Directory

Boston College Law School

Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459
www.bc.edu/law

Law School Pro Bono Programs

Contact Information

Kate Devlin Joyce
Associate Director of Public Interest Programs
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459
P: (617) 552-4345
E-mail

Category Type

Formal Voluntary Pro Bono Program Characterized by a Referral System with a Coordinator

Description of Programs

The voluntary Pro Bono Program centralizes pro bono activities at BC Law, connects students with pro bono placements, encourages students to explore pro bono opportunities, and provides much deserved recognition for those students serving the community through pro bono work.

The mission of the Pro Bono Program is to shape law students into lawyers who are committed to public service.

The objectives of the Program are to:

1) Benefit Boston College Law School by supporting the School's mission and Jesuit tradition, and appealing to prospective students interested in public service;
2) Benefit BC Law students by providing opportunities to gain hands-on experience, develop critical lawyering skills, build relationships in agencies and firms, gain exposure to various areas of law, and develop a greater understanding of the importance of pro bono work and public service;
3) Benefit lawyers and public service agencies by providing them with the opportunity to mentor law students, as well as assistance with their pro bono work and public service; and
4) Benefit the community by providing legal assistance to disadvantaged individuals unable to access adequate legal representation.

The Program works to achieve these objectives by:

1) Providing students with pro bono opportunities and helping facilitate their seeking placements;
2) Providing recognition for students who perform pro bono work; and
3) Providing on-campus events, such as pro bono fairs and speakers, to promote pro bono work.

For more information about the Pro Bono Program, please visit: www.bc.edu/law/probono.

Location of Programs

Office of Career Services
Boston College Law School
East Wing 210
885 Centre Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459

Staffing/Management/Oversight

The Boston College Pro Bono Program is staffed, managed, and overseen by the Board of Directors, which consists of: the Associate Director of Public Interest Programs; the Dean for Students; the Assistant Dean for Career Services; third-year law students; second-year law students; and first-year law students.

Funding

Funding for the Pro Bono Program comes from Boston College Law School's general operating budget.

Student Run Pro Bono Groups/Specialized Law Education Projects

The public interest student organizations listed below (see: "Student Public Interest Groups") occasionally create pro bono opportunities.

Shelter Legal Services Foundation at Boston College provides pro bono, and often emergency, legal services to the homeless, veterans and low-income women. Students from BC Law and four other Boston-area law schools work together to operate five weekly legal clinics in Boston and Cambridge. Working directly with clients, students handle client-counseling & interviewing, legal research & writing and representation at hearings. Under the direction of staff attorneys and practicing attorneys who volunteer, students handle a variety of legal issues including, housing, child support, social security benefits, immigration and bankruptcy.

The Post-Deportation Human Rights Project, based at the Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College, is a pilot program designed to address the harsh effects of current U.S. deportation policies. The Project aims to conceptualize an entirely new area of law, providing direct representation to individuals who have been deported and promoting the rights of deportees and their family members through research, policy analysis, human rights advocacy, and training programs. Through participatory action research carried out in close collaboration with community-based organizations, the Project addresses the psycho-social impact of deportation on individuals, families, and communities and provides legal and technical assistance to facilitate community responses. The ultimate aim of the Project is to advocate, in collaboration with affected families and communities, for fundamental changes that will introduce proportionality, compassion, and respect for family unity into U.S. immigration laws and bring these laws into compliance with international human rights standards.

Immigration service trips have been a part of Boston College Law School since 1988. Each year a group of Boston College Law students spend their spring break week volunteering with immigration legal aid providers around the country. In 2008, thirty-nine students worked at ten different host organizations in eight cities, all of which provide legal assistance to persons in detention as a result of immigration matters and who are currently facing deportation. The Immigration Spring Break Trips which have been student-run and coordinated since 1988. In order to fund the Immigration Trips, students worked throughout the year to fundraise. All funds were once again matched this year by a generous contribution from the Law School Fund.

Navajo Nation Spring Break trip is organized by the Native American Law Student Association. A group of students spent spring break week working at five placements within the Navajo Nation. The placements included: Navajo Nation Department of Justice, Community & Economic Development; Navajo Nation Department of Justice, Government and Human Services; Navajo Nation Supreme Court; Office of the Public Defender; and Navajo Nation District Court.

