An annual SLPS Fellow/Coordinator provides guidance and direction to SLPS Leaders. The Career Development Office Associate Directors for Public Interest Programs solicit pro bono projects, publicize these opportunities to students, educate students about Berkeley Law's voluntary pro bono program and encourage students to make a pro bono contribution.

Funding

The Law School provides office space and funding for pro bono group projects.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) are a vital part of the student experience at Berkeley Law. Most students join at least one SLP during their first year and many join two or more. Still others continue SLPS work throughout law school. Through SLPS work, students and their organizations have formed long-lasting partnerships with a variety of prominent public interest organizations, law firms, and government agencies including the Accountability Counsel of San Francisco, the Asian Law Caucus, Centro Legal de la Raza, Disability Rights California, the East Bay Community Law Center, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant, Legal Services for Children, Morrison & Foerster LLP, National Center for Youth Law, Reed Smith LLP, and the San Francisco Legal Aid Society's Employment Law Center. For more information contact the SLPS coordinator. 

The current SLPS Projects are:

Advocates for Youth Justice (AYJ) is a community of advocates committed to youth justice issues. AYJ operates three youth-oriented legal services projects and provides peer mentorship and networking opportunities for interested law students.

  • Berkeley High Student Court trains high school students to act as attorneys for their peers during trials to resolve disciplinary problems.
  • Education Advocacy Clinic works with the National Center for Youth Law and Disability Rights to train law students to be court-appointed educational rights holders for children in foster care who have special education needs.
  • Expulsion Representation Clinic offers participating law students an opportunity to act as non-attorney advocates for students facing expulsion.

Berkeley Immigration Law Clinic (BILC) works with the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian Pacific American Law Students Association to provide free consultation and document preparation for low income immigrants.

Berkeley Tax Law Project (BTLP) provides free income tax preparation assistance to low-to-moderate income taxpayers, and is affiliated with the IRS' Stakeholder Partnerships, Education and Communications Division.

Boalt Anti-Trafficking Project provides legal services to survivors of human trafficking through partnerships with local anti-trafficking organizations.

California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC) works with attorneys from the East Bay Sanctuary and Reed Smith to assist refugees throughout the asylum process.

Civil Rights Outreach Project (CROP) collaborates with the Asian Law Caucus to provide assistance to individuals and communities impacted by post-9/11 profiling and discrimination.

Community Legal Outreach (CLO) is affiliated with the East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) and engages first-year students in assisting low-income communities in Oakland and Berkeley. It has two SLPS groups:

  • Housing & Tenants' Rights Workshop helps protect the legal rights and remedies of tenants.
  • Public Benefits and Justice (PBJ) assists Alameda County residents with issues related to obtaining public benefits.

Environmental Justice Workshop (EJW) provides an opportunity for 1Ls to work with 2- and 3Ls to provide pro bono assistance to local grassroots environmental justice and international watchdog organizations.

  • Accountability Counsel Project provides legal assistance on environmental and environmental justice issues related to international finance and development.
  • Community Food Enterprise works with attorneys to provide legal support and counseling to small-scale food enterprises serving low-income communities.

Environmental Conservation Outreach works with Earthjustice and tribal communities to research a Clean Water Act loophole that allows discharge of wastewater produced by fracking, and to pursue a legal solution to the problem fracking poses for tribal lands.

Health Law Imitative partners with medical institutions to target social determinants of health through legal intervention. Students explore the interaction between health and legal fields through a variety of trainings and direct engagement with community members, medical providers, and practicing attorneys.

International Human Rights Workshop (IHRW) partners with the Sexual Violence & Accountability project at UC Berkeley's Human Rights Center to support the revision and modernization of Liberian laws on sexual and gender based violence.

Iraqi Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) is affiliated with the national IRA project, Morrison & Foerster, and Lewis & Roca, and provides legal assistance to Iraqi refugees applying for asylum in the U.S., and to Afghanis who face persecution because of their work for the U.S. military.

Juvenile Hall Outreach (JHO) is a Street Law program that empowers incarcerated and detained youth by teaching them their legal rights.

