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Pro Bono Scholars Program

The summer after your 1L year, you’ll spend seven to eight weeks working at a public interest organization of your choice and four weeks working at the firm. Pro Bono Scholars make a two-year commitment and return as 2L summer associates, eliminating the need to participate in on-campus interviews. The application period for the 2021 program is closed.

In the Public Interest

Many Pro Bono Scholars identify their own public interest organizations, while others work with our Pro Bono Team to secure a placement. You’ll choose from a wide array of transactional and advocacy opportunities. Our single largest pro bono client is KIPP, a nationwide network of nonprofit charter schools for which we provide transaction counseling. We also represent other nonprofits and small businesses in the United States and around the world. Our Pro Bono Scholars have worked with nearly 40 public interest organizations since the program started in 2008.

At the Firm

During your first summer, you’ll receive pro bono assignments in a variety of subject areas and interact with lawyers during training sessions, lunches and networking events. Your four weeks at the firm include a multiday “boot camp” for Pro Bono Scholars, featuring off-site pro bono work, training sessions with public interest leaders and our pro bono team, and an introduction to our commercial practices.

During your second summer, you’ll be based at the firm and work on sophisticated pro bono matters in addition to commercial assignments. You’ll be eligible for consideration to join the firm as an associate once you graduate.

We expect that Pro Bono Scholars who join the firm as lawyers will become leaders in our pro bono practice while maintaining a full commercial workload. Former Pro Bono Scholars have spearheaded many challenging pro bono matters, from helping a charter school, to litigating on behalf of Washington, D.C.’s taxi drivers over unfair regulations.


You will be paid the summer associate salary while employed by the firm and receive a stipend totaling $22,000 for your time at a public interest organization. The first half of the stipend ($11,000) is paid when you start work at a public interest organization. The second half is paid when you honor your commitment to return as a summer associate after your 2L year.

“In my opinion, the ideal first summer job. It’s the best of both worlds—big law and public interest for your first summer.” — 2019 Pro Bono Scholar

Applications to Akin Gump 1L Scholar Programs

Applications to the Scholars Programs opens on December 14, 2020. You may apply to all three programs, but only to one office. If you are unsure about which office to choose, please contact our recruiting teams for additional guidance. Please submit your application according to the timing guidelines set by your school.

Offers will not be extended to candidates before the firm has received an applicant’s transcript.

Your complete application will include a resume, law school transcript (an uncertified copy is acceptable) and legal writing sample. You may supplement your application with your transcript once it is provided by your school. In addition, each candidate must submit a short statement of no more than 500 words using the prompts below.

To be considered for the Pro Bono Scholars Program, please describe how a commitment to pro bono practice at Akin Gump, and the experience of being a Pro Bono Scholar, will help you meet your career goals.

To be considered for the Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholarship Program, please describe your commitment to diversity and inclusion, your academic and leadership achievements, why you believe that diversity and inclusion are important in the legal profession, and how being a Strauss Diversity & Inclusion Scholar will help you meet your career goals.

To be considered for the Financial Restructuring Diversity & Inclusion Scholars Program, please describe your interest in financial restructuring work, your commitment to diversity and inclusion, as well as your academic and leadership achievements.

To be considered for all Scholar Programs, you must submit an individual statement for each program with your application.


Applicants must be enrolled and in good standing at an ABA accredited law school, and have an anticipated graduation date of 2023.


If you have questions about our 1L Summer Opportunities, please review our FAQs, or contact our recruiting teams.