The Public Interest Law Foundation awards and administers approximately 25 summer work grant opportunities, including summer work grants, the Lash Grant, and the Irmas Fellowship. These opportunities provide financial support to USC Law students and alumni working in the field of Public Interest Law. Although specific grant opportunities are aimed to support discreet populations of the USC Law community, all PILF grant opportunities are designed to support and foster the commitment of USC law students and alumni to the practice of Public Interest Law. Eligibility requirements for grant assistance and grant selection criteria vary depending on the type of grant in question.
Every year, PILF awards between twenty and thirty students who are spending their summer at public interest agencies for the summer with grants starting at $4500. These grants are paid for primarily through fundraising efforts such as the Annual PILF Auction as well as through generous donations and endowments from public interest minded community members. In 2008, the law firms of Sidley Austin and McDermott Will & Emery each generously donated two named grants.
The grant selection process is competitive. To be eligible for a grant, students must complete a minimum of 25 pro bono hours (which entails students participating in legal work under attorney supervision) and participate in fundraising activities, including the PILF auction.
The Lash Grant, begun in 2003, is a $3,000 bar stipend that helps to defray the costs of the bar examination. It was created to honor a former USC Law dean and a founding member of PILF, Karen Lash. The grant is awarded to a graduating student entering the field of Public Interest Law.
This $2,000 grant goes to a 2L student entering their second summer of public interest work. It is given in memory of Paul Davis, a 1998 graduate of USC Law.