New Orleans Spring Break trip. Students work for the week at various placements in New Orleans.

Boston College Law School has a strong commitment to pro bono and in addition to encouraging law students to participate in pro bono, the school organizes pro bono opportunities for alumni. In 2008 and 2009, alumni and students volunteered at housing court to provide one-day legal assistance for people who could not afford to hire an attorney but had a critical need for help.

Faculty and Administrative Pro Bono

Some faculty and administrators independently perform pro bono work.

Awards/Recognition

We believe that students who demonstrate a commitment to pro bono work should be recognized for their efforts. The following levels of recognition are provided for students who fulfill their pro bono pledges:

1) 50 hours of pro bono work accumulated at time of graduation
       Letter from Dean of BC Law School
2) 75 hours of pro bono work accumulated at time of graduation
       Letter from Dean of BC Law School
       Recognition for "Pro Bono Distinction" at awards ceremony during graduation weekend
3) 100 hours of pro bono work accumulated at time of graduation
       Letter from Dean of BC Law School
       Recognition for "Pro Bono Excellence" at awards ceremony during graduation weekend
       Special recognition at graduation

In addition, a reception will take place annually for 1L's completing 15 hours of pro bono work and 2L's and 3L's completing 50 hours of pro bono work for the previous year (September 1st to August 31st).

Community Service

The BC Law Students Association and various student organizations provide opportunities for community service throughout the year, including Grad Students Give Back Day.

Law School Public Interest Programs

Contact Information

Kate Devlin Joyce
Associate Director of Public Interest Programs
Boston College Law School
885 Centre Street
Newton Centre, MA 02459
617-552-4345
E-mail

Certificate/Curriculum Programs

Boston College Law School does not offer formal certificate programs. However, law students are eligible to receive certificates from other sponsoring institutions within Boston College, such as:

1) The Certificate in Land Use and Environmental Law is awarded annually to graduating students who have fulfilled concentration and service requirements in this curricular area by the Law School's active Environmental Law Society. The certificate has proved useful to students in past years as formal affirmation of their professional curricular concentration. For more information, visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/services/academic/programs/environmentallaw

2) The Certificate Program of the Center for Human Rights and International Justice is open to graduate students enrolled in affiliated academic departments in all of the university's graduate schools, including Masters, J.D., L.L.M., Ed.D. and Ph.D students. The Certificate certifies that the student has: 1) followed a curriculum within his or her graduate studies that emphasized human rights and international justice issues; 2) widened his or her interdisciplinary understanding of these issues by completing one or more courses designated by the Center in other academic departments; 3) completed the Center's own Seminar in Human Rights; and, 4) written a research paper under the Center's auspices or completed a practicum supervised by the Center. For more information, visit: www.bc.edu/centers/humanrights

Public Interest Centers

The Center for Human Rights and International Justice at Boston College addresses the increasingly interdisciplinary needs of human rights work. Through multidisciplinary training programs, applied research, and the interaction of scholars with practitioners, the Center aims to nurture a new generation of scholars and practitioners in the United States and abroad who draw upon the strengths of many disciplines, and the wisdom of rigorous ethical training in the attainment of human rights and international justice. The Center is built upon the University's deep religious and ethical tradition of service to others and its broad scholarly reach in graduate programs in Arts & Sciences and professional programs in Law, Business, Education, Social Work, and Nursing.

The Mary Daly Curtin and John J. Curtin Center, "Curtin Center". The Curtin Center is a dedicated space for public interest law student groups on campus. In addition to individual offices for student groups, there is a conference room. The Curtin Center also supports an annual keynote speech and summer stipends for public interest work.

Public Interest Clinics

Civil Litigation Clinic

This civil clinical course allows students the opportunity to work as practicing lawyers representing actual clients at the Boston College Legal Assistance Bureau (LAB), a legal services office founded by Boston College law students in 1968. Pursuant to the Massachusetts student practice rule (SJC 3:03), students are certified to represent clients in every aspect of litigation, including appearing in court and at federal and state administrative hearings (e.g., Social Security Administration, Division of Unemployment Assistance, and Department of Transitional Assistance). Students advise and represent clients with a variety of legal problems, including divorce and custody proceedings, landlord-tenant disputes, Social Security disability appeals, and consumer complaints. Students are responsible for their own cases and have the opportunity to plan and conduct every phase of civil litigation, from initial client interviews, through formulating a legal strategy, to counseling clients, conducting pretrial discovery and motion hearings, engaging in settlement negotiations, drafting pleadings, up to and including trials and administrative hearings, as well as drafting and arguing appeals.