Karuk-Berkeley Collaborative -- Suction Dredge Mining Litigation Project (KBC) is a collaboration among law students and students from the Environmental Science, Policy & Management school (ESPM) to work with the Karuk Tribe, lawyers, and activists to protect the Klamath River Basin from suction dredge mining.

La Raza Workers Rights Clinic, sponsored by Centro Legal de La Raza, serves low income, immigrant and Latino communities by providing bi-lingual legal representation, education, and advocacy.

Post-Conviction Advocacy Project (P-CAP) trains Berkeley Law students to assist inmates with the parole process.

Workers' Rights Clinic (WRC) partners with San Francisco's Legal Aid Society-Employment Law Center to provide free legal information to low-income workers with employment-related problems.

Workers' Rights Disability Law Clinic (WRDLC) also partners with the Legal Aid Society - Employment Law Center and addresses the full range of employment-related issues for low-income clients, with a special focus on the needs of workers with disabilities

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Awards/Recognition

Students who fulfill the Berkeley Law Pro Bono Pledge (at least 50 hours of law-related volunteer work before they graduate) are honored at commencement and at the Public Interest & Pro Bono Graduation Ceremony. Pro bono work completed during their first and second years also helps students obtain eligibility to receive Edley Grants to fund their summer public interest work. Individual students also receive special recognition for exceptional service, e.g. the Francine Diaz Memorial, Eleanor Swift, and Brian M. Sax awards.

Community Service

None

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice
Mary Louise Frampton, Faculty Director
Thelton E Henderson Center for Social Justice
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
785 Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 642-4474
Email

Student-Initiated Legal-Services Projects (SLPS)
David Oppenheimer
Clinical Professor of Law
Faculty Director, Professional Skills Program
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
498 Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 643-3225
Email

Susan Schechter
Director, Field Placement Program
Lecturer in Residence
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
471 Boalt Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 643-3225
Email

Career Services
Sara Malan, Associate Director for Public Interest Programs
Career Development Office
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
Berkeley, CA 94720
Email

Melanie Rowen
Associate Director for Public Interest Programs
Career Development Office
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
292B Simon Hall - #7200
Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 664-4862
Email

Deborah S. Schlosberg, Esq.
Director, Pro Bono Program
University of California, Berkeley, School of Law
472 Boalt Hall, Berkeley, CA 94720
P: (510) 664.4614
Email

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Berkeley Law offers a rich array of courses that address social justice issues. In addition to standard law school classes, Berkeley Law offers theory courses that examine the legal history and rights of traditionally disadvantaged groups, a range of public interest law and social justice classes, and clinical courses and skills classes. In addition, Berkeley Law's Honorable Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice offers a Social Justice Thursday seminar series for first year students that views the first year curriculum in particular and legal education in general through a social justice lens. Facilitated by social justice faculty, this seminar complements the public interest/social justice discussions in those core courses that include such analyses and fills the gap for those core course faculty members who do not incorporate such focus in their teaching.

Public Interest Centers

The Honorable Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice produces and fosters creative scholarship that examines the law through a lens of social justice, and works in partnership with communities to provide education to the general public. Through multi-method, interdisciplinary and participatory approaches, the Henderson Center engages in research that is accessible, relevant, and responsive to the needs of diverse communities in California and throughout the nation. By providing bridges between academia and the real world and between theory and practice, it teaches students to work collaboratively across disciplines and perspectives and to locate the common ground among people.

The Center's mission is threefold:

  • Provide and facilitate rigorous theoretical and practical training and support to law students in social justice advocacy and scholarship.
  • Foster creative scholarship that views the law in a larger social context and is both accessible to the public and responsive to the needs of under-represented communities.
  • Promote collaborative efforts among academics, practitioners, advocacy organizations, policy makers, and community groups to realize a more just and equitable society.

