The Walter Lucas Public Interest Fellowship Program at Villanova University School of Law provides financial support to students who commit their summers to public service legal work. Many law students, dedicated to helping the less fortunate, are limited by financial constraints. Similarly, public interest legal organizations often cannot afford to hire much needed summer interns. Through fundraising, PIFP provides summer fellowships to Villanova University School of Law students, who in turn aid the larger community by working with various public interest organizations and their clients.
An entirely student-run organization, PIFP funds student fellowships through a variety of creative endeavors. To date, PIFP has raised over $740,000 and has awarded over 170 summer fellowships. The highlight of PIFP’s fundraising efforts is the annual Spring Auction, sponsored by Pepper Hamilton, LLP, held at Villanova University School of Law and featuring items solicited by students and faculty throughout the school year. The first auction, held in April 1998, raised $19,000 and funded six summer fellowships. The seventeenth annual auction, sponsored by Pepper Hamilton, LLP, will be held on the evening of Friday, March 28, 2014 at Villanova University School of Law School.
In 2013 PIFP generated over $44,000, providing thirteen students with $4,500 summer fellowships. Prior fellowship recipients have worked at public interest organizations throughout the country and world, including the Mazzoni Center Legal Services, the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Defender Association of Philadelphia, the Federal Defenders of Eastern Washington and Idaho, the Homeless Advocacy Project, the Community Legal Aid Society, Inc., the Delaware Riverkeeper Network, and the Windsor County State Attorney’s Office.
In addition, 2013 marked the eighth year in a row that PIFP provided $12,000 to fund its Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). LRAP provides a $12,000 award, paid over three years, to a recent graduate committed to working for a public interest organization or governmental agency.