Service to the community is the foundation upon which Temple University was built. The Temple University Beasley School of Law is proud to continue this tradition by providing a place where public interest law is promoted, celebrated, and created. The tradition is evidenced by the fact that Temple Law graduates hold many positions throughout the public interest community not only in Philadelphia, but across the country and around the world.
Temple stands for the ideal that all lawyers share the responsibility of equal access to justice and we seek to instill that sense of responsibility in each of our students. We strive to build a community committed to public interest law and pro bono service. Each year, we select a new group of entering students to help us lead this community. The Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellows are outstanding students who demonstrate a commitment to serving the public interest, exhibit leadership qualities, and intend to pursue a career in public interest law.
Thanks to a generous gift from Leonard Rubin ’49, a graduate of the Law School, Temple launched the Rubin Program for public interest scholars in 2000 to encourage and develop students to pursue careers in public interest law. In 2006, the program was renamed in honor of Stefan Presser, a noted public interest attorney who was one of the creators of the program and a respected member of Temple’s adjunct faculty.
Under the supervision of a faculty director and with assistance from the Director of Public Interest Programs, each Rubin-Presser Fellow will be matched with a faculty mentor who has expertise in an area of public interest law matching the student’s area of interest. The Temple faculty is an outstanding group of teachers and scholars whose areas of interest include environmental law, gun control, consumer protection, immigration, education law, international human rights, civil poverty law, employment discrimination, domestic violence, and death penalty litigation.
Each Fellow will work with the faculty mentor and the Director of Public Interest Programs to develop an individualized program of academic work, hands-on legal experience, and extra-curricular activities in the Fellow’s area of interest. Fellows will be expected to complete at least one upper-level writing course and one upper-level skills course on topics that contribute to their development as public interest lawyers. This academic work will be complemented by participation in and leadership of extracurricular activities through the many student organizations at the Law School. Fellows will be asked to contribute to the law school community through a unique individual project, which may be a presentation of the student’s academic work, the creation of a new service opportunity, or another initiative approved by the faculty mentor and the Director of Public Interest Programs.
In addition to faculty support, Fellows will be matched with a practicing attorney in the vibrant Philadelphia public interest community. Attorney-mentors will be available for advice and guidance on public interest practice throughout the Fellow’s time at the Law School. First-year Fellows will also work with an upper-level student mentor who will help acclimate them to the Fellowship Program, the public interest community, and the Law School.
With the help of faculty, student and attorney mentors, Fellows will develop the skills they need to pursue their public interest career goals. They will also seek to foster a spirit of service within the Law School community and to lead their fellow students in pursuing opportunities to serve.
Fellows will be expected to secure at least one summer internship in a public interest setting, and will be assisted in their efforts by the Law School’s Office of Public Interest Programs. Summer work study matching funds will be provided by the Law School for Fellows who qualify for work study funding, allowing Fellows to earn up to $4000 each summer. In any summer in which they are pursuing a public interest internship, Fellows will be given an additional $1000 stipend.
The Director of Public Interest Programs will also offer comprehensive public interest and public sector career counseling to Fellows, including advice and assistance with resumes and cover letters, job and post-graduate fellowship opportunities and applications, career fairs, networking, and general long-term public interest career planning strategy.
Fellowship applicants will be eligible for scholarship funding and will be evaluated based on their applications, as well as any previously awarded scholarships.
One of the Program’s many goals is to offset the cost of obtaining a law degree for future public interest lawyers. It is expected that Fellows will hold a public interest job for the first three years after graduation. Fellows who enter a career other than public interest during the first three years out of law school incur a moral obligation to repay all or a portion of the funding received from the Program. This repayment will take the form of a donation to the Program fund, so that the Program can continue for other students interested in pursuing public interest law.
The Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellowship Program is highly selective and seeks law students of exceptional ability. Only entering first-year day and evening students may apply.
Admitted students who are interested in the Program will be asked to submit an application, which will include a personal statement describing the student’s public interest career goals, demonstrated commitment to service, and leadership ability. The student will also be asked to provide a current resume and a record of past public interest activities and work.
A committee will review all applications and name the Rubin-Presser Social Justice Fellows. Interviews may be requested by the committee.
Application deadline for the Fall 2016 entering class – April 1, 2016
For information about the application process please contact: Johanne Johnston, Assistant Dean for Admissions & Financial Aid, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-204-3659.
For information on the Social Justice Fellows Program and public interest activities at the law school, please contact Lisa Hurlbutt, Director of Public Interest Programs, at email@example.com or 215-204-3705.