The Henderson Center offers a range of programs, including:

  • ground-breaking conferences and symposia that bring together experts from around the country to discuss strategies for social change;
  • the Practitioner-in-Residence and Scholar-in-Residence programs, which offer pre-eminent social justice lawyers and academics the opportunity to share their insights and expertise with the Berkeley Law community;
  • Ruth Chance Mondays, a speakers series that gives students the opportunity to talk with public-interest practitioners on a bi-weekly basis;
  • a reading group for first-year students led by Berkeley Law faculty members that examines basic areas of the law through a social justice lens;
  • a range of theoretical and clinical courses that explore how the law treats social justice issues including how poor and disadvantaged communities are represented;
  • a Practitioner-Student Mentoring Program, presented in collaboration with the Office of Career Services, which pairs students with social justice lawyers; and
  • a student advisory board that allows the center to develop a community of students and groups interested in social justice issues.
  • For more details please visit the Henderson Center website at  or contact Mary Louise Frampton, Faculty Director of the Henderson Center, at 510/642-4474 or mlframpton@law.berkeley.edu

Berkeley has a number of additional Centers that address important issues in the public interest:

  • The Center for Law, Energy & the Environment
  • Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy
  • The Center for the Study of Law and Society
  • The Kadish Center for Morality, Law & Public Affairs
  • The Honorable G. William and Ariadna Miller Institute for Global Challenges and the Law
  • The Institute for Legal Research
  • The Berkeley Center for Law & Technology
  • The Robert D. Burch Center for Tax Policy and Public Finance
  • The Berkeley Comparative Anti-Discrimination Law Virtual Study Group
  • The Center on Reproductive Rights and Justice
  • The Human Rights Center
  • The Berkeley Institute for Jewish Law and Israeli Law, Economy and Society
  • California Constitution Center
  • The Haas Initiative for a Fair & Inclusive Society

Public Interest Clinics

Berkeley Law offers several faculty-supervised clinics.

  • The Death Penalty Clinic has a three-fold mission: offer law students a rich opportunity for hands-on training; seek justice for individual death row clients by providing them with the highest quality representation at trial, on appeal and in state and federal post-conviction proceedings; and expose and tackle problems endemic to the administration of the death penalty.
  • The East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is the community-based component of Berkeley Law's Clinical Program. EBCLC was founded by Berkeley Law students in 1988 to provide legal services to low-income and underrepresented members of the community near the law school. EBCLC has nine practice areas: Clean Slate, Green Jobs, Health Law, Housing Law, Immigration Law, Neighborhood Justice (Consumer, Homelessness), Policy Advocacy, Welfare Law, and Youth Defender.
  • The International Human Rights Law Clinic allows students to design and implement creative solutions to advance the global struggle for the protection of human rights. The Clinic currently works in four focal areas: Promoting human rights within the United States; economic, social, and cultural rights; counter-terrorism and human rights; and accountability and transitional justice.
  • The Samuelson Law, Technology & Public Policy Clinic offers law students the opportunity to learn about lawyering, government institutions and the complexities involved in technology-related law, while also providing representation to individuals, nonprofits, and consumer groups that could not otherwise obtain counsel. Students participating in the Clinic play an integral role in defining how civil liberties and other public values will be protected in an increasingly high-tech world.

Externships/Internships

The Berkeley Law Field Placement Program allows students to receive academic credit for part-time or full-time judicial externships and legal work with non-profits and government agencies under the supervision of an attorney.

There are five field placement programs/courses:

Civil Field Placements - Students receive academic credit for part-time legal work for non-profits and government agencies under the supervision of an attorney. Students are required to do field placements for 16 hours per week over 14 weeks for 4 units of credit. There is a required accompanying 2-unit seminar that meets the law school's Professional Responsibility requirement.

Judicial Externships - Students work part-time or full-time for local, federal or state judges and chambers in the San Francisco/Bay Area. Students externing for a judge usually work 16 to 40 hours per week over 14 weeks for 4 to10 units of credit. There is a required accompanying 1-unit seminar.

Criminal Field Placements - Students receive academic credit for part-time criminal legal work for non-profits and government agencies under the supervision of an attorney. Students are required to do field placements for 16 hours per week over 14 weeks for 4 units of credit. There is a required accompanying 2-unit seminar that meets the law school's Professional Responsibility requirement.

Away Field Placements - Students receive up to 10 units of academic credit for legal work with an approved non-profit or government agency outside the San Francisco/Bay Area. Generally, students working at away placements complete 40 hours per week over 14 weeks or 560 hours for 10 units of credit.

UCDC Law Program - Students receive up to 10 units for field placements and additional units for participation in the accompanying required seminar. For more information, please visit the Field Placement Program website.

