Summer Fellowships

Public service is a core value and focus of Colorado Law. Summer fellowships provide financial support to Colorado Law students pursuing unpaid and underpaid summer job opportunities, with a particular focus on public service. 

Fellowships are available for all kinds of public service work.  There are some fellowships that are specific to particular areas of practice (e.g., environmental, communications), and others that are available for any type of public service work.  Unfortunately, judicial internships do not qualify for funding.  To receive a fellowship, the student needs to secure a volunteer opportunity (and it is best to do so before applying for the fellowship), but applications of interest will be considered for students who have not yet secured a position. Funding amounts vary and most are for unpaid or underpaid work.  Full information on fellowships, including instructions on how to apply, is available in CDOnline (in Jobs & Resume Collections). 

For convenience, we have highlighted here the fellowships that are available only to Colorado Law students.  However, if you are considering a fellowship or if you are undecided about the kind of work you want to do this summer, we encourage you to check CDOnline regularly both for more detailed information on these fellowships and for the many fellowships sponsored by other sources.  We also strongly encourage you to regularly check PSJD (formerly PSLawNet) and the Government Honors and Internship Handbook (via CDOnline).

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I find a place to volunteer?
Most often, students find work through reaching out to people working in their area of interest. Job postings on CDOnline, in the Government Honors and Internship Handbook, and on websites (e.g., Idealist or PSJD) are also rich sources of public service summer job opportunities. For help in searching for a place to volunteer, we encourage you to work with Alexia McCaskill or another member of the CDO and to talk with faculty and others who work in your chosen area of interest. Note that there are a few fellowship opportunities where the funding is available only for work done with a particular organization.

Is there a minimum or maximum number of hours of work?
For most fellowships, the student must work at least 300 hours during the course of the summer. Review the requirements of any fellowships you wish to pursue for any other requirements.

How much do fellowships pay?
Compensation varies, but most fellowships will pay the following for work during the Summer of 2015 (variations noted in the summary descriptions):

  • $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 relocating for the summer.

Can I get additional work to earn more money?
With many fellowships, students can get additional part-time work. If you wish to pursue additional work or if you have funding from another source, please note that in your fellowship application.

Can I get funding from more than one fellowship?
No student can receive more than one fellowship administered by the school, but applying for multiple sources of funding is encouraged. If you have or wish to pursue other funding or income, disclose that when you apply for your fellowship. If you receive additional funding after applying for or receiving a fellowship, inform the person to whom you applied for your fellowship. 

If I am working outside the Denver/Boulder area, can I get both a fellowship and a Colorado Opportunities Scholarship? 
Yes, we encourage students to apply to both programs. For more information about applying for a Colorado Opportunities Scholarship (students working outside the Denver/Boulder area for the summer are eligible to apply), search the jobs section of CDOnline.  

Can I get academic credit for the work for which I receive a fellowship?
No, the work may not be for academic credit. However, if the student chooses to do additional hours of work for the same organization and if the work meets all requirements of the externship course, the student may receive academic credit for the hours in excess of those required for the fellowship.  One consideration to keep in mind is that the student will be required to pay for any academic credit(s) sought.   

Where can I get information about deadlines for specific fellowships?
We encourage you to review the relevant CDOnline postings carefully for the most current information, including application requirements.

Is there anything else I need to know?
Recipients receive fellowship funding through the law school's payroll system. Required payroll taxes will be deducted. Recipients must complete all necessary payroll paperwork in person before leaving Boulder for the summer.  Fellowship recipients will receive approval notices that will include details on how to do navigate this process. 

Whom should I contact if I have questions?
For questions about fellowship program specifics, how to find opportunities, writing required personal statments, or pursuing a career in public service, contact Alexia McCaskill.

Bussian Fellowship

The Bussian Fellowship for International Law and Dispute Resolution is awarded annually to up to three Colorado Law students (including graduating 3Ls and LLM students) to enable them to pursue summer opportunities in the fields of international law and dispute resolution (including judicial settlement, arbitration, negotiation, mediation, conciliation, conflict resolution, and peace studies).  Fellowship amounts vary and are awarded through a competitive selection process based on academic achievement, demonstrated interest in the field, and financial need.

Students may use the funding for program costs, travel, and living expenses to pursue summer opportunities (including internships, externships, academic study abroad programs, and employment opportunities) in dispute resolution with a global, international, or foreign focus.  Fellows are required to submit a report detailing their summer experience by September 15.

The Bussian Fellowship is made possible by a generous gift from Colorado Law alumnus Robert Bussian.

Jonathan Boyd Chase Human Rights Fellowship

First and second-year law students can apply for the Jonathon Boyd Chase Human Rights Fellowship, established in 1988 in memory of former Colorado Law Professor.  Fellows will receive a stipend for the summer of 2014 for work in a public or private law office or program on a proposed project related to issues of human rights such as civil liberties, poverty, or discrimination.  The recipients are expected to work in a well-supervised legal environment on a project with specific goals that have the potential to improve the human or social condition.  The project should be likely to lead to a legal or social impact in the form of litigation, legislation, a published article, or change in the application of law. Strong preference will be given to students working in unpaid positions.  Students who are being compensated may also apply, but the amount of compensation must be disclosed in the application and will be considered by the Chase Fellowship Committee.  Chase Fellows must prepare a short (1-5 page) report of the project at the end of the summer.

