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2020 Summer Public Service Fellowship Program – Frequently Asked Questions
Updated April 3, 2020

Q:        Will the Summer Public Service Fellowship Program (SPSFP) be offered in summer 2020?
A:        Yes! The SPSFP will be offered with some modifications.

Q:        What constitutes qualifying work under the 2020 SPSFP?
A:        Qualifying employment is unpaid, law-related work for the following:

  • a government agency;
  • a public interest organization;
  • the judiciary; and
  • a private sector employer, provided that work is not client billable, such as pro bono projects, continuing legal education course preparation, book and article writing, business development and other non-client-specific work.

Q:        How much work is required to obtain a full ($3,500) fellowship?
A:        You must work approximately 210 hours between May 11 and August 21, 2020 to obtain a full fellowship.

Q:        May I begin work at my fellowship employer prior to June 15?
A:        Yes; however, any work under the SPSFP prior to June 15 must be remote. Hours worked in person before June 15 will not count toward the Fellowship requirement.

Q:        What if I do not work the full 210 hours?
A:        You will receive a pro rata share of the Fellowship.

Q:        If I already have committed to summer employment, how do I communicate with my employer about these changes?
A:        The Career Development Office (CDO) can help you navigate this shift. If you already have reported your summer employment, your career advisor will be in touch. If you have secured, but not yet reported summer employment, please let your advisor know where you will be working as soon as possible, but no later than April 9.

Q:        Can I get a SPSFP Fellowship for working as a research assistant for a faculty member?
A:        Pursuant to university regulations, research assistants are paid by the hour rather than through a lump-sum fellowship.

Q:        Since classes are remote for the remainder of the semester, do I still have to participate in the CDO’s Think Like a Professional program and the Law Library’s Prepare to Practice program?
A:        Yes, both programs will be offered remotely and first-time Summer Public Service Fellowship applicants must watch the Think Like a Professional and one session of the Prepare to Practice programs in their entirety prior to submitting an SPSFP application by May 8.
Think Like a Professional: Summer Success in the Public Sector is available online at:
Prepare to Practice sessions will be posted April 8 through April 17. Recordings will be accessible on Blackboard in the “2020 Video Session Recordings” course.

Q:        What is the SPSFP application deadline?
A:        Fellowship Applications must be submitted via email to Leigh Deignan in the Law School Dean’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 8, 2020. Fellowship applications received after May 8 will be considered on a rolling basis subject to available funding until mid-June.

Q:        When will my SPSFP funds be distributed?
A:        It depends on when you submit your fully completed application. You should allow up to 16 days for processing after your materials are received by Leigh Deignan.

Q:        May I earn other compensation during summer 2020?
A:        Yes; however, there is a limit on total summer compensation for Fellowship recipients.

Situation A. If you receive compensation from an outside employer (not the School of Law) and a Fellowship, your total funding for summer 2020 may not exceed $5,000, including the Fellowship, outside fellowships or grants and/or paid law-related employment beyond the six-week Fellowship commitment.

If you receive grants or payment for law-related employment beyond the six-week Fellowship commitment, you still may receive a Fellowship provided the other compensation plus the Fellowship do not exceed $5,000. You will receive through the Fellowship program the difference between $5,000 and the amount of other compensation up to a maximum of $3,500. You must notify the CDO regarding any compensation you will earn from your qualifying employer, any outside fellowships or grants you have received for qualifying employment, and any other paid law-related summer employment you have obtained.

Situation B. If you receive compensation from the School of Law and a Fellowship, your total funding for summer 2020 may not exceed $3,500, including the Fellowship and other School of Law earnings. This will enable the School of Law to support the greatest number of students during these difficult times.

Earnings from non-legal positions will not be deducted from your Fellowship.

Q:        What happens if I do not return to the Law School in fall 2020?
A:        You must repay your summer fellowship.