Classes with a Public Service Component

All in-house and faculty supervised clinical programs include both intensive public service work and a class-room based seminar component. The Domestic Violence Practicum and the New Business Counseling Practicum combine hands-on public service with coursework. Social Justice Practice includes a practical legal case-study component.

  • Through the Domestic Violence Law Practicum, students work in one of several civil or criminal domestic violence legal agencies in the Bay Area, or with the instructor on state legislation. Students may also work on post-conviction issues faced by battered women in state prisons and employment issues affecting victims of domestic violence. 
  • In the New Business Counseling Practicum, students learn and apply a broad range of knowledge in law and business related to the development of new businesses, through classroom learning, field trips, participating in simulations, and through providing hands-on assistance with real business start-ups (non-profit and for-profit).
  • Teams of students in the Environmental Practicum work under the supervision of a leading environmental practitioner on research projects for government agencies and public interest groups.
  • The Veterans Law Practicum provides experience to students and free legal representation to veterans, service members and their families in matters that will come before administrative agencies and state and federal courts.

Public Interest Journals

  • The Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law is at the core of Berkeley's vibrant criminal law community, which includes the Berkeley Center for Criminal Justice and an intellectual student body that is ideologically diverse but uniformly dedicated to excellence in criminal law.
  • The Ecology Law Quarterly (ELQ) is the school's environmental law journal. Since its founding in 1970, ELQ has consistently reflected the journal members' broad conception of environmental law and policy. Recent issues have included articles on court cases involving the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, environmental liability standards and the Endangered Species Act. In 1990 ELQ was awarded the United Nations Environmental Programme's Global 500 Award, recognizing the journal as one of the top 500 environmental organizations in the world.
  • The Berkeley Journal of Employment and Labor Law (BJELL) focuses exclusively on current developments in labor and employment law.
  • The Berkeley Journal of International Law (BJIL) publishes articles, case notes and book reviews that address current issues of international and comparative law.
  • The mandate of the Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice (BGLJ) is to publish pieces that address the lives and struggles of underrepresented women. BGLJ believes that excellence in feminist legal scholarship requires critical examination of the intersection of gender with one or more other axes of subordination including, but not limited to, race, class, sexual orientation, and disability.
  • The Asian American Law Journal (AALJ) provides a comprehensive forum for legal scholars, practitioners and students to discuss the legal, policy, and social implications of issues concerning Asian Americans.
  • The Berkeley Journal of African American Law & Policy (BJALP) is dedicated to addressing legal and policy issues that affect the African-American community and people of color, in general. The journal deals with such matters as constitutional law, criminal justice, civil rights, African-American participation in the political process, the death penalty, fair housing, economic development in the African-American community, African immigration to the United States, and health issues that affect African Americans.
  • The Berkeley La Raza Law Journal (BLRLJ) focuses on legal issues affecting the Latina/o community. Past articles have covered a range of topics, including bilingual education, affirmative action, immigration law, labor law and policy, voting rights, and Latina/o critical theory. BLRLJ also hosts an annual symposium.
  • The Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern & Islamic Law (JMEIL) is dedicated to Middle Eastern, Islamic, and comparative law scholarship. JMEIL publishes academic articles and student comments analyzing the laws of Middle Eastern countries and the Islamic world, the study and application of Islamic jurisprudence, and the impact of law on Muslim and Middle Eastern communities globally.
  • IMPACT is a multidisciplinary journal fusing research, practice and policy to advance the success of urban youth. The journal is dedicated to critically evaluating the reasons why urban youth are disproportionately enduring the brunt of failing social policies. Its goal is to bring the insights of scholar and practitioners together in one journal, so that their work may collectively inspire legislators and policymakers to achieve viable solutions to this growing problem.
  • The mission of Issues in Legal Scholarship is to present cutting-edge legal and policy research on pressing topics quickly and in a format that encourages discussion and interaction. Online peer-reviewed symposia systematically address emerging issues of great significance and offer ongoing scholarship of interest to policy and legal researchers alike. Each symposium is a living forum with ongoing publications and commentaries. Symposium topics include Single-Sex Marriage, Immigration Policy, and Catastrophic Risks. On-line publication makes it possible for other researchers to find the best and latest quickly, as well as to join in further discussion.

