GSF Funding 101: Summer 2017
“I got to work on issues I care about. I really got to dive deep into the legal side of civil rights work, and I feel strongly that my work this summer will support the rights of New Yorkers.” — 2016 GSF Intern
Columbia Law School funds first and second year J.D. students, who meet the requirements of the Guaranteed Summer Funding (“GSF”) program, to work full-time in unpaid, public service internships over the summer. Students must adhere to all of the deadlines and meet the requirements of the GSF program in order to receive funding.
GSF recipients must work full-time (35 hours per week) over the summer. 1Ls receive funding for 8 weeks of work and 2Ls receive funding for 10 weeks of work. Typical summer internships run from late May or early June through the second week of August. Student who does not work the entire 8 or 10 weeks, will only receive a pro-rated share of the funding based on the amount of weeks worked. If a student stays beyond the 8 or 10 week period, the student can receive pro bono credit.
Please see the FAQ in the GSF Guide (located on the Lawnet-protected SJI Guides page) for more information about pro bono credit.
Important: Because Federal regulations require that summer FWS funds be included as part of a student’s academic year resources, your summer FWS allocation will be reflected in your award package for the academic year. As such, your summer FWS earnings will reduce your eligibility for educational student loans by the same amount. In certain cases students may be able to adjust their academic year budget to allow for additional borrowing to offset the FWS earnings. If you are concerned about being able to meet your student budget and think you may need to increase your borrowing, please review this Financial Aid letter for additional information and contact the Office of Financial Aid with questions.
Funding in Detail
First-year students can receive $4,500* for eight weeks of work in an unpaid public service summer internship, in the United States or abroad, without regard to financial need. Second-year students can receive $6,000 for 10 weeks of work in an unpaid public service summer internship, in the United States or abroad, without regard to financial need. All students who register on LawNet by November 30th, 2016 and meet all program requirements will be eligible for the funding.
Earning More Money and How the Funding Cap Works
Fellowships and other summer funding from some employers, foundations, and other sources is available to students doing public interest work during their summers. Outside funding awarded to students will impact a student’s GSF in the following ways:
- 1L students receiving outside funding less than $4,500* will be supplemented by SJI up to a total summer stipend of $5,340, but not exceeding this amount.
- 2L students receiving outside funding less than $6,000* will be supplemented by SJI up to a total summer stipend of $7,500, but not exceeding this amount.
- Receiving funding from an outside source greater than $4,500* for 1Ls and greater than $6,000* for 2Ls will void a student’s Guaranteed Summer Funding.
- If your public interest employer will pay you an amount less than $4,500* or $6,000* you must accept it. SJI will supplement your funding such that you receive the maximum allowed earnings for the summer.
Examples of the Funding Cap in Action:
- A 1L has secured an 8 week summer position at a public interest organization. She applied for and was awarded a $3,000 fellowship from Equal Justice America, an external funding source. This student can receive $2,340 in Guaranteed Summer Funding, up to the cap of $5,340.
- A 1L has secured an 8 week summer position at a government organization. He will be paid $500 a week for 8 weeks by his employer. This student can receive $1,340 in Guaranteed Summer Funding, up to the cap of $5,340.
- A 2L has secured a 10 week position at a public interest organization. She has been awarded $2,800 from the Ms. JD Summer Public Interest Scholarship fund. This student can receive up to $4,700 in Guaranteed Summer Funding, for a combined total of $7,500.
Below are summer fellowship opportunities that are available exclusively to Columbia Law Students (please check back soon for 2016-2017 deadlines):
Center for Japanese Legal Studies Public Interest Fellowship (1Ls & 2Ls)
The Center for Japanese Legal Studies Public Interest Fellowship is open to first- and second-year law students who demonstrate an interest in public interest law and working in Japan for the summer. Up to two fellowships are available and each will provide a stipend of $10,000 to cover airfare, living, and other expenses for the summer.
John R. Oldham Fellowship (1Ls & 2Ls)
This fellowship is administered through the Center for Chinese Legal Studies and is available to first- and second-year law students to support summer public interest (including government) work or academic research in greater China. Applications should include a resume, transcripts, a two-page summary of the proposed project, an estimated budget, and whether funding also will be received from another source (such as WEAI). Questions about your project may be addressed to Paulette Roberts (email@example.com) or you may stop by her office at JG 652 to discuss. Applications must be submitted by March 16th, 2017 to Paulette Roberts (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Venable, LLP (1Ls)
The Venable Fellowship offers a stipend to a first year Columbia Law School student in the J.D. program who demonstrates a commitment to public interest and who is registered in the GSF program. The fellowship will provide a stipend of $10,000 for ten weeks of work in an unpaid, public interest summer internship in the United States. SJI will distribute the application in the Spring. To find out more about the Venable firm, visit www.venable.com
Other Funding Opportunity
Neufeld, Scheck & Brustin Summer Fellowship (2Ls & 3Ls)
A small civil-rights law firm in NYC that seeks to effect systemic change in policing around the country through two areas of official misconduct: wrongful convictions (on behalf of DNA exonerees) and police brutality. The NSB fellowship provides a unique opportunity to explore the intersection of criminal and civil-rights law at every stage of litigation. 2L funding will be matched and 3Ls will be paid on an hourly basis. Hiring will be on a rolling basis. To apply, please e-mail your resume, a cover letter and a writing sample to Debi Cornwall at email@example.com.
Split Summer Opportunities
Students will not receive funding when they split a summer within the GSF period. In some instances, it is possible to split a summer between two public interest organizations and retain funding. Before accepting split employment, students must first get approval from Cat Kirchhoff, Assistant Director of Summer Programs.
For More Information
For important additional information about Guaranteed Summer Funding, refer to the Guaranteed Summer Funding Handbook (located on the Lawnet-protected SJI Guides page) or the GSF FAQs page.