Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program

About the Program

HOPE's Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program, for rising 2Ls with a genuine commitment to public interest work, provides a full-time placement at a South Florida non-profit or government agency (which would otherwise be unpaid), along with a social justice course.

SPIF participants experience firsthand how lawyers can make a significant difference in the lives of clients by representing them in criminal, family/domestic violence, education, disability, housing, and immigration cases, as well as in other proceedings.

Meet the 2024 Summer Public Interest Fellows

See Past Fellows: 202320222021, 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014

Program Specifics 

  • Students will attend two pre-departure meetings in April.
  • Students will participate in a mandatory in-person orientation/training in late May, followed by an 8-week, full-time internship at a local public interest or government agency. Judicial internships do not qualify.
  • Students will receive a $3000 stipend.
  • Students will participate in a Social Justice Lawyering Course that meets twice weekly in the evenings (3 credits/tuition is waived/university fees will apply).
  • Students will submit weekly journals and a final paper with feedback from HOPE staff attorneys.
  • Students will attend webinars with leading public interest attorneys.
  • All 1Ls who are in good academic standing, with a GPA of 2.5 or above, are eligible to apply.
  • Fellows must complete a minimum of 300 hours of work, or approximately 37.5 hours per week, over the course of 8 weeks.
  • Students who have already secured an internship at a qualifying local non-profit or government agency are eligible to apply. Otherwise, HOPE will match fellows with South Florida agencies such as: Legal Services of Greater Miami, Miami-Dade Public Defender's Office, Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, Broward State Attorney's Office, Dade Legal Aid, Catholic Charities Legal Services, and Office of Regional Counsel, among others. Please note that judicial internships do not qualify.


Christian Swanepoel"My experiences growing up in post-apartheid South Africa inspired me to pursue a legal education with a focus on public interest law. Continuing racial and economic disparity in South Africa and here in the U.S.. motivated me to serve low-income communities and advocate on behalf of underrepresented populations that lack meaningful access to the justice system. The SPIF program granted me the opportunity to challenge institutions of mass incarceration, generational poverty, and disenfranchisement."

Christin Swanepoel, Class of 2023



Applications will be available in late 2024 and will be due in February of 2025.