Public Interest Career Support Center

Berkeley Law's Career Development Office (CDO) has two dedicated full-time public interest career advisors, and an additional full-time government career advisor. The Career Development Office provides extensive individualized counseling services and support for developing a public interest career, including applying to post-graduate public interest fellowships, government honors programs, and private public interest law firms. Throughout the year, the Career Development Office presents public interest and public sector-oriented career programming targeted to each class year, sponsoring events that bring a wide range of public interest and government employers to the law school and teach students fundamental public interest and government job search skills. The CDO also coordinates a public interest mentorship program, co-hosts the Public Interest/Public Sector Externships &Career Fair--which allows students to meet informally with public interest employers --and maintains a list of public interest/sector alumni contacts. The CDO also administers Berkeley Law's Post-Graduate Public Interest/Public Sector Bridge Fellowship and the Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellowship, both of which fund recent Berkeley Law graduates in public interest placements, allowing them to build practice skills and gain experience during the year following graduation. For more information, please contact the Berkeley Law Career Development Office at (510) 642-4567 or career@law.berkeley.edu.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

Berkeley Law maintains a strong commitment to public service-oriented graduates and it is our goal to preserve career choice by removing the student debt barrier. By integrating our LRAP with the Income Based Repayment (IBR) option and Public Service Loan Forgiveness provided by the federal government's College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007, the LRAP grants up to 10 years of support to graduates for IBR payments for federal student loan debt greater than $100,000, provided that their annual income is no greater than $100,000. 

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

The Berkeley Law Bridge Fellowship Program and the Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellowship Programboth support new Berkeley Law JD graduates who are committed to pursuing careers in public service, but who have been unable to secure employment as of graduation.

The Bridge Fellowship provides selected Fellows with financial support for up to four months while they continue to search for permanent public service positions after the bar exam. This support allows Fellows to continue to develop skills, contacts, and professional experience through short-term volunteer work, better enabling them to compete for permanent public service positions as they become available.

The Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellowship Program addresses the reality that in some public interest settings, JD graduates need a full year of experience in order to be eligible or competitive for permanent attorney positions. Through the Berkeley Law Public Interest Fellowship, the law school funds yearlong apprenticeship positions for graduates pursuing careers in public interest or government work, with priority being given to those who most need a yearlong apprenticeship in order to be competitive in their chosen field.

Together, the Berkeley Law Bridge Fellowship and Public Interest Fellowship Programs provide substantial support that allows Berkeley Law students to stay focused on work they are passionate about throughout their careers.

Graduate Student Funded:

The Berkeley Law Foundation, Berkeley Law's student-run public interest law foundation, sponsors 1-3 post-graduation fellowships each year. In recent years, this fellowship has been open to Berkeley Law students only. For more details, visit the website

Other Funding Sources:

Each year, Berkeley Law students apply for and receive prestigious post-graduate public interest fellowships. These include project-based fellowships like those awarded by the Skadden Foundation, Equal Justice Works, and the Soros Justice Initiative, as well as internal fellowships offered by public interest organizations, private public interest law firms, and government agencies. To support students applying for these highly competitive opportunities, the Berkeley Law Career Development Office coordinates an active network of alumni fellows who work directly with fellowship applicants, offers application review and mock interview opportunities, and stays updated on developments and trends in public interest fellowship funding.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

The School of Law awards numerous scholarships. 

William K. Coblentz Civil Rights Endowment Student Research Fellowships provide students with a unique opportunity to develop important legal skills, build professional networks, and learn about substantive areas of law through Berkeley Law's cutting-edge research centers. The program supports research and activities relating to racial and ethnic justice in California and the nation. Six student Coblentz Fellows will be selected to work for one semester beginning the Fall of 2013, in one of four of Berkeley Law's research centers: the Center for the Study of Law and Society (CSLS), the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice (Henderson Center), the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society, or the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law & Social Policy (Warren Institute). Selected Fellows will support ongoing or new research efforts being conducted by the center in which they are placed. Fellows can elect to work for their selected center in either the Fall or Spring semesters. Fellows will be expected to produce a brief report at the end of the semester describing the goals, scope and outcomes of the assigned project

The Coblentz Fellowship can be taken as a paid fellowship or for credit, but not for both. This determination, as well as start dates, will be made by each selected student prior to each appointment. Only matriculated rising 2L and 3L JD students, as well as LLM, JSP-PhD, and JSD students, are eligible to apply. The application process is managed by the Career Development Office, and typically opens in the summer. Please contact Sara Malan at the CDO for more information (smalan@law.berkeley.edu).

