Public Service Opportunities
... Public Service Program › Public Service Opportunities FaceBookTwitterYouTube

AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate Positions


Drake-Sponsored Public Service Internships for Summer-Paid

A number of law students participate in summer Public Service Internships funded by grants obtained by the Law School from the Iowa Supreme Court’s Interest on Lawyer Trust Accounts (IOLTA) and from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Federal Work Study funds (FWS) committed by Drake University, and Drake Law School scholarship funding.

Drake Law School offers paid public service internships: (1) Federal Work Study Poverty Law Internships; (2) Federal Work Study-Other Public Service Agencies; (3) Howard Fellowships at the Drake Legal Clinic (subject to the availability of funds, 2 internships, each with scholarship of 2-4 credits applied to summer tuition); (4) Drake Agricultural Law Center public service internships with a paid stipend.

Internships (1) and (2) require the public service agency to fund the local match for each internship. Funding has been secured for the Poverty Law internships in (1).

Federal Work Study Community Service Internships for Summer-Paid

Drake University allocates Federal Work Study (FWS) funds to support the Law School’s Summer Community Service internships. Law students will earn $15 per hour. Participating students are paid; they do not earn academic credit for the FWS internships.

Participating Public Service Programs

Because the Iowa Supreme Court IOLTA grant has already been secured, the very positive internship experience with Iowa Legal Aid, and the courts and profession’s commitment to providing access to the courts for person who are indigent, the substantial majority of the FWS Summer Internships have been placed with Iowa Legal Aid (in Des Moines, Mason City, Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Waterloo, and Ottumwa) and Story County Legal Aid (Nevada, Iowa). The Summer Poverty Law Internship positions will be filled first. 

Once the Poverty Law Internship positions have been filled, a determination will be made as to the number of internships that can be funded at other public service agencies who desire interns and can provide the requisite matching funds. In prior years we have funded internships with Midwest Environmental Justice Advocates, Iowa Coalition against Domestic Violence, Iowa Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Iowa Attorney General, American Judicature Society, and the Iowa Workers Compensation Commission.

Local Match (25%) / Drake FWS Match (75%)

In the Law School’s Summer FWS program, law students can earn 7 weeks’ pay from July 1 through the start of classes in August. Each FWS Community Service Intern can earn $4,200 based on an hourly rate of $15 per hour (7 weeks x 40 hours/week x $15/hour = $4,200). Pursuant to federal regulations, $3 in FWS funds is available for each $1 in local matching funds. In addition to the 25% match, the local nonprofit employer is also required to pay the FICA. The 25% matching funds and the FICA total $1,323 ($1,050 match + $273 FICA). Drake will commit $3,150 in FWS funds as its 75% match, enabling each intern to earn $4,200.

FWS Eligibility Conditions

There are a number of conditions that federal regulations impose on the FWS Community Service internships:
  •  A student must be FWS eligible and his/her summer FWS earnings must be counted as a resource toward meeting cost of attendance for the following academic year. Interested students must consult with Jolaine Sweiger, the Assistant Director for Student Loans and Employment, in advance to confirm their eligibility.
  • A student must commit to working seven weeks, between July 1 and the start of classes in August. However, there is nothing that precludes a student from volunteering with his or her agency during the month of June, and interns are encouraged to do so. The volunteer work can be counted toward the Law School’s Public Service Certificate that is awarded at graduation.
  • A student cannot be enrolled in Drake summer courses (interims and all summer sessions) or participate in the France study abroad program.
  • FWS summer internship awards are restricted to select community service agencies located in Iowa.

FWS Poverty Law Internship Program 

An  IOLTA (Supreme Court of Iowa Interest on Lawyers' Trust Accounts) grant to the Drake Law School provides matching funds to support FWS summer internships for Drake law students and travel expenses for the orientation program. This grant funding guarantees that Iowa Legal Aid and Story County Legal Aid have the necessary matching funds to participate and obtain FWS funding for summer interns.

