Stanford Law School to Receive Ford Foundation Grant to Fund Inaugural Public Interest Fellowship Program

Selected students will receive $15,000 for their summer public interest law work

STANFORD, Calif., September 13, 2012—Stanford Law School today announced that the Ford Foundation has committed to fund a new initiative administered by the John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law that will enable 25 Stanford Law School students to work in the field of public interest law next summer (2013). Stanford Law School is one of four law schools to receive part of the total $1.7 million grant; the other recipients are the law schools at Harvard University, New York University, and Yale University.

The Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship Program is a new program under the foundation’s Social Justice Fellowships Initiative. This new grant from Ford will support ten-week summer fellowships that are focused on international as well as domestic public interest practice­­­. The fellowships are open to first-and second-year law students. Those selected will each receive $15,000 over the summer, giving them the opportunity to have substantive and transformative experiences as interns in the field of public interest law, working with the foundation’s grantee organizations that improve the lives of others through legal analysis, litigation and public policy advocacy.

“For over forty years, the Ford Foundation has been a leader in making sure lawyers can pursue public service,” said Stanford Law School Dean M. Elizabeth Magill. “This is an impressive new investment by the Foundation. Recipients will benefit from incredibly generous support, develop a deeper understanding of global and domestic issues, and become the leading edge of the new generation of lawyers devoted to advancing the public good through law.”

Ford Fellows will also participate in a program throughout the summer that will help them develop leadership skills in the field. Information gathered from the fellows each year will inform the program’s potential development and growth.

“This program opens up a new pathway for law students to gain practical and transformative experience working on many of the defining social justice issues of our age,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “We believe it will offer them invaluable knowledge and understanding that will inform their careers whether public or private, while bringing fresh talent to organizations working to advance fairness and freedom.”

“The Ford Foundation is taking an important step forward in its commitment to fund progressive lawyering through these new fellowships,” said Diane T. Chin, associate dean for public service and public interest law, who oversees the Levin Center. “I’m confident our students will develop a deeper understanding of global and domestic issues by becoming a part of what undoubtedly will be an impressive cohort of 100 fellows around the world. That Ford is also investing in their development as leaders is truly significant.”

The John and Terry Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law is the hub of the public interest community at Stanford Law School, providing programming and support for students and alumni pursuing public interest, government, and pro bono opportunities in school and after graduation. It also studies the development of the field, and through research as well as technical assistance, conferences, and symposia supports nonprofit legal services providers and advocacy groups.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.