Students are closely supervised by clinical faculty. Supervisors sit in on most meetings with clients, assist in the preparation for client meetings, negotiations, and court appearances, and they accompany their students to court. Supervisors provide thorough feedback to students about their work at all stages in order to help students build on their skills and learn from their experiences, including written feedback at both mid-semester and end of term. In addition to individual supervision, students participate in a weekly seminar where issues related to students' actual cases are examined. The practical, legal and ethical issues of lawyering are explored in detail through discussion, simulations, and review of videotaped portions of students' meetings with their clients.

The Legal Assistance Bureau is located only 15 minutes from the law school, in Waltham. Its faculty consists of four supervising attorneys and a clinical social worker. Additional staff includes an intake worker, and a fiscal manager. Students are provided with comfortable individual workspace and voicemail, conference rooms, a computer center, access to Lexis, Westlaw, a database of approved pleadings, and a well-developed office library.

Community Enterprise Clinic

This course introduces students to transactional legal work on behalf of low- and moderate-income entrepreneurs, small businesses, and non-profit organizations. The course includes fieldwork and a weekly seminar. The fieldwork is based at the Law School's clinical office known as the Legal Assistance Bureau in Waltham, four miles form the Law School. The seminar is held at the Law School.

Students are assigned to work in pairs with entrepreneurs who have business-related legal needs and/or a desire to create a formal business structure or entity; with emerging, community-based small businesses facing corporate, employment or similar legal issues; and with non-profit organizations or groups seeking to establish a tax-exempt organization. For fieldwork purposes, students are assigned seven office hours per week at the clinic. Students can expect to spend an additional ten to twelve hours per week, on average, on their client representation work. The fieldwork is complemented by a weekly seminar. The seminar will address substantive law surrounding small businesses and entrepreneurship, and ethical issues encountered in corporate and non-profit practice.

Criminal Justice Clinic

The Criminal Justice Clinic is a unique and exciting program, which examines the criminal justice system from the perspective of both defense attorneys and prosecutors. The Clinic is made up of two programs: BC Law Prosecution Program and BC Defenders. BC Defenders represent indigent clients in District Court, while student prosecutors prosecute cases under the auspices of a District Attorney's Office. Each side meets separately once a week to focus more intently on the skills particular to each profession and to discuss issues which students confront during the term. Both sides also meet in class together once a week to explore systemic issues and practical problems and to compare their experiences, analyses, and conclusions with insights gathered by students practicing on the opposite side.

Students enrolled in the course will experience, participate in, and evaluate the local criminal justice system. Through practice in a district court, combined with one-on-one supervision, class exercises, readings and discussion, students have the opportunity to closely and critically examine the functioning of the criminal justice system and measure it against conceptions of fairness. Students will reflect on their actions in the criminal justice system (with special attention paid to the attorney-client relationship and the prosecution function), and will consider the ethical and moral issues which inevitably arise in criminal casework. Students examine these and other criminal justice issues while learning the habits of mind and behavior necessary to function effectively in that system.

BC Defenders

The BC Defenders pick up cases at arraignment, where they interview their clients for the first time and present bail arguments before a judge. Students then begin to prepare their cases, researching the legal issues, investigating the facts, and helping the client with services whenever possible. A pre-trial hearing is held usually within the first semester to finalize discovery and determine if the case can be resolved. If the case is not resolved then, the case is scheduled for jury trial during the second semester. To prepare for jury trials, students role-play their cases in the form of mock trials with group participation. Students handle misdemeanors and those felonies for which district court jurisdiction exists, such as charges of assault, larcenies, and drug offenses. Students are responsible for their own cases and are closely supervised, both in court and out of court, by the defense supervisor. Second semester is a jury trial seminar where students complete their cases. Each case scheduled for jury trial will be performed in class as a mock trial at least once, and all students will participate as witnesses, prosecutors, jurors and critiquers.

