Public interest summer work
A commitment to the public interest work—pro bono publico—is embedded in the culture and curriculum at Western New England University School of Law. Each year a cohort of our students apply to do summer public interest work, gaining practical experience to enhance their skill-set and bring real change to the community in areas that matter most to them. Since 2009, we have funded students across 15 states to work in areas as varied as anti-discrimination law; civil liberties; gay, lesbian, and transgender rights in the workplace; poverty law; critical race theory; environmental law; and health care policy.
Our students are passionate about serving the community and every year qualified students are accepted into this program to work at otherwise unpaid summer internships with government agencies and 501(c)(3) organizations. These full-time summer work opportunities are invaluable, but unpaid; without support, many of these talented students simply would not be able to do this important work.
The School of Law funds the "employer's share" or 25% of the total costs for the program, which total $45,000 annually. These $3,000 Federal Work Study awards help students cover expenses over the summer. With your help, our goal is to raise $14,000 to contribute towards the Western New England University School of Law students in otherwise unpaid public interest internships during Summer 2020.
Summer internships provide students with practical legal training, oftentimes resulting in job placement after graduation. Just consider the story of one of our recent funding recipients, Tara Morrison (Class of 2020):
Tara came to law school with a passion for assisting children and breaking the school-to-prison pipeline. Tara received summer Federal Work Study funds and was able to intern at the Committee on Public Counsel Services’ Youth Advocacy Division in Springfield, Massachusetts. "My internship was a great foray into representing kids and to be exposed to the Juvenile Court, which is otherwise closed to the public."
Tara made professional connections with other attorneys through the program and has accepted a position at Foster & Blanchette in Holyoke, Massachusetts upon graduation in May. "I'm so grateful for this program’s support. It was a personal validation and so uplifting to join the profession and do some good. Now I can work for kids and advocate in their corner. It's the work I came to law school to do."
Help us succeed!
Here's how you can help us reach our goal and leave a lasting impact on fellow law students:
- Be a champion of philanthropy by making a gift here online or by mailing a check. Be sure to note "Law Public Interest Summer Work" on the memo line.
- Promote this project through your personal and professional networks to encourage even more support and participation. The more people who know about it, the more likely we are to reach our goal.
- Share your own Western New England University School of Law experience. Did you participate in a public interest experience? How did it shape your career? Let us know via email (firstname.lastname@example.org), social media (Facebook: @WNEUSchooloflawalumni or Instagram: @wnelawalumni), or phone (413-796-2240)!
Thank you for supporting our students!