Dean’s Fellowship Program

Through the Dean’s Fellowship Program, Colorado Law hopes to support first-year students in finding a meaningful work experience in the summer between their first and second years. The Fellowship also provides a stipend of $3,000 for qualifying summer employment, though students choosing to pursue private sector work often secure paid employment that obviates the need for the fellowship.

Below are answers to questions you may have about the Dean’s Fellowship. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact either Dean Weiser at phil.weiser@colorado.edu or Dean Leary at whiting.leary@colorado.edu

I received a Dean’s Fellowship. Now what do I do?
Congratulations on receiving a Fellowship! You were chosen for a Fellowship because of your impressive background, and we are confident that you will have a great summer experience and successful career! The next step is to begin (or continue) your job search. To start, you should meet with our Career Development Office (CDO) advisors at least once per semester. They can work with you on developing your resume and cover letter, strategizing about which skills and experiences to highlight, and finding connections that will advance your job search.

As you narrow your job search, we encourage you to pursue work experience outside the building. The available evidence suggests that students with more work experience during law school secure post-graduate employment more quickly than those without such experience. If you would like to work as a research assistant for a professor, for example, consider doing this part-time only and also find an internship outside the law school.

Finally, do not be afraid to use Dean Weiser and Dean Leary as resources. They are here to help. To set up a meeting with Dean Weiser, email his executive assistant, Claudia Kapp Horn, at claudia.horn@colorado.edu. To set up a meeting with Dean Leary, sign up for a meeting in her office using this Doodle poll. If none of the times on the Doodle poll work for you, please email Kristine Hunerwadel at kristine.hunerwadel@colorado.edu.

Once you secure a position, please email law.studentaffairs@colorado.edu to let us know where you will be working. We will respond with information about how to get set up in the payroll to receive your stipend (and with congratulations!).

Where can I work next summer?
Although Fellows can work for any employer, you will receive the stipend only if you work for approved employers. To receive the stipend, you can work either outside the law school building in public service or inside the law school as a research assistant for a professor. To qualify as public service, an employer must be a non-profit organization or a governmental agency. Examples of public service employers include the public defender’s office or district attorney’s office. Judges can be terrific mentors and we encourage students to intern/extern for them, but fellowship funding is not available for working with them. You need not limit your search to public sector employers, though, and most private sector/for-profit employers will pay student employees.

If you would like to work as a research assistant for a professor, we encourage you to think about volunteering to get additional work experience. For example, you may consider working a few days a week as a research assistant and then volunteering for a judge the rest of the week.

Do I have to work in public service next summer?
The stipend is intended to support students working in qualifying public sector jobs but if your interests draw you to private sector employers and you are hired for a summer position with a for-profit employer, you likely will be paid for your work.

In order to receive your stipend, you must work at least part of the summer in public service (either as a research assistant or for a non-profit organization or government agency). However, public service does not have to be the only thing that you do. For example, you could work part-time as a research assistant for a professor and volunteer part-time for a judge. If you aren’t sure whether an employer qualifies as public service, please talk with Dean Weiser or Dean Leary.

What if I don’t know what I want to do next summer?
If you’re still undecided about what area of law you’d like to practice in or what you would like to do next summer, that’s ok! Take advantage of opportunities to learn about different career paths, and talk with CDO, Dean Weiser, or Dean Leary for help deciding what career path you would like to take. Your first summer is a great chance to try out a field of law and to learn more about your own career preferences.

I accepted a job offer. What are my next steps?
Congratulations! Please email law.studentaffairs@colorado.edu to let us know where you will be working and whether the position is paid. If the position is not paid, we will follow up with information about how to get set up in the payroll to receive your stipend.

Can I use my stipend for an unpaid internship during the school year?
No, Dean's Fellowship funding is only available for summer work experiences following 1L year. You cannot use your stipend for fall or spring internships.

Can I talk to past Dean’s Fellows about their experiences?
Of course! Last year’s Dean’s Fellows, Mahogany Dodd and Will Kidney, are more than happy to talk to you about their summers. Both Mahogany and Will worked for the Colorado Public Defender’s Office. You can email them at mahogany.dodd@colorado.edu or william.kidney@colorado.edu.