BC Law Prosecution Program

One of the central challenges that students will face in this clinic will be to understand and articulate the primary task of a prosecutor and how our notions (both conscious and unconscious) of authority, role, boundary, and task affect the way lawyers take up their role. Students will join a group of assistant district attorneys in a local District Attorney's Office and engage in the demanding role of prosecutor in a highly challenging local criminal justice system. Each student will become an active participant in the criminal justice system, receiving several cases during the semester, handling various charges, and appearing numerous times in an adult court session. Students are responsible for their own cases and are closely supervised, both in court and out of court.

Housing Law Clinic

This course introduces students to the pervasive problem of the threat of housing loss and homelessness in our cities. It is a clinical course in which students will litigate cases on behalf of low-income clients who are at risk of becoming homeless if they lose their current housing. Most are facing eviction or the loss of government housing subsidies that they need in order to remain housed. The course includes fieldwork and a weekly seminar. The fieldwork is based at the Law School's civil clinical office known as the Legal Assistance Bureau in Waltham, 15 minutes from the Law School. The seminar will be held at the Law School.

Students who enroll in this course will be certified to practice law in Massachusetts under close clinical supervision. They will advise and represent families or individuals who are facing or experiencing having no place to live. Students can expect to defend eviction actions in local District Courts and Boston Housing Court; to represent individuals before local Housing Authorities in an effort to obtain affordable housing for them; to work with community organizations seeking to increase the supply of affordable housing; and, on occasion, to assist in affirmative litigation to correct illegal conditions in low-incoming housing. Students will be trained in essential lawyering skills with an emphasis on trial advocacy techniques.

The fieldwork is complemented by a weekly seminar. The seminar will cover trial advocacy skills, exploration of the social and political underpinnings of homelessness, and ethical issues encountered in public interest practice.

Immigration Law Clinic

Students who take Immigration Law, or who took the course in the previous year, will have the opportunity to do clinical work for two extra pass/fail credits in the Fall semester through the Immigration Law Clinic. Clinical opportunities will include working with pro-bono attorneys on political asylum cases in conjunction with the Political Asylum/Immigration Representation Project (PAIR); interviewing, counseling, and representing clients in Detention Facilities and Immigration Court, and working on various types of national and regional "impact" litigation, especially regarding detention policies. Students will be able to choose the type of work which most interests them and will be specially trained and supervised.

Advanced Immigration Law Clinic

The class is scheduled to meet two hours per week as a seminar. During the first hour of class students will examine and discuss a variety of advanced topics in U.S. Immigration and Deportation law. The focus will primarily be on refugee law, asylum and deportation, although these topics necessarily involve other procedural issues, criminal law, constitutional law, and statutory construction. The faculty will be the primary presenters in the first hour. However, as the class progresses, students will also be asked to present in class on selected topics that will general class discussion. In the clinic, each student will be working with clients on immigration matters. Students may choose from a variety of projects. Some will go to detention centers to give "Know Your Rights Presentations" and interview and counsel clients. Others will conduct intake of possible new clients. Others may represent clients on asylum cases. Some may work on litigation and amicus briefs.

Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project Clinic

The Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project will provide a full year clinic to students either currently enrolled in Juvenile Justice Seminar or who have completed Juvenile Justice Seminar. Students will apply their education in juvenile justice and child advocacy to problem areas of juvenile representation and policy. Students will primarily represent girls in the Massachusetts justice system across the full-range of their legal needs. Issues include delinquency, post-disposition administrative advocacy, special education, personal injury, status offenses, child abuse and neglect, and public benefits. In addition, students work as guardians-ad-litem for girls in the status offender system with a focus on education law. Drawing on the individual case experience, students work on policy development for girls in the system. Students are involved in data collection, research and report writing and dissemination, helping to develop models that work for system involved girls. Students also provide legal education to high school students at Brighton High School. The JRAP operates in an interdisciplinary manner in collaboration with Boston College counseling psychology graduate students. Student will meet every week to discuss advanced topics in juvenile law as they relate to the work of the Juvenile Rights Advocacy Project.

