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Terms & conditions

I. Public Interest Obligation

A. A student accepted into the Public Interest Law Fellowship (“PILF”) Program (“Recipient”) receives a waiver of half tuition/academic fees for as long as the student remains a Public Interest Law Fellow at the University of Massachusetts School of Law-Dartmouth (“UMass Law”). Public Interest Law Fellows may also qualify for additional scholarship funding, up to full coverage of tuition/academic fees.

B. Recipients agree to use this scholarship to pursue a career in public interest law. Specifically, the Recipient will work full-time as an attorney in a paid public interest law position that has been approved by UMass Law prior to commencement of employment, for four years following admission to the bar. However, any full-time public interest law employment that occurs between the times of sitting for the bar exam that immediately follows graduation and the date of the admission to the bar may be applied towards the four-year employment commitment, with prior approval of the PILF Oversight Committee. Full-time employment in a public interest law position is to begin within six months following admission to the bar, but extensions may be requested from the PILF Oversight Committee.

C. Public interest law employment for the purposes of the PILF Program includes:

  1. Any position as an attorney in which one’s primary employer is a government agency including federal, state, or local government
  2. Any position as an attorney in which one’s primary employer is a 501-c-3 not-for-profit organization engaged in public service, including but not limited to the representation of persons with low income or without equal access to the justice system
  3. A position as a private attorney, including self-employment, whose primary billable hours, defined as more than 50%, are devoted to providing legal services on a no-fee, reduced fee, or court-awarded fee basis to persons or organizations that would otherwise not be able to obtain comparable services and or be adequately represented
  4. A position as an attorney in which one’s primary employer is a legal clinic attached to a law school that provides legal advocacy on behalf of persons or organizations that would otherwise not be able to obtain comparable services and/or be adequately represented
  5. A position as a Judicial Law Clerk
  6. Other positions may be considered for eligibility by submitting a written request to the PILF Oversight Committee

D. Recipients who commence public interest law employment in an approved position but then work less than four years in it or another approved position are in breach of the UMass Law PILF Program Terms and Conditions.

II. Student Obligations

A. Recipients must be enrolled in good standing in the UMass Law on at least a part-time basis in order to retain the PILF. “Good Standing” shall include, but not be limited to, acceptable academic standing and lack of disciplinary actions as defined by the UMass Law Student Handbook policies and procedures. However, a student who does not meet these criteria shall have a one-semester grace period to return to good standing without penalty. Students who do not return to good standing after the one-semester grace period will be dismissed from the PILF Program. Dismissed students may submit an appeal to the PILF Oversight Committee within ten days of notification of dismissal.

B. Recipients are required to participate in programs that will expose them to various public interest law topics sponsored by the Career Services Office as well as any public interest programs conducted at UMass Law. The Director of Legal Career Services and the Director of the PILF Program have promulgated the following rules and attendance requirements.

Each semester numerous events will be offered by the law school that will be deemed qualifying events for the PILF recipients. The following attendance minima are mandatory:

Full Time Students — 8 events per semester
Part Time Students — 4 events per semester

Failure to participate will result in dismissal from the program and loss of the benefits of the PILF.

C. Recipients are required to perform PILF public service hours as defined below. The following requirements must be met on a yearly basis.

Full Time Students:

1st year-- not less than 50 hours by August 1st
2nd year-- not less than 75 hours by August 1st
3rd year-- remaining balance of hours by the end of the third month of student’s last semester of law school
Total - not less than 200 hours to be completed

Part Time Students:

1st year-- not less than 25 hours by August 1st
2nd year-- not less than 50 hours by August 1st
3rd year-- not less than 50 hours by August 1st
4th year-- remaining balance of hours by the end of the third month of student’s last semester of law school
Total - not less than 200 hours to be completed

A placement will satisfy the PILF public service hours requirement if it meets the following criteria:

  1. The student volunteers either at a nonprofit charitable, civic, community, governmental, or educational organization, or at the same placement at which the student has already obtained approval to earn hours that count toward satisfying the Pro Bono Program;
  2. The student receives neither credit nor compensation for these hours; and 3. The student’s placement is pre-approved by the Director of the PILF Program.

Failure to participate will result in dismissal from the program and loss of the benefits of the PILF.

Note: PILF public service hours do not count towards satisfaction of the ProBono Program graduation requirement.

D. Recipients are required to enroll and participate in a field placement course in a public interest law placement or in a legal clinic for at least one semester (3 credits). Failure to participate will result in dismissal from the program and loss of the benefits of the PILF. Additionally, recipients are encouraged to receive certification under state student practice rules, e.g., MA S.J.C. Rule 3:03 and RI Rule 9.

E. Recipients are required to submit to the Career Services Office annually, by August 1st, an updated resume and a list of activities and summer work (paid and volunteer) that demonstrate the recipient’s continued commitment to public interest and public service law. Recipients must also participate in evaluation of the PILF Program. Additionally, recipients shall be required to meet, on an annual basis, with either the Career Services Office or the Director of the PILF Program to discuss career planning ideas and opportunities.

Failure to participate will result in dismissal from the program and loss of the benefits of the PILF.

F. Recipients are required to participate in an exit interview with a minimum of three members of the PILF Oversight Committee which consists of the Dean or Dean’s designee, Associate Dean of Admissions, Associate Director of Financial Aid, Director of Legal Career Services, Director of the PILF Program, and Administrative & Fiscal Services personnel.

G. A Recipient who leaves the PILF Program or ceases to be enrolled in UMass Law will no longer receive the benefits of the PILF. Such a student will not have an obligation to recompense the law school for the benefits received.

III. Post-Graduation Obligations

A. The Recipient undertakes a moral commitment to work after graduation full-time as an attorney in a paid public interest law position that has been approved by the UMass Law prior to commencement of employment, for four years following admission to the bar, per the stipulations of Section I above.

B.The Recipient will be required to submit a Certification of Employment to the PILF Oversight Committee yearly until their four year obligation is completed. 

 

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