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Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program

Established in 1997 through the generous support of the Honorable Robert and Helen Black, the Honorable S. Arthur and Louise Spiegel, and Tom and Amanda White, the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program (SPIF) provides Cincinnati Law students with funds to work at unpaid public interest law positions. Typically, public interest law agencies and government offfices are unable to pay legal interns. Law students who chose this route must identify alternative funding for these opportunities.

Since its inception, the SPIF Program has been enhanced by the annual contributions of Cincinnati Law students, faculty, and administration through the Race Judicata 5K Run/Walk, Spirit of the Law Silent Art Auction and Winetasting, and Partnership for Public Service (PPS) fundraisers, as well as friends of the College who support the efforts of the Public Interest Law Group.

To obtain a Fellowship grant, students must obtain unpaid positions and prepare a detailed proposal and budget for their summer opportunity. An Award Committee designates the accepted proposals and amounts provided. If accepted, students are paid a modest stipend that, if eligible, can be leveraged successfully with summer college work study funds. To date, the Endowed Program has distributed close to $250,000.00 in Fellowship grants. Combined with Federal Work Study money, the SPIF program is responsible for coordinating over $500,000.00 in summer fellowship funds.

This past summer, over 90 Cincinnati Law students took advantage of the SPIF Program, working in local, regional, national and international public interest law positions.

Since 1997, SPIF funds have helped over 300 Cincinnati Law students gain valuable practice experience working with public interest agencies and organizations like these:

  • ABA Judicial Clerkship Program
  • Appalachian Center for the Economy & Environment
  • Brooklyn District Attorney
  • Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms
  • Butler County Common Pleas Court
  • Butler County Prosecutor
  • California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation
  • Children's Defense Fund
  • Children's Law Center
  • Cincinnati City Council
  • Cincinnati City Solicitor
  • Cincinnati Public Schools
  • Citizens Advocacy Center
  • City of Cincinnati Prosecutor
  • Clermont County Prosecutor
  • Clermont County Public Defender
  • Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • Evanston Community Defender
  • Federal Public Defender: Southern District of Ohio
  • Federal Trade Commission
  • Hamilton (City of) Prosecutor
  • Hamilton County Public Defender
  • Hennepin County Attorney
  • Housing Opportunities Made Equal (HOME)
  • Illinois Migrant Legal Assistance Project
  • Legal Aid of Western Missouri
  • Legal Aid Society of Cincinnati
  • Legal Aid Society of Northern Kentucky
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Labor Relations Board
  • Netherlands Institute for Human Rights
  • New York City Legal Aid Society-Juvenile Division
  • Northwest Immigrants Rights Project
  • Ohio Bar Association
  • Ohio Criminal Justice Program
  • Prisoner's Reform Advocacy Center
  • ProKids
  • ProSeniors
  • San Diego City Attorney
  • San Francisco Public Defender
  • San Francisco Public Defender
  • Twelfth District Court of Appeals
  • UNESCO (United Nations)
  • US Attorney, District of Montana
  • US Attorney, Southern District of California
  • US Attorney, Southern District of Ohio
  • US EEOC District Office
  • US International Council on Disability
  • Warren County Prosecutor
  • Women Helping Women

If you’d like more information about the Summer Public Interest Fellowship fund, please contact Diane Cross, Public Service Coordinator at: diane.cross@uc.edu, or 556-0058.