Graduate Student Funded:

The Berkeley Law Foundation offers the Phoenix Fellowships for diversity and public interest law.

Other Funding Sources:

There are a number of supplemental scholarships, beyond the need-based awards, available to help Berkeley Law students pay for their legal education. These financial aid options are provided by a number of sources, including the law school itself, the University of California, the U.S. government, and private organizations and agencies. 

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

As part of our mission as a great public law school, Berkeley Law is eager for a large number of our students to experience public interest/public service lawyering. This includes making it financially feasible for every student pursuing a JD degree at Berkeley to do summer public interest/public service legal work.

The Berkeley Law Public Interest/Public Service Summer Fellowship Program (informally known as the "Edley Grant" program) offers summer Fellowships to every continuing JD students who applies. First-time (typically 1L) recipients of Berkeley Law summer funding are eligible to receive up to $4,000. Such recipients may choose to receive only a portion of the $4000 for this summer and save the remainder to support their public interest/public sector work in the summer following their second year. Second-time recipients of Berkeley Law summer funding are eligible to receive an award of $2,000, in addition to any saved funds remaining from their first summer, up to a total of $6,000. Second-time recipients may also request supplemental, competitive funding from the law school.

Recipients can use this funding in combination with other summer funding sources as long as they do not exceed a designated funding cap.

The main requirement for obtaining a Fellowship is to show a commitment to public interest/public service by completing at least 25 hours of law-related pro bono work during the school year. This requirement can be met by participating in Student-Initiated Legal Services Projects (SLPS) or through other pro bono work.

Graduate Student Funded:

A number of law student groups also offer public interest summer fellowships. These groups include: the Berkeley Law Foundation; the Boalt Hall Queer Caucus; the Boalt Hall Women's Association; the Boalt Hall Committee on Human Rights; boalt.org; and the Ecology Law Quarterly.

Other Funding Sources:

Each summer, Berkeley Law students are recipients of summer fellowship & stipends from outside funders, such as Equal Justice America, Equal Justice Works Summer Corps, the Peggy Browning Fund, and many others.

The Berkeley Law Human Rights Center also awards a number of summer fellowships to law students (and other graduate students) doing summer human rights work, often outside the U.S.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

None listed

Student Public Interest Groups

  • Advocates for Youth Justice
  • American Constitution Society
  • Asian Pacific American Law Students Association

  • Berkeley Law Foundation

  • Berkeley Energy and Resources Collaborative
  • Boalt Environmental Law Society
  • Berkeley Law Student Animal Legal Defense Fund
  • Boalt Hall Committee for Human Rights
  • Boalt Disability Law Society
  • Boalt Hall Democrats
  • Boalt Hall Federalist Society
  • Boalt Hall Labor Coalition
  • Boalt Hall Women's Association
  • California Asylum Representation Clinic (CARC)
  • Coalition for Diversity
  • Community Legal Outreach
  • Critical Race Scholars Society
  • East Bay Community Law Center Steering Committee
  • East Bay Workers' Rights Clinic
  • Expulsion Representation Clinic
  • Juvenile Hall Outreach
  • La Raza Law Students Association
  • Law Students for Justice in Palestine
  • Law Students for Reproductive Justice
  • Law Students of African Descent
  • Middle Eastern Law Students Association
  • National Lawyers Guild, Berkeley Law Chapter
  • Native American Law Students Association
  • Pilipino American Law Society
  • Queer Caucus
  • San Quentin Restorative Justice Program
  • South Asian Law Students Association
  • Social Justice Student Network
  • STudents OPposed to Domestic Violence (STOP DV) 
  • Thelton E Henderson Center for Social Justice Student Advisory Board
  • Women of Color Collective Advocates for Youth Justice

Updated: August 6, 2018