SCHOLARSHIP: Public Interest/Public Service (PIPS) Scholars Program (American U)

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Offline Anne

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For those of you interested in pursuing any form of public interest or public service law after law school, you should definitely take a look Washington College of Law's (American University's law school, located in D.C.). It's a three-year full-tuition scholarship aimed at eliminating law school debt loads for law students committed to working in the public sector.

Program Description (]ONLINE: [url][/url])

Washington College of Law created the Public Interest/Public Service Scholars (PIPS) Program in 2001 to provide financial and programmatic support to students with a clearly demonstrated commitment to public service, strong academic credentials, and an express desire to pursue a public interest or public service career upon graduation. Working closely with the Public Interest Coordinator, PIPS Scholars receive individualized academic and career counseling, faculty and other public interest mentoring as well as additional support to ensure their experience at WCL equips them to pursue rewarding and meaningful careers in non-profit organizations, the government, or private public interest law firms.

WCL is proud to provide these three-year, full tuition scholarships as part of its commitment to human dignity, community empowerment and global justice by investing in the next wave of public interest leadership. The scholarships are provided to allow scholars to concentrate on public interest commitments while in law school, and to have a stronger financial position from which to engage in a public interest career upon graduation.

Benefits & Responsibilities of Scholars

► Monthly Meetings: Scholars meet formally as a group on a monthly basis, as well as engaging in more informal social activities.

► Networking: Participants will also have many opportunities to develop relationships with other PIPS Scholars while at WCL, ultimately graduating into a global network of other like-minded lawyers whom they can call upon throughout their professional careers.

► Mentoring: Each scholar is assigned a faculty mentor and an upper-class PIPS Scholar mentor.

► Leadership: Each Scholar commits to giving back to the WCL community, organizing programs and public service events that help inspire their law student colleagues to participate in pro bono activities.

► Public Interest Roundtables: First year PIPS Scholars attend "Public Interest Roundtables" focusing on issues of public interest law as they relate to the first year curriculum or to the practice of law. The roundtables are organized by the second- and third-year PIPS Scholars and may involve discussion of professional or scholarly works in progress by faculty or student authors, as well as the work of local public interest practitioners.

► Public Service Day: In order to enhance the awareness and interest of the entire WCL community towards public service, during the spring semester and through the summer following the first year, Scholars will plan and organize a public service day for the incoming first-year class, to precede WCL's formal orientation program.

► Pro Bono: Scholars participate in WCL's Pro Bono Honors Pledge Program, which requires that 75 hours of pro bono and/or public interest work be completed by graduation.

► Service: Second and third year Scholars work with the Public Interest Coordinator to select two public service experiences that include representation and/or advocacy on behalf of under represented, low income, or otherwise disadvantaged individuals and/or communities.

► Writing: Scholars are required to produce a piece of written scholarship on a public interest issue, which may satisfy the upper level writing requirement if it meets the formal requisites.

► Post-Graduate Public Service Work: Scholars also agree to spend three of their first five years out of law school in full-time public interest or public service employment.

► Academic Standards: Scholars are expected to graduate with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0. Graduating with less than a 3.0 will not result in a scholar being required to re pay her/his award. However, egregious disregard for this expectation may result in loss of the scholarship.

Scholars will be expected to maintain matriculation at the Washington College of Law until graduation. Absent compelling circumstances, a scholar who chooses to withdraw or transfer from the law school will have the scholarship converted to a loan and be subject to repayment to the law school. As a condition of receiving the scholarship, incoming PI/PS scholars will be asked to sign a form indicating their understanding and acceptance of the foregoing terms and conditions of the award.

Application & Selection Process
Applications for the PIPS Scholarship are due January 29, 2010. The deadline was extended from the original date of January 15, 2010.
NOTE: This deadline is one month before the deadline for general admission. Both the scholarship application and the full general admissions application must be received by the January 29 deadline in order to be considered for the scholarship. The general admissions application may be submitted either electronically or via regular mail.

Applications are first reviewed by the general Admissions Committee. If an applicant is accepted into the full-time JD program, the application will then be forwarded to the PIPS Scholarship Selection Committee.

The Committee is made up of the Public Interest Coordinator, faculty members, and one or more third-year PIPS Scholars. The Committee looks for academically strong applicants whose backgrounds demonstrate a substantial commitment to public service and who have experience, characteristics, and credentials to become effective public interest and public service lawyers.

Although applications are reviewed on a rolling basis after the January 29 deadline, scholarship offers may not be finalized until early to mid-April.

Financial Aid Information
Scholarship recipients may apply for other restricted scholarships as well as federal and private loans to cover cost of living while in law school. Recipients are not eligible for need based grants offered by the law school.

For more information contact:
Jarrod L. Shirk, Esq.
Public Interest Coordinator
Office of Public Interest
Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Suite 122
Washington, DC 20016
Tel: 202-274-4099
Email: [email protected]
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