Women and the Law Clinic

"Women and the Law Clinic" is a clinical and theoretical course. The course is part of the Legal Assistance Bureau (LAB), located in Waltham. Students will attend two weekly class meetings. Students will also be assigned two to three domestic cases involving divorce, custody, child support, spousal support, visitation, restraining orders, etc. The class meetings will allow the class to explore the theoretical materials and appellate cases in the context of actual client service. It will also expose students to the invisible ways in which the law structures women's experiences. Students will be required each week to have seven scheduled office hours at the LAB, in addition to scheduled class time. At the end of the semester, the students will be required to submit a 10-12-page paper analyzing a topic from the course in terms of their clinical experience.

For more information about BC Law's clinical programs, please visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/services/academic/programs/clinical.

Externships/Internships

Attorney General Program

The Attorney General Program provides an intensive full-year clinical experience in civil litigation in the Government Bureau of the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General. Students practice under the supervision of a faculty member who is an assistant attorney general in that Bureau. Students work directly with Bureau attorneys in the representation of state agencies and officials in state and federal courts. The clinic teaches litigation skills and strategy and includes the following types of legal work: (1) the drafting of pleadings, motions, discovery requests and responses, and other litigation documents; (2) legal research and writing of briefs in the trial and appellate courts; (3) oral argument in the state courts; and (4) other litigation tasks. Students will be expected to do a significant amount of legal writing. Pursuant to Rule 3:03 of the Supreme Judicial Court, students will argue orally in Superior Court in behalf of state agencies. Students will work on a variety of court cases involving administrative and constitutional law, federal courts, and statutory construction. Students receive written and oral comments on their memoranda and written evaluations of their performance. The overall goal of the program is to provide an in-depth exposure to administrative and constitutional law and related issues, in the context of a high-level practice that deals with these issues on a daily basis. The clinical program includes a weekly two-hour seminar on litigation skills, substantive law topics, and the discussion of student work. Topics include state and federal jurisdiction, administrative law and procedure, drafting litigation documents, motion practice, discovery, trial preparation, appellate practice, and the role of state attorneys general.

International Criminal Tribunal: Theory and Practice Seminar

This program offers a unique opportunity to work on-site in either the fall or spring semester at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) or the newly-established International Criminal Court (ICC), both located in The Hague, Netherlands. The ICTY, established by the UN Security Council in 1993, is charged with prosecuting and trying persons allegedly responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in the former Yugoslavia during the conflict resulting from the breakup of that country. The ICC, which came into being in 2002, was created to serve as a standing tribunal to try war criminals in a wider variety of situations. The goals of the program are provisions of a meaningful educational experience, instruction in international law, and exposure to different legal cultures. Typical work includes the investigation of pending cases and drafting of indictments in a setting that is one of the principal focal points for the current development of international law. This program also offers the unusual opportunity to "learn by doing" in the area of international law and to identify long-term academic and career options in the field. A three-hour required course will be offered and includes training by professional staff in the Office of the Prosecutor.

Semester in Practice

Unique among BC Law's' clinical offerings, this limited enrollment, semester course is designed to maximize students' ability to improve their lawyering skills while observing experienced local lawyers and judges. Students spend approximately 30 hours per week at their placement, or, with the Director's permission, 24 hours per week, and attend a weekly classroom seminar. Generally, students chose their placement from a pre-existing pool of opportunities that includes diverse subject areas (labor, civil rights, environmental, business law, etc.) and diverse settings (government, law firms, public interest groups, in-house counsel, judicial clerkships, etc.). It is also possible under certain circumstances for students to obtain their own placements, subject to approval of the Director. In class, students analyze the lawyering process through readings, discussion, and student presentations. Students will be asked to prepare written assignments in which they reflect on their experience and readings, and to keep a daily journal. The Director monitors individual placements to ensure the supervising attorney is providing a significant educational experience including the following: feedback on work product, planned work assignments, exposure to the various aspects of lawyering, and mini-lectures.

The London Program is given each Spring Semester at King's College London. The Program has two major components, one classroom based, and the other experiential. The classroom component consists of four courses. The centerpiece of the London Program is its internship component. This represents an effort to replicate, in a foreign setting, some of the features of the law school's highly successful Semester in Practice program. Students in London have worked with a number of non-profit human rights and environmental organizations, including, Interights, Liberty, Justice, Article 19 as well the Financial Services Authority, and several major London law firms. The students spend 20 to 25 hours per week at their placement, work under close supervision, and maintain journals relating to their research, writing and observations. These are then discussed at a regularly scheduled Seminar led by the Director. In addition, students visit legal and political institutions, and have library privileges at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies which is also part of London University.