Past Fellows have worked with The Children’s Legal Clinic on a project involving the appointment of guardians ad litem, Colorado Rural Legal Services on a project involving migrant agricultural workers, Planned Parenthood on a project involving harassment of care providers, the ACLU on a case involving the detention of juveniles in adult correctional facilities, the Texas Resource Center on death penalty cases, and with immigrants’ rights organizations.

Brownstein Public Interest Fellows Program

The Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck Summer Fellows Program will provide financial support to Colorado Law students who take unpaid or low-paying summer positions in the public sector.  Applications will be considered through the Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowship Program. 

Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowship

These fellowships provide funding for students working in public service, which we define broadly to include 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. There are many Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowships available to students who will continue to be Colorado Law students returning in the Fall. The work must be unpaid or extremely lowly paid. The student may not engage in the work for academic credit.

Environmental Law Society Fellowship

The Environmental Law Society Fellowship is awarded by Colorado Law to fund law student participation in low-paid or unpaid summer internships for non-profit groups, nongovernmental organizations, or government organizations on matters that relate to environmental and natural resources law and policy.

Harrison Fellowship

Each year, 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 and the Natural Resources Law Center 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 for $5,000. Students must pay living expenses and travel costs to and from the placement location out of this stipend. Please note: The destination country and project for this fellowship changes each year. For 2015, the Fellowship will fund work in Chile.  Spanish speaking skills are highly desired for the 2015 fellowship.  The remaining amount will be compensation to the Fellow.

Hatfield Scholars Award

The Dale Hatfield Scholars and Research Program, administered by the Silicon Flatirons Center, provides financial support up to $5,000 for student internships in governmental or public interest organizations involving technology issues. These internships typically pay little or nothing and this award can help pay summer expenses, such as travel, housing, etc.  Please note: Placement assistance is available for award recipients with interest in technology issues who do not yet have a summer position, but are resolved to work in public service.  This opportunity is open to Law and ITP students currently enrolled at the University of Colorado.

The 2014 Hatfield D.C. Scholars have already been selected for this year's summer fellowship program.  

Past Hatfield Scholar recipients have worked at the Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, Public Knowledge, and the National Emergency Numbers Association (NENA). This program was made possible by a number of generous contributions made to honor Dale Hatfield and his commitment to public service. If you have questions, contact Anna Noschese, Program Director, Silicon Flatirons Center at the University of Colorado Law School at Anna.Noschese@Colorado.EDU.

Richard R. Helmick Public Service Fellowship

This fellowship will provide financial support to Colorado Law students who take unpaid or low-paying summer positions in the public sector.  Applications will be considered through the Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowships.

Moran and Kleiman Public Service Fellowship

This fellowship is awarded to a student serving in the fields of social justice, civil rights or civil liberties.  The ideal candidate is someone interested in specifically working with an organization championing civil rights and civil liberties.  Applications will be considered through the Colorado Law Public Service Summer Fellowships.   

Patton Boggs Public Policy Fellowship

Using the attorney's fees earned from a successful pro bono case won by John Oberdorfer, Patton Boggs established the Patton Boggs Foundation to commemorate the retirement of founding partner James R. Patton, Jr.  The 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 exceptional law students who spend their summers working on public policy matters for either a non-profit institution or a government agency.  Positions may be domestic or international.

By making this Fellowship available, the Foundation embodies the firm's commitment to creating new and valuable opportunities in the public policy field for tomorrow's attorneys.  Former Colorado Law student recipients of the Fellowship have worked for organizations such as the Supreme Court of Ghana, the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, the DNA Justice Review Project (Denver, CO), the Center for International Environmental Law (Geneva, Switzerland), and the U.S. Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (Washington, D.C.).

PISA Public Interest Summer Fellowship

PISA awards fellowships to students performing unpaid or low paid legal work in the public interest.  Work in the public interest includes work for a non-profit, nongovernmental group, or government entity.  The PISA Selection Committee reserves the right to determine what work 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 the public defenders office, environmental non-profits, and civil rights groups.

All current Colorado Law 1Ls or 2Ls are eligible to apply.  The selection committee consists of former PISA board members and faculty.  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 fellowship.

Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship

The Sandgrund Environmental Law Fellowship is awarded by Colorado Law 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 Environmental Law Society Fellowship or the other public interest/service fellowships, Sandgrund Fellowship recipients must be placed in a bona fide environmental advocacy organization to qualify.  Working for the government or a group that supports the industry side of environmental issues are not eligible for this Fellowship.

Women's Law Caucus Public Interest Fellowship

The Women's Law Caucus will award up to two fellowships to students who will be performing unpaid or low-paid legal work that touches on women's issues.  The fellowship is open to any 1L or 2L student, regardless of gender.  The 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. Required minimum of 200 hours of unpaid or low paid work.