After completing their first year of law school, JD students are encouraged to gain legal experience through internships in nonprofit and goverment legal offices. Several public interest internships are available for SMU law students only and the links below describe the opportunties and application deadlines. A number of national non-profit organizations also offer Public Interest internships as do many government agencies. To find government opportunities, the law school subscribes to one of the Government Honors & Internship Handbook, a comprehensive resource which contains an extensive list of continually updated government internships in the United States.
Post-Graduate Public Interest FellowshipsBecause job opportunities in public interest organizations are so limited, one of the best ways to establish a public interest law career is to participate in a post-graduate fellowship. Fellowships are short-term funded positions (typically 1-2 years) that are sponsored by a specific organization seeking to expand leadership in its particular area of law and allows fellows to assist underrepresented populations and/or address specific issues in a given community. These can be highly competitive and allow new attorneys to assume significant responsibility and gain valuable skills than would be possible in other types of legal work.
There are many different fellowship opportunities and each with a specific application timeline.