Commitment to Public Service

As our state’s land grant law school, Illinois Law is committed to training the next generation of public interest and government lawyers. One of the attorney-counselors in the Office of Career Planning and Professional Development is dedicated to counseling students focused on government and public interest careers. Each year, the College hosts an “Evening in Public Service,” designed to bring together students and alumni interested in public sector work. And our curriculum offers a wide variety of externship experiences and clinical offerings, all designed to provide public interest lawyers with the skills and experience they need to succeed in the job market. We are pleased to have recently been named by the National Law Journal as a “go to” law school for government careers. And we are especially proud of our recent graduates who have been awarded prestigious fellowships by the Skadden Foundation and Equal Justice Works.

During their time in law school, students will have the opportunity to apply for the prestigious Kimball and Karen Anderson Summer Fellowships. The Anderson Summer Fellowships are funded through the generosity of Kimball and Karen Anderson, of the Class of 1977. Anderson Fellows work in paid positions with a variety of public interest organizations. 

Post-Graduate Fellowship Program

To assist students in building careers in the public sector, the College has developed an innovative Public Interest Post-Graduate Fellowship Program. Fellowships range from six to twelve months, and offer new graduates unique opportunities to pursue careers as prosecutors, public defenders, assistant attorneys general, municipal law attorneys, in-house counsel, and legal aid attorneys across the United States. Fellows build important skills while serving our fellow citizens. 

The College of Law currently supports the following fellowships:

Prosecutorial Fellowship Program

Our Prosecutorial Fellowship Program places new graduates in selected state and federal prosecutorial offices, where they receive training from experienced prosecutors. Prosecutorial fellows serve as entry-level prosecutors. For example, they interview witnesses, negotiate plea agreements, and try cases. Collectively, our recent prosecutorial fellows have tried hundreds of cases and handled thousands more.

Public Defender Fellowship Program

Our Public Defender Fellowship Program places new graduates in selected public defenders’ offices across the United States, where they receive training from experienced public defenders. Public defender fellows serve as entry-level public defenders – they counsel clients, manage a case load, and try cases.

Municipal Fellowship Program

Our Municipal Fellowship Program places new graduates in selected municipal legal departments inside and outside of Illinois, where they receive training from experienced lawyers in leading municipal legal departments. Fellows work on interesting cases with an unusually high degree of responsibility and independence.

Illinois Attorney General Fellowship Program

Launched in 2013, the Illinois Attorney General Fellowship Program places new graduates in the Illinois Attorney General’s Springfield, Illinois office, where they receive training from experienced civil and criminal practitioners.

University Counsel Fellowship Program

Co-sponsored by the College of Law and the University of Illinois’ Office of University Counsel, the University Counsel Fellowship Program offers new graduates the opportunity to gain valuable in-house experience in either Chicago or Champaign. Fellows conduct legal research and prepare memoranda, assist attorneys with contract review and approvals, interact with contractors and other University departments and contractors, and handle a wide variety of interesting and challenging legal issues.

Legal Aid Fellowship Program

The College of Law’s Legal Aid Fellowship Program is designed for students committed to representing indigent clients. This program offers new graduates the opportunity to gain valuable experience under experienced public interest attorneys and serve a variety of different clients. In recent years, legal aid fellows have worked with homeowners facing foreclosure, farmers, veterans, children and families, and tenants facing eviction.