A new collaboration between the Indiana University Maurer School of Law and John Paul Stevens Foundation will expand financial support to students working in unpaid summer public interest positions.
Five Indiana Law students, working in a variety of capacities around the country this summer, have been selected as inaugural Stevens Fellows. They are:
- Olivia Allen, 2L, Monroe County (Indiana) Public Defender’s Office
- Annie Horner, 3L, Marion County (Indiana) Public Defender Agency
- Megan Merritt, 2L, Legal Council for Health Justice, Chicago
- Nainika Ravi, 2L, Regional Public Defender for Capital Cases, Texas
- Eric Warman, 3L, Children’s Law Center, Covington, Kentucky
Named after the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice, the John Paul Stevens Foundation is dedicated to promoting public interest and social justice values in the next generation of American lawyers. Through its unique fellowship program, the Foundation supports law students who spend the summer working in unpaid public interest law internships. The Fellowship Program reflects Justice Stevens’ deep belief that a dynamic and effective justice system depends on a cadre of trained and committed lawyers committed to public interest work.
The Maurer School of Law is one of eight new schools participating in the program, which now includes 38 law schools across the nation.
“The Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Fellowship Program is another way the Law School will help provide exceptional support to our students over the summer,” said Dean Austen Parrish. “And that, in turn, will allow our students to serve their local communities while honing their professional skills.”
Law students selected for a Stevens Fellowship will receive a $6,000 stipend—matched by the Law School—for the summer. The selection process is administered by the Law School, with applications accepted in the spring semester.
“Public interest work is about providing legal services to those that need them, but it is also about the larger effect this work has on the community,” Merritt said. A former nursing home assistant and clinic volunteer, Merritt said she will use her summer position to gain firsthand exposure to the field of health law. “This position and Fellowship will allow me to give back to the community by working with individual clients and give me the opportunity to learn from lawyers who have worked on various successful policy reform efforts.”
The Law School traditionally supports approximately 70 students working in unpaid public interest jobs every summer. In addition to Stevens Fellowships, the Law School offers summer funding through its Stewart Fellows Program, Family Office Program, the Julian Bond Scholar Program with the Southern Poverty Law Center, its four research centers, and more.
“The Law School provides one of the most comprehensive offerings of public service programs of any law school in the country,” Parrish said, noting that PreLaw magazine has recognized Indiana Law as “one of the best schools for doing good.”
Nearly three-quarters of all Stevens Fellows go on to work in public interest or social justice positions after they earn a law degree, according to the Stevens Foundation.
“We are delighted to be working with the leadership at these eight law schools to make this expansion possible,” says Susan Stevens Mullen, Justice Stevens’s daughter and a member of the Foundation’s board of directors. “These schools were selected based on their commitment to producing public interest lawyers and the need for additional financial support for their students. We look forward to these collaborations, which will prepare the next generation of attorneys whose public interest work will shape law and public policy for years to come.”