Supporting Your Public Interest Goals
The Edward V. Sparer Public Interest Law Fellowship Program: Fellows are placed in summer externships at leading public interest organizations, in the U.S. and abroad, providing legal services to underrepresented constituencies. The fellows are mentored by members of the Sparer Faculty Committee as well as alumni fellows, creating a close-knit community of like-minded individuals. The Program also holds monthly luncheons on timely topics and sponsors an annual forum or symposium on critical issues in public interest law.
The Brooklyn Law Students for the Public Interest (BLSPI) is a highly active student organization committed to raising awareness on public interest issues. BLSPI runs a very successful annual auction to raise funds for student fellowships at organizations such as Amnesty International, the Legal Aid Society, and the Urban Justice Center.
Our new international public service fellowships have broadened the possibilities for students interested in working on social justice beyond domestic borders. The International Human Rights Fellowship and the International Law Society Global Justice Fellowship have taken students to Switzerland to address bio-weapons prevention; to Cambodia on accountability for Khmer Rouge atrocities; and to South Africa to help asylum seekers and refugees.
BLS provides public service grants to every student who wishes to work during the summer at a government agency, public interest or non-profit organization. Last year, approximately 400 students were able to take advantage of these opportunities even though many employers often do not have the budget to pay law students. All students are eligible to apply for a grant.
The BLS Loan Repayment Assistance Program, developed in 1990, has provided more than $2.4 million in loan forgiveness to support graduates who choose to work in public interest organizations. Additionally, graduates who continue to work in public service for a period of ten years, and who make monthly payments on a consolidated loan with the federal Direct Loan Program, benefit from the new College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (CCRAA) and can have their loans forgiven.