For more information on externships, visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/services/academic/programs/clinical/externship

Classes with a Public Service Component

Many students develop faculty supervised independent studies in order to receive academic credit for doing public interest work. For example, every year students receive independent study credit for working on cases with the New England Innocence Project.

Additionally, some courses require students' graded work to be useful for public interest organizations. For example, in Domestic Violence and the Law, taught by Mithra Merryman, a practicing attorney at Greater Boston Legal Services, students develop projects to be used by agencies working on domestic violence issues.

Public Interest Journals

Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review

First published in 1971, Boston College Environmental Affairs Law Review (EA) is one of the nation's two oldest law reviews dedicated to environmental law. Having developed and maintained a national reputation as one of the country's leading environmental and land use journals, EA has the highest subscription rate among the law reviews at Boston College Law School.

Third World Law Journal

Founded in 1978, the Third World Law Journal is a unique legal periodical that fills the need for a progressive, alternative legal perspective on issues both within the United States and in the developing world. The Journal's scope includes issues affecting underrepresented populations, human and civil rights, immigration, women's and children's issues, and issues of disproportionate economic impact. Published twice annually, the Journal contains articles by outside authors, student notes, and student book reviews. The founders of the Journal envisioned it as a forum for discussing legal issues affecting people, cultures, and institutions that share a common history of colonialism, oppression, under-representation, and marginalization in the political and economic processes.

For a complete listing of BC Law journals and for more detailed information about the journals, visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/lawreviews

PI Career Support Center

The Office of Career Services staffs a full-time public interest career advisor.

Loan Repayment Assistance Programs (LRAP)

The Boston College Law School Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP) supports recent BC Law graduates in law-related public interest careers by assisting them in the repayment of their educational debt. In recent years, annual awards ranged from $500 to $7,000. In order to be considered for the LRAP Program, first-time applicants must have graduated from Boston College Law School within the past five years and be employed on a full-time basis in a public interest job earning $57,500 or less. Applicants remain eligible in subsequent years until their earnings reach $65,000. In 2009, the law school awarded over $269, 000 to the 74 qualifying applicants.

Post-Graduate Fellowships/Awards

Law School Funded:

James A. and Lois Champy Fellowship Program.

The Champy Fellowship Program provides financial support to an outstanding second-year student who has demonstrated the intention and ability to work in the public interest and who is in need of financial assistance. Any second-year student pursuing a public interest career is eligible. Preference will be given to students providing direct legal services to the disadvantaged and/or working in civil or human rights. The Champy Fellow receives an $10,000 scholarship in two disbursements during the third year of law school, which is to be used to pay educational expenses.

The Drinan Family Fund in Support of Public Interest Law.

The fund awards $10,000 to a graduating student who will pursue a public sector career. The award is to be applied solely to indebtedness incurred for legal education and may be renewed for an additional year if the recipient remains in public interest employment and fulfills the other conditions of the award. Any third year student who is pursuing a public sector career is eligible. Preference will be given to candidates whose employment is in one of the following areas: child advocacy, landlord/tenant issues, criminal defense or criminal prosecution.

Edward T. Bigham, III, Scholarship.

The scholarship is a $4,500 award to an outstanding third-year student who intends to pursue a career as a district attorney.

The David H. and Mary Murphy Posner Law Scholarship
The Roberts S. Pitcoff Memorial Scholarship
The Keefe Family Scholarship

These three $4,500 scholarships are for current third-year students who have a demonstrated interest in pursuing a career in the public sector.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

BC Law students have received a number of post-graduate fellowships in past years, including Equal Justice Works, Skadden, and Soros Fellowships.

Term Time Fellowships/Scholarships

Law School Funded:

Each year, Boston College Law School awards three full-tuition Public Service Scholarships to highly qualified applicants who are committed to practicing law in service of the public after graduation. In keeping with Boston College Law School's mission of education for the service of others and in recognition of the fact that such work tends to be significantly under-compensated, this program supports students committed to careers in the public sector by mitigating the expense and associated debts of their legal education by offering three full-tuition scholarships annually. Recipients are selected by a scholarship committee appointed by the Dean.

