At Boston University School of Law, students are introduced to
public service work from the very start. The day before
orientation, students this year worked on projects that ranged from
serving lunch at Rosie's Place to clearing the banks of the Charles
River. The message is reinforced at the school's annual Public
Interest Orientation that public service is part of the
responsibility of being an attorney.
B.U. Law Dean Maureen A. O'Rourke created a Public Service
Committee comprising faculty, administrators and students to advise
on public service issues, and last year, National Jurist
Magazine named B.U. Law one of the top four law schools in the
country for its support of public service.
Clinical programs are available that work with Greater Boston
Legal Services and the New England Innocence Project, and this
year, spring break pro bono trips were organized for Newark, New
Orleans, Detroit, Harlingen, Texas and Kansas City, as well as
B.U. Law also offers an Externship Program and a
Semester-In-Practice program that allow students to work in courts,
federal and state government agencies and nonprofit organizations
across the country, and even overseas.
The school doesn't just encourage public service, it makes it more
financially manageable. Since 1988, B.U. Law has supported alumni
in the public service field by easing the burden of monthly loan
repayments. Assistance has been available in the form of a
forgivable loan since October 2010, and alumni can apply for the
program for up to 10 years after graduation.
O'Rourke also set up the Dean's Public Interest Scholarship
Program, which awards approximately six first-year law students up
to $30,000 per year. There are currently 12 2L and 3L students
receiving these scholarships, with plans to award another six to
the next 1L class.
Concerns about the economy and the availability of entry-level
public interest and government jobs has led to the awarding of 10
public service fellowships for the Class of 2011. Recipients are
awarded $40,000 each for 10 months of full-time work in five
different states and Ecuador.