Summer Fellowships

Public service is one of Colorado Law’s core values. Our Summer Fellowship program provides financial support to Colorado Law students pursuing unpaid and extremely lowly paid summer public service job opportunities.

Fellowships are available for public service work, with the exception of judicial internships and for-credit externships. Some fellowships are specific to particular practice areas, e.g. environmental law, public policy, and civil rights. Others, such as the Public Service Summer Fellowship (PSSF), are available for any practice area. The PSSF provides awards to the largest number of students. Students should apply for any and all of our Summer Fellowships for which they believe their summer work qualifies.

To receive a fellowship, a student needs to secure and commit to (and it is best to do so before applying for one of our fellowships) a public service summer position. Funding amounts vary and most are limited to unpaid or extremely lowly paid work. Fellowships and instructions on how to apply are posted in CDOnline’s job postings section during the application window. The application window is announced to all Colorado Law students by email to the class listservs.

Below, we have highlighted the Summer Fellowships available exclusively to Colorado Law students. CDOnline, PSJD, and the Government Honors and Internship Handbook (accessible via your CDOnline homepage) are extremely helpful resources for finding public service summer jobs. If you would like help with your summer job search strategy, we strongly encourage you to schedule an appointment with a member of Colorado Law’s CDO staff.

Please read the following FAQ’s for information about eligibility, application details, and other important information about Colorado Law’s Summer Fellowship program.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a public service summer internship?

Typically, students find summer positions through CDOnline job postings, reaching out to people working in their area of interest, the Government Honors & Internship Handbook, and websites such as PSJD. For help with your public service job search, we recommend you work with Alexia McCaskill, Director for Government & Public Interest, or another member of the CDO staff. Faculty can also be a rich resource for leads about public service internships. This document gives you ideas of some of the places where Colorado Law students interned over the last six years.

I am working as an extern this summer. May I receive a Summer Fellowship for my summer externship public service work?

No. Hours worked for a summer, for-credit externship are ineligible for our Summer Fellowship program. If you have questions about summer or academic year externships, consult the Externship page or contact Chris McKee.  Please remember that you must pay tuition for externship credits earned during the summer.

I secured a volunteer summer internship with a judge. Am I eligible for funding under the Summer Fellowship program?

Judicial internships do not qualify for funding under Colorado Law’s Summer Fellowship program. Colorado Law recognizes the incredible value of students interning with judges. We do not, however, provide Summer Fellowship funding for that category of work since many of those positions, unlike the categories we do fund, do not usually require a full-time work commitment - making it easier for judicial interns to accept paid work along with their internship.

How many hours does the Summer Fellowship program require me to work in my position?

Most of Colorado Law’s Summer Fellowships require the student to commit to work at least 300 hours during the course of the summer. Make sure to review the requirements of each fellowship(s) you wish to pursue to make sure you understand any and all of its requirements.

How much do Colorado Law’s Summer Fellowships pay?

The amounts vary, but most of our fellowships will pay the following for work during Summer 2017:

  • $3,000 for work outside of Colorado
  • $2,500 for work in Colorado, but more than 35 miles from Denver or Boulder
  • $2,000 for work in Denver, Boulder, or within 35 miles of either

Compensation is higher for work outside of the Denver/Boulder metro areas because of the costs associated with relocation for the summer.  Some of the named fellowships under our program may pay more than the general amounts identified above.

Can I receive funding under more than one Colorado Law Summer Fellowship at a time?

No. A student cannot receive more than one Summer Fellowship administered by the law school per year. We do, however, encourage you to apply to multiple sources of funding. There are a number of funding sources outside of Colorado Law and, some, are very generous. If you are receiving or pursuing funding or income from other sources for your summer public service work, we ask that you disclose that fact when you apply for our Summer Fellowships. If you receive additional funding after applying for or receiving on of our fellowships, inform Alexia McCaskill as soon as possible.

The majority of Colorado Law students receive funding through the PSSF. There are also some named Colorado Law Fellowships whose recipients are selected from the PSSF applicant pool. We recommend that you apply for the PSSF and any of the other Colorado Law Summer Fellowships for which you believe your work qualifies.

