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Do you want to make pro bono work an integral part of your practice? The Akin Gump Pro Bono Scholars Program may be for you. This unique two-summer program is offered in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C.
Pro Bono Scholars make a two-year commitment to the firm. In your 1L summer you’ll spend at least seven weeks at a public interest organization of your choosing. You can apply to a public interest organization during the selection process, or work with our pro bono practice to identify and secure a placement after you are selected.
Pro Bono Scholars 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 transactional counseling. We also represent other nonprofits and small businesses in the United States and around the world. For instance, we work with the Grassroots Business Fund, which helps incubate, build and support businesses that empower the poor in developing countries as entrepreneurs and consumers of affordable goods and services. We also counseled LeapFrog, the first international micro-insurance equity fund.
In addition to your time at a public interest organization, you’ll spend four weeks at Akin Gump during your 1L summer. You’ll receive substantive assignments in a variety of subject areas and interact with lawyers during training sessions, lunches and social outings. Your four weeks at the firm include a multiday “boot camp” in Washington, D.C., training sessions with public interest leaders and Akin Gump’s pro bono partner, and an introduction to the firm’s commercial practices.
During your second summer, you will be based at the firm but may work on substantial pro bono matters in addition to other assignments.
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 developing charter school, to litigating on behalf of Washington, D.C.’s taxi drivers over unfair cab regulations.
Pro Bono Scholars are paid the regular summer associate salary while employed by the firm and receive a stipend totaling $17,000 for their time at a public interest organization. The first half of the stipend ($8,500) 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.