The Public Interest Law Center was established in 1996 by Shepard Broad College of Law to serve as a focal point for all public interest law activities at the law school. The Public Interest Law Center operates many programs designed to encourage students to participate in public interest law while they are in law school and to encourage a dedicated commitment to the public for life.
Jennifer Gordon, Esq. is the Director of Public Interest Law at Shepard Broad College of Law.
NSU Law Fellowships
NSU Law Fellowships provide financial assistance to students who wish to work with a public interest or government organization. They are competitive and require early application. NSU Law offers five different summer fellowships:
Please note that NSU Law's fellowship application guidelines, eligibility, and award structures vary depending on the fellowship. Read the related information carefully and contact the Public Interest Law Center if you have any questions.
In order to be considered for the fellowship, students must:
- Be enrolled as a first-year or second-year full-time, or third-year part-time law student at NSU Shepard Broad College of Law in good academic standing;
- Make arrangements for a pro bono placement at a qualifying public service organization prior to submitting the Fellowship Application;
- The pro bono placement can be located in any geographic location; and
- Must commit to the public service organization and certify on the Fellowship Application that a minimum of two hundred (200) hours will be completed over the summer.
Students may not receive pro bono or academic credit for their fellowship work. However, students who volunteer in excess of the required 200 hours may receive pro bono credit for those additional hours.
Students who intend to transfer to another law school should not apply. Students who are awarded fellowships but subsequently transfer may be required to repay their fellowship award.
The application must be completed and submitted by the first Friday in April each year. No exceptions will be made. Informal interviews may be conducted if the number of applications greatly exceeds the number of available fellowships.
A complete application includes:
- A Fellowship Application cover sheet
- An approved resume by the Career and Professional Development Office
- A personal statement:
- Tell us about yourself and your reasons for applying for this fellowship.
- Describe the type of work you are seeking for the summer: list the organizations to which you have applied for summer employment or list the organization where you have secured a summer position, and why you have chosen these organizations.
- What background knowledge and prior experiences make you a strong candidate for a fellowship?
- How would this fellowship contribute to your personal and professional development? Include how this will relate to your legal education and probable professional career.
- A statement describing your financial need and any other proposed sources of funding.
- Please include any other factors that maybe pertinent to your application. (Be as specific as possible, but do not exceed 750 words.)
- Two references
The deadline for submitting a completed application is the first Friday in April. Please submit completed applications directly to Jennifer Gordon, Esq., Director of Public Interest Programs in the Public Interest Law Center.
Applications will be reviewed by the Public Service Fellowship Committee. The Committee is devised of administrators and faculty from the NSU Shepard Broad College of Law.
Responsibilities of Fellowship Recipient
Students who receive fellowships must fulfill the terms as submitted in the Fellowship Application and certified to on the Fellowship Award Acceptance and Conditions Form, which is completed after accepting the fellowship award. If a student does not complete such terms, he or she will be required to repay all money awarded.
Additionally, students must complete Fellowship Timesheets during the fellowship time period and turn in the forms directly to Jennifer Gordon, Esq., Director of Public Interest Programs in the Public Interest Law Center.
Upon completion of the fellowship, students will be required to submit a report to Jennifer Gordon, Esq., Director of Public Interest Programs in the Public Interest Law Center by the first Friday in September describing and evaluating his or her experience. Student fellowship recipients should also be prepared to make themselves available to promote the fellowship by speaking and giving testimonials about their experiences to interested groups of fellow law students and for promotional materials.
For Fellowship Applications, Timesheets, and other documentation, please visit our Resources Page.
Pro Bono Honor Program
The Public Interest Law Center coordinates the Pro Bono Honor Program, developing a variety of sites where students can fulfill pro bono hours, and maintains the records of students' pro bono work. A comprehensive handbook explaining the Pro Bono Honor Program, listing the organizations, and containing the reporting forms can be found on our Resources Page.
Public Interest Law Day
Each spring, the Public Interest Law Center hosts Public Interest Law Day. The next event is planned for February 2019. Public Interest Law Day brings public interest and government employers to campus to share their experiences and speak to students about their work. The purpose of the event is to educate law students about opportunities in the field of public interest law and to encourage their participation in the community.
Public Interest Law Society
The Public Interest Law Society is a student-run organization founded in 1994 to promote public interest legal employment opportunities and to overcome the economic barriers that confront future public interest lawyers. Each Spring, the Public Interest Law Society holds an annual auction to provide fellowship money through the Rebecca Knox Public Interest Law Summer Fellowship to law students who donate their summers to public interest law.
For more information about this student organization, visit PILS Student Chapter.
NSU Law's Pro Bono Honor Program cannot provide direct legal advice or services to members of the general public. Law student volunteers must be supervised by a licensed attorney at a qualifying placement. For assistance in obtaining an attorney, please contact the Broward County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (954)764-8040, the Dade County Bar Association Lawyer Referral Service at (305) 371-2646, the Palm Beach Lawyer Referral and Information Service at (561)687-3266 or (561)451-3256, the Florida Bar Lawyer Referral Service at 1-800-342-8011, or your local Legal Aid or Public Defender's Office.