I am working outside the Denver/Boulder area. Can I get both a summer fellowship and a Colorado Opportunities Scholarship?

Yes. We encourage students to apply to both programs. Information about the Colorado Opportunities Scholarship Program will be available in CDOnline’s Job Postings section after the email announcement of its application window later this semester. Students working in-state, but 40 miles outside the Denver/Boulder area may apply for the Colorado Opportunities Scholarship Program.

Will being accepted into the AmeriCorps JD program disqualify me from participating in the Summer Fellowship program?

No. Equal Justice Work’s AmeriCorps JD program provides an education voucher at the end of your required service under that program. Colorado Law students accepted into AmeriCorps JD may still apply for and receive funding under our Summer Fellowship program.

Can I undertake additional work during the summer to earn more money?

With many of our fellowships, students can get additional part-time work. If you wish to pursue additional funding from another source, please note that in your fellowship application.

Where can I get information about specific Summer Fellowships?

General information is below. You should carefully review the relevant CDOnline postings for the most detailed information, including application requirements. Email announcements were sent to the 1L and 2L class listservs announcing the application window (2/20/2017 - 3/20/2017), and providing general guidance.

What else do I need to know?

  1. Recipients receive fellowship funding through the law school’s payroll system. Required payroll taxes will be deducted. Recipients must complete all necessary payroll paperwork before leaving Boulder for the summer. Fellowship recipients will receive approval notices via email that will include details on how to navigate this process.
  2. Recipients of named fellowships are required to write and send a thank you letter to the sponsor of their fellowship by a date to be established by the law school.
  3. All fellowship recipients are required to submit a report to Alexia McCaskill detailing their summer experience on or by a date to be determined and announced in the Fall semester. This report may be shared with the donor/sponsor of the fellowship or used by Colorado Law in its development efforts.
  4. Summer Fellowship application materials may be shared with fellowship sponsors or selection committees in some instances.
  5. Please note the awarding of some of the fellowships may be subject to the consent of the organization hosting a student's summer internship.

Who should I contact if I still have questions about the Summer Fellowship program?

For questions about fellowship program specifics, how to find opportunities, or pursuing a public service career, contact Alexia McCaskill. For help writing personal statements required for your application(s), contact any of the other CDO advisors.


Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowship (PSSF): Public Service

These fellowships fund students working in public service, broadly defined as work for non-profit, government, or nongovernmental entities, as well as legal work in rural areas or work that otherwise fulfills an unmet need or assists an underserved population. Many Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowships are awarded to Colorado Law students who will continue to be Colorado Law students returning in the Fall. The work must be unpaid or extremely lowly paid. The majority of Colorado Law students receiving public service funding do so under this program.

At a minimum, we recommend students seeking summer funding from Colorado Law apply for a PSSF. The recipients of the Brownstein; Helmick; and the Anonymous Public Service Fellowship: Social Justice, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties fellowships described below are chosen from the PSSF applicant pool. If you want to be considered for one of those Summer Fellowships, make sure to apply for a PSSF.


Anonymous Public Service Fellowship: Social Justice, Civil Rights & Civil Liberties

This anonymous fellowship is awarded to a student working in the fields of social justice, civil rights, or civil liberties. The ideal candidate is interested in specifically working with an organization championing civil rights and civil liberties. The recipient of this Fellowship is selected from the pool of applications submitted for the PSSF.


Brownstein Public Interest Fellows Program: Public Sector

The Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Fellows Program provides financial support to Colorado Law students who take unpaid or low-paying summer positions in the public sector. The recipients of this Fellowship are selected from the pool of applications submitted for the PSSF. 


Environmental Law Society Fellowship: Environmental Law & Policy

The Environmental Law Society Fellowship funds law student participation in low-paid or unpaid internships for non-profit groups, nongovernmental organizations, or government organizations on matters relating to environmental and natural resources law and policy.


Harrison Fellowship: Water Law & Policy

The Harrison (a/k/a Innovations in Water Law and Policy) Fellowship provides a Colorado Law student the opportunity to understand water governance issues more deeply through exposure to international water resource challenges. At the conclusion of the fellowship, the Fellow will present the results of the research at a seminar hosted by The Nature Conservancy within four months after completing the Fellowship.

