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March 11, 2022

Dear Members of the HLS Community,

We write today to share news that Harvard Law School is making a substantial additional investment in students who choose to pursue summer public interest employment. More than 25 years ago, Harvard Law School established the Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF) program – the first of its kind – to make it possible for students to pursue unpaid summer public interest jobs, and we are pleased to continue to build on this decades-long commitment.

Beginning this summer, students who receive financial aid will have the opportunity to earn up to $9,000 over twelve weeks – a substantial increase over the grant available under the previous program. The grant for students who choose to pursue summer public interest work but do not qualify for financial aid will increase to $4,200. With these changes, the SPIF program will become the most expansive program of its kind and will benefit annually more than 475 students and the organizations they will serve each summer.

Our profession’s commitment to serving those most in need is fundamental to the work we do, and we hope that the availability of this funding will encourage many of you to explore the opportunities available for public service. Those who pursue such paths not only gain hands-on legal experience and a better understanding of their career goals but also contribute to the greater good. For those pursuing public service, this flexibility of career choice continues after graduation through our Low-Income Protection Plan (LIPP), which enables alumni to pursue enriching public interest careers by helping to repay a significant portion of their loans. Our Public Service Venture Fund, which is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, also supports HLS graduates through seed grants and fellowship awards helping them to found or join public service organizations.

The SPIF program, along with many others, aims to deepen accessibility and to enable you to pursue the professional path that fulfills your highest aspirations. To that end, we continue advancing our ongoing efforts to find new ways to support our students and to expand grant aid more broadly.

We want to thank the Student Financial Services Committee for its ongoing work and all who have contributed their time and thoughtful input to the process over the past year. For those interested, you may find more information about SPIF, including how to apply for funding, by clicking here.


John Manning
Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law

Natasha Onken
Assistant Dean for Student Financial Services

Catherine Pattanayak
Assistant Dean for Public Service
Director of the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising

Jessica Soban
Dean for Student Services