Public Interest Scholarships (JD students)

The Boston University School of Law Public Interest Scholarship program provides scholarships from $40,ooo to full-tuition for all three years to a number of our students who have demonstrated their desire to pursue a career in public interest law.

The definition of public interest law is broad and includes both domestic and international work; direct service, impact litigation, and policy work; and government and non-profit work. Recent public interest scholars have come to BU Law with career goals in international human rights, immigration law, public health, judicial clerkships, public defense, prosecution, government at all levels, housing policy, environmental policy, and criminal justice reform.

Applicants who wish to be considered for the Public Interest Scholarship must submit an additional essay with their applications for admission. Applications must be submitted by January 5. Scholarship offers may be made on a rolling basis.

In addition to the Public Interest Scholarship, recipients are granted a stipend of up to $5,625 for their 1L and 2L summers to pursue unpaid public interest internships, as well as career guidance and faculty mentoring.

Public Interest Scholarship recipients are expected to fulfill the following requirements:

  • Complete the Pro Bono Program pledge. This requires volunteering a minimum of 50 hours unpaid work of meaningful law-related service to persons of limited means or to organizations that serve such persons or to other organizations dedicated to under-represented groups and/or social issues during their three years in law school.
  • Engage in further public service activities; such as, but not limited to, participation in a clinical program.
  • Work with the Career Development and Public Service Office and the Admissions Office to build the BU Law public interest community, including, but not limited to, the recruitment of future Public Interest Scholars.
  • Mentor first year public interest scholars. Second and third year Public Interest Scholars will be matched with first year scholars for the purpose of mentoring and support, and acclimation to the BU Law public interest community.
  • Should the scholarship recipient choose to pursue a career which is not focused on public service, he or she has a moral obligation to repay the amount of the scholarship.

How to Apply

  • Attach an essay (two page maximum) to your application for admission describing your public interest career goals and focus. This essay must be in addition to your personal statement.

The selection committee aims to award the scholarship to applicants who will become leaders in the BU Law Public Interest community and who will follow through on a plan to pursue public interest career paths. This commitment can be demonstrated through prior public service work experience (not necessarily legal in nature), engagement in public service during your undergraduate education, and post-graduate service and volunteer work. Successful applicants demonstrate an understanding of the rewards and challenges of a public interest legal career.

The selection committee will have access to your application for admission, so you should use the scholarship essay as an opportunity to provide additional evidence of your commitment to public service. Your essay should help us to understand how your past experience has informed your commitment to a public interest career and how this will contribute to your potential as a public interest leader at BU Law and in the legal profession.