The Harrison Fellowship is made possible by Moses, Wittemyer, Harrison and Woodruff, P.C. in honor of David L. Harrison, who graduated from Colorado Law in 1971. The Harrison Fellowship is traditionally $5,000. Students must pay living expenses and travel costs to and from the placement location out of this stipend. The remaining amount will be compensation to the Fellow.

The 2017 Harrison Fellow will conduct a case study regarding the current water assignment and use system relevant to companies in Mexico. The case study will also make recommendations (both descriptive and textual) regarding potential pathways towards incentivizing efficiencies in water use as well as watershed conservation work in the region. A portion of the Harrison Fellow’s time should ideally be spent in Mexico City. Strong Spanish language skills are required and fluency is highly preferred. The Fellow will work mainly with Colin Herron, TNC’s Freshwater Program Director for Mexico and Norther Central America and Froylan Hernandez, Senior Attorney for the Latin American Region, specialized in Water Funds. The ideal Fellow will be a strong legal researcher, a quick learner, and good at thinking outside of the box. Ideally, the Fellow would have an interest in or prior experience in environmental issues.

The 2016 project focused on the institutional design of community water trusts. TNC launched its first CWT in Australia in 2015. The 2016 Harrison Fellow worked with TNC attorneys and private law firms to capture knowledge gained from early CWT experiences.

PISA Public Interest Summer Fellowship: Public Interest

The Public Interest Student Association (PISA) awards fellowships to students performing unpaid or low paid legal work in the public interest. Work in the public interest under this fellowship includes work for a non-profit, nongovernmental group, or government entity. The PISA Selection Committee reserves the right to determine what is and is not for the public interest. PISA encourages any student in unpaid or low paid work that he or she considers to be in the public interest sector to apply. Past awardees have worked for employers such as public defenders’ offices, environmental nonprofits, district attorneys’ offices, and civil rights groups.

All current Colorado Law 1Ls and 2Ls are eligible to apply. No current PISA board members are involved in the selection process. Current PISA board members are eligible to apply. Under no condition should the applicant solicit information from a member of the Selection Committee or tell a member of the Selection Committee that they have applied for the PISA Fellowship.

Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship: Environmental Law & Policy

The Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship is awarded to fund law student participation in low paid or unpaid summer internships for non-profit groups and nongovernmental organizations on matters that relate to environmental and natural resources law and policy. Unlike the ELS Fellowship or other public interest/public service fellowships under Colorado Law’s Summer Fellowship program, Sandgrund Fellowship recipients must be placed only in a bona fide environmental advocacy organization to qualify. Government positions or work with a group that supports the industry side of environmental issues are not eligible for the Sandgrund Fellowship.


Squire Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship: Public Policy

Using the attorney’s fees earned from a successful pro bono case won by John Oberdorfer, Squire Patton Boggs established the Squire Patton Boggs Foundation to commemorate the retirement of founding partner James R. Patton, Jr. The Squire Patton Boggs Foundation provides a Public Policy Fellowship grant that traditionally has been given to two Colorado Law students. The Public Policy Fellowships are granted to law students who spend their summers working on public policy matters for either a non-profit institution or a government agency. The work may be domestic or international.

The Foundation’s provision of this Fellowship embodies Squire Patton Boggs’ commitment to creating new and valuable opportunities in the public policy field for tomorrow’s attorneys. Former Colorado Law recipients of the Fellowship have worked for organizations such as the Supreme court of Ghana, the DNA Justice Review Project (Denver, CO), the Center for International Environmental Law (Geneva, Switzerland), the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Washington, DC), the Colorado Department of Healthcare Policy and Financing (Denver, CO), the Vermont Law Center for Agriculture & Food Systems (Royalton, VT), and the FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau.

Women's Law Caucus Public Interest Fellowship: Work Relating to Women’s Issues

The Women’s Law Caucus will award a fellowship to a student who will be performing unpaid or low paid work that touches on women’s issues. This Fellowship is open to any 1L or 2L student, regardless of gender. The WLC Selection Committee consists of a group of current WLC board members and faculty. Projects or employment should directly or indirectly relate to women’s issues; and lead to significant social impact.