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Public Interest Program

The Public Interest Programs 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 Programs offers many opportunities 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 Programs 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 an early application. NSU Law offers seven 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 Programs if you have any questions.

Fellowship Eligibility

In order to be considered for the fellowship, students must:

  1. Be enrolled as a current law student at NSU Shepard Broad College of Law in good academic standing and not be projected to graduate the summer of the potential fellowship;
  2. Make arrangements for a pro bono placement at a qualifying public service organization prior to submitting the Fellowship Application;
  3. The pro bono placement can be located in any geographic location; and
  4. 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.

Application Requirements

Applications will be reviewed beginning on the first Friday in April each year. Fellowships will be awarded on a rolling basis. Informal interviews may be conducted if the number of applications greatly exceeds the number of available fellowships.


A complete application includes:

  1. A Fellowship Application cover sheet
  2. An approved resume by the Career and Professional Development Office
  3. A personal statement:
  1. Tell us about yourself and your reasons for applying for this fellowship.
  2. 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.
  3. What background knowledge and prior experiences make you a strong candidate for a fellowship?
  4. How would this fellowship contribute to your personal and professional development? Include how this will relate to your legal education and probable professional career.
  5. A statement describing your financial need and any other proposed sources of funding.
  6. Please include any other factors that may be pertinent to your application. (Be as specific as possible, but do not exceed 750 words.)
  1. Two references


Completed applications will be reviewed beginning on the first Friday in April each year.  Fellowships will be awarded on a rolling basis. Please submit completed applications directly to Jennifer Gordon, Esq., Director of Public Interest Programs at &

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 Programs.

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 Programs 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.

Service Graduation Requirement

The Public Interest Programs coordinates the Service Graduation Requirement, developing a variety of opportunities where students can fulfill service hours and maintains the records of students’ service. A comprehensive handbook explaining the Service Graduation Requirement, listing pre-approved pro bono organizations, and containing the reporting forms can be found on our Resources Page.

Van Horn Law Group Pro Bono Honor Program

The Public Interest Program coordinates the Van Horn Law Group Pro Bono Honor Program, developing a variety of programs and opportunities for students  to fulfill pro bono hours, while maintaining the records of students' pro bono work.  The Van Horn Law Group Pro Bono Program is explained in our comprehensive handbook, which also includes a listing of organizations that offer pro bono placements and reporting forms. The handbook can be found on our  Resources Page.


The Van Horn Law Group Pro Bono Honor Program recognizes students who are committed to serving the community and engages in the belief that the overall improvement of our community starts with giving citizens – people who make up the foundation of the community – equal access to the legal system. 


The namesake of the Van Horn Law Group Pro Bono Honor Program is Chad Van Horn, Esq., a Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad College of Law Alumni, South Florida business leader, and founding partner of Van Horn Law Group, P.A. Van Horn’s firm, one of the top five bankruptcy firms in the state based on cases filed (, is committed to restoring peace of mind to individuals in financial distress by providing quality, affordable legal services. The firm’s mission is founded on the philosophies behind pro bono work:  compassion, understanding and respect. The vision of Van Horn and his team directly aligns with NSU Law’s commitment to instilling a strong pro bono service ethic in our graduates to spark passion for giving back to the community and  developing a lifelong commitment to using their education and skills for the public good.

Public Interest Law Day

Each spring, the Public Interest Programs hosts Public Interest Law Day. The next event is planned for February 2024. 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.

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.

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