Public Service Scholars are given a faculty mentor to support them throughout their three years at BC Law. Public Service Scholars are expected to work both of their summers during law school for a public interest organization (exceptions to this policy will be considered in extraordinary circumstances and must be authorized by the Scholarship Committee). Public Service Scholars are expected to take a substantial leadership role in the public interest community at the Law School. Examples of activities that would fulfill this expectation are:

  • assist in running the annual Public Interest Retreat;
  • organize the Law School's annual Diversity month;
  • assume a leadership role in PILF or other public interest organizations;
  • organize colloquia on public policy and law topics.

Public Service Scholars are expected to work for a public interest organization after graduation.

For information on how to apply please see: http://www.bc.edu/schools/law/admission/finaid/scholloans.html

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

None listed

Summer Fellowships

Law School Funded:

The Summer Federal Work-Study Program offers federal work-study grants to BC Law School students for summer work for eligible government agencies, public interest organizations and nonprofit organizations throughout the country. This funding is in addition to work-study grants available during the academic year. Awards are made through the Financial Aid Office. The federal government pays approximately 60% of the salary of work-study recipients, the remaining 40% is paid for by a contribution from an employer or other summer funding source. Work-study awards are based on financial need and are administered by the Financial Aid Office.

Graduate Student Funded:

None listed

Other Funding Sources:

The Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF)Summer Stipend Program provides students with financial assistance to pursue public interest work during the summer. All law students who are interested in public interest legal work are eligible to apply for a PILF grant. PILF construes the definition of public interest legal work as broadly as possible in order to give applicants the opportunity to demonstrate how their employers and their particular position will benefit the public interest. PILF has funded positions with government agencies, non-profit organizations, state and federal prosecutors, public defender offices and private law firms with a public interest practice.

Funding for PILF summer stipends comes from a variety of sources: PILF fundraising, The Law School, and outside funding sources. Some of these sources have geographical or practice area restrictions. Applications will be evaluated by a committee appointed by the Public Interest Law Foundation based on two criteria: 1) the applicant's demonstrated commitment to public interest work and 2) the extent to which the applicant's work will benefit the public interest.

Bingham McCutchen Fellowship for Public Service: Through the PILF Summer Stipend Program, several students will be named Bingham McCutchen Fellows. Their summer stipends will be paid from a fund established at the Law School by Bingham McCutchen LLP in honor of John Curtin, to support public interest careers. Preference will be given to students working in civil rights, human rights, juvenile rights & enforcement. As part of this program, Fellows will be invited to participate in a special mentor program with Bingham McCutchen attorneys.

The Owen M. Kupferschmid Holocaust/Human Rights Summer Funding Project was established to fund students in internships that focus on international and human rights issues. Preference is given to internships in foreign countries. H/HRP is particularly interested in the development of law creating legal accountability for individuals responsible for state-sponsored or state-supported crimes or abuses, including mass murder and persecution, and human rights violations which states are unwilling or unable to prevent. However, anyone with an offer of a position in the human rights/international public interest field is encouraged to apply. The funding amount will vary according to the needs of the students, but is intended to cover the out-of-pocket travel and living expenses. It may be combined with work-study or PILF funding, and applicants are required to seek that additional funding.

BC Law students have received a number of summer public interest fellowships in past years, including Equal Justice America, Equal Justice Works, Rappaport, and Massachusetts Bar Foundation Fellowships.

Extracurricular and Co-Curricular Programs

Public Interest Law Retreat

Each year, BC Law students, faculty, administrators, and alumni come together for the annual Public Interest Law Retreat. The three-day, student-run Retreat is held at the BC Retreat Center in Dover, MA. Students participate in community building exercises, speaker panels, skills workshops, and networking events.

Student Public Interest Groups

  • Children's Rights Group
  • Community Economic Development Law Group
  • Coalition for Equality
  • Criminal Justice Law Project
  • Domestic Violence Advocacy Project
  • Environmental Law Society
  • Immigration Spring Break
  • National Lawyers Guild
  • Human Rights Project
  • Public Interest Law Foundation
  • Reproductive Choice Coalition
  • Veterans Association
  • Women's Law Center

For a more detailed listing and additional information, visit: www.bc.edu/schools/law/services/studentorgs

August 6, 2018