The HOPE Fellows Program allows public interest minded students to create summer dream jobs and work across the globe to effectuate change. To do this, the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center provides stipends to law students who work in uncompensated public interest jobs during the summer.
HOPE Fellows work with local, national, and international public interest agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to provide much-needed legal advocacy. Since 2000, the program has evolved from two local placements to include national placements in locations such as Washington, D.C., New York City, and Los Angeles, as well as international placements in countries such as Tanzania, Namibia, Lebanon, China, Colombia, Bolivia and Haiti.
List of Program Requirements
- All rising Miami Law 2Ls and 3Ls who are in good academic standing are eligible to apply. While it is not a requirement, priority is given to students who have a demonstrated commitment to public service and financial need.
- Over the course of the summer, Fellows must complete a minimum of 360 hours of work over a period of no less than 9 weeks.
- HOPE Fellows have an ongoing reporting and feedback commitment throughout the duration of their placement.
- Fellows must submit weekly journals reflecting on their experience and must participate in a weekly review and online discussion of scholarly and topically relevant articles identified by the HOPE Staff.
- Each Fellow receives a $5,000 stipend for otherwise uncompensated work at a public interest agency during the summer.
- HOPE Fellows are required to educate and engage their peers on the issues/barriers to justice explored in the HOPE Fellowship and discuss their work and experience in an information session on campus in either the fall or spring semester. The program must be completed within 1 academic year of your acceptance as a HOPE Fellow and the HOPE Fellowship summer placement has concluded.
- HOPE Fellows inspire their peers by creating advocacy projects for Miami Law students, and hosting progressive panels to foster awareness on critical issues of public interest.
- Fellows do not receive school credit for the work. They may not be enrolled in courses concurrently.
History of Fellows Program
Since 2000, the Program has evolved from two local placements to twenty plus placements in locations such as Washington, D.C., New York City and Los Angeles, as well as international placements in countries such as Tanzania, Lebanon, England, and China. Read/hear about past HOPE Fellows experiences:
HOPE Fellowship Placement FAQs
Q: How does a student find a placement?
A: Students have the option to propose a placement of their own choosing or to apply with an organization that has previously hosted a HOPE Fellow. Start by identifying the geographic and topical areas in which you have an interest. A good place to start is to read past HOPE Fellow bios on the HOPE website and look on the Miami Law website for information about interesting externship placements. Need more ideas? Read ABA magazines, bar newsletters, and search on PSJD and Equal Justice Works to find out about exciting organizations. Talk to faculty, your classmates, and alumni who have been engaged in public interest and pro bono service. Be creative–this is your opportunity to create your dream job!
Q: When seeking a host agency, what kinds of questions should one ask?
A: When you contact an agency, make sure you’ve done your homework! Take the time to research what they already do and who they have staffed at their organization. Check if they have any Miami Law alumni. Think about how you can help the organization, before you call, and ask them about their needs. More than likely, the agency will appreciate your sincere interest and proposal to assist in their offices. Be patient, but also be persistent. Be sure to tell them who you are (Miami Law student dedicated to public interest, rising 2L or 3L, interested in immigration, human rights (with your particular area of focus), bankruptcy, etc...) and how you would like to go about helping them to serve the clients/community you are interested in serving.
Q: How is a HOPE Fellowship beneficial after graduation from Miami Law?
A: A HOPE Fellowship provides you with legal experience through on-the-job training in legal writing and research, and advocacy while working under the supervision of licensed attorneys. In addition, you will engage in project development with the guidance of a HOPE staff attorney. The HOPE Fellowship is highly competitive and obtaining this award is a great distinction for any resume. In addition, you will have a resource in former and future HOPE Fellows as well as the ongoing support of the HOPE team.
Q: What if a student does not intend to practice full-time in the public interest?
A: While a commitment to public service is a factor in the selection process, we understand that everyone’s career goals are different. Our goal is to instill within each law student a pro bono ethic. Our students will carry these experiences into the public and private sector and effectuate change in many ways.
Q: Is it possible to split the summer among two placements?
A: No. HOPE Fellows must complete at least 360 hours over the course of no less than 9 weeks at one placement. Any additional hours spent at another placement will not count towards the hour requirement of the HOPE Fellowship. However, hours in excess of the 360 hours, should be logged as pro bono hours.
Q: Can one work for a private attorney or private firm that does pro bono?
A: No. All HOPE Fellows must work under the direct supervision of an attorney. We want you to have the opportunity to work with exceptional lawyers to develop your advocacy skills. While we understand that there are many meaningful opportunities with agencies dedicated to promoting justice who do not have an attorney on staff, this particular program requires a supervising attorney on site.
Q: Can a student work at a public interest agency that does not have an attorney on staff?
A: No. All HOPE Fellows must work under the direct supervision of an attorney so they have the opportunity to work with exceptional lawyers to develop advocacy skills. While it is understood that there are many meaningful opportunities with agencies dedicated to promoting justice who do not have an attorney on staff, this particular program requires a supervising attorney on site.
Q: When can a student expect to hear about his or her fellowship?
A: Interviews will take place in February and March of 2015. Offers will be extended no later than March 6, 2015, with student commitments required by no later than March 20, 2015 at 12:00 PM.
Q: What should one prepare for the interview?
A: Treat the interview as you would any job interview. You should be ready to discuss your goals and why you feel you are an exceptional candidate for the HOPE Fellowship.
Q: What if I one does not secure a HOPE Fellowship?
A: Other resources for summer funding include the Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program (if you are a rising 2L), Equal Justice Works Summer Corps, and many opportunities featured online. Search PSJD, Symplicity, and Equal Justice Works to get a full picture of your options. If you are a 1L, you will have another opportunity to apply for a HOPE Fellowship next year! Miami Law is dedicated to ensuring that students have opportunities to develop advocacy skillsets while helping others. Be sure to check into summer clinic placements, externships, courses with field components and other opportunities offered through Miami Law.
In February each year, students must submit 3 copies of the fellowship application (including complete responses to the HOPE Fellowship Questions; current resume; unofficial transcript; and a letter of commitment from the host agency1) to the HOPE Public Interest Resource Center. They may drop off an application in the HOPE Office (B462) or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.