The Inaugural Class Gift: A Public Interest Fellowship for the Class of 2013

by ursavoice

    As a matter of tradition, law school classes typically give back to their law school.  The Class of 2012 decided to honor this tradition by establishing and funding the UCI Law School Inaugural Class Fellowship.  The Fellowship’s mission is to establish a tradition of public interest work at UCI Law by assisting one member of the Class of 2013 in developing a strong foundation for a career in public interest law.  While every graduating class will determine the nature of its Class Gift, we hope that this Fellowship inspires a long lasting UCI Law tradition of students and alumni funding public interest work. 

    We modeled the Fellowship on other leading public interest fellowships, such as Equal Justice Works and Skadden.  The Fellowship amount will be commensurate with these leading public interest opportunities.  Applicants are required to find a host organization and to propose a project that provides legal services to an otherwise underserved community.  Our definition of public interest is broad, and generally includes government and academic work, as well as work for nonprofit organizations.  Following in UCI’s innovative mission, we also hope applicants will seek to challenge existing norms and/or practices in the legal profession.  We will release the detailed criteria for the Fellowship over the summer. 

    We are very grateful for all that UCI Law and the broader legal community have provided to us, and for what the latter has provided to the law school. We are honored to be able to pay it forward by helping a fellow UCI Law graduate to launch a career in public interest, an area of law that is notably difficult to enter. 

    Most importantly, public interest work is at the core of UCI Law’s mission.  Whatever our career paths may be, performing community service in the form of legal public interest work is one reason why many of us came to UCI Law, and that motivation will continue to unite us in the future.  

Our Best Regards,

Class of 2012 Class Gift Committee

(Denny Chan, Chris Dalbey, Sam Lam, Jean Su, Christina Zabat-Fran)