Current 1L and 2L students are eligible. Applicants must have a 2.00 law school CGPA, both at the time of application AND at the time of the commencement of the internship. Faculty supervision of this internship enables interns to be certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule. Current 1L students can handle fact investigation, client interviews, and actual administrative agency evidentiary hearings. Current 2L students can handle all of the above AND actual in-court representation, under the supervision of licensed Iowa counsel.

Employing program must provide civil legal services to the poor in Iowa; over the years most Drake interns have worked for Iowa Legal Aid, usually in Des Moines but also at outlying offices; a Drake intern also been regularly placed with Story County Legal Aid in Nevada.

Application Procedure is explained on Application. Rolling application deadline: February 15. The applicant pool will be assessed shortly thereafter, and candidates may be interviewed, in person or by telephone, by the Legal Aid program(s) to which they have applied. Internship awards will be made by the Legal Aid programs.
Target: offers prior to beginning of Spring Break

Click here to download the application.

FWS-Other Public Service Agencies (2-4 internships)

In addition to Iowa Legal Aid and Story County Legal Aid discussed above, a number of public service agencies may also participate. The participation of these employers is contingent upon their commitment of the required matching funds and the availability of FWS funds. Because of the reduction in FWS funds, there may not be sufficient funding to fill every public service agency’s request to participate in the FWS Internship program.

The FWS Guidelines describe the type of organizations that qualify for participation. Although the FWS Guidelines do not restrict participating agencies to those delivering legal services, the Law School, consistent with its mission, will only award internships that involve legal work or the delivery of legal services that are supervised by an attorney. Interns at these organizations are not certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule.

Contact Persons and Phone Numbers. If you are interested in an organization other than Iowa Legal Aid or Story County Legal Aid, you must contact the organization to determine if they are hiring student interns under the FWS program. If the public service agency is interested in participating in the FWS program, it must be approved by the Law School for an allocation of FWS funds. Once an agency is approved for an FWS funds allocation, applicants will need to submit a cover letter, resume and possibly a writing sample to the organization. Subject to the availability of Drake’s FWS funds (described above), the organization will conduct interviews and select the student workers.

Iowa Children's Justice Summer Fellowship

Purpose and Eligibility
The Iowa Children’s Justice Summer Fellowship is designed to financially support law students who obtain a summer volunteer position in the area of juvenile law.   All applicants must locate their own volunteer position.  Applicants must be either a 1L or 2L in good standing.  Examples of eligible juvenile law positions include Public Defender Offices doing parent representation or GAL/attorney for child work, Youth Law Center in Des Moines, private law firms that provide representation for clients in juvenile court, clerking for Juvenile Court and Appellate Judges, and research projects in the area of juvenile law.  The expectation is that fellows will work full-time for eight weeks. 

Application Requirements
A completed application includes:
  -  Iowa Children’s Justice Summer Fellowship Application
  -  Resume
Click here to download the application. 
(You will have to complete the application, print it and scan it into your computer in order to attach it as a pdf to your application email.)

Decisions will be made on a rolling basis.  Applicants are encouraged to get their applications in early.  Applications should be submitted electronically to Iowa Children’s Justice at  The subject line of the message should be “Fellowship Application.” 

Important Information for Students Who Will Earn Academic Credit for Their Summer Externship
An American Bar Association accreditation standard prohibits students from both getting compensated for and earning credit for externships.  “Compensation” is defined very broadly, and may include awards made under these grant programs.  However, funding used to “cover expenses reasonably related to the externship” will not be considered as compensation.  Even though a student may receive a summer financial aid package to help fund the tuition and other expenses, we understand that not all expenses may be covered or even permitted under federal loan eligibility guidelines.  Please be aware that if you are awarded funding under this application process, and you are getting academic credit for your externship, you will be required to keep track of your actual expenses that are associated with the externship.  At or near the end of the summer, you will be required to submit documentation of actual expenses that are not covered by loans or other sources and that will be covered, therefore, by awards under this application process. 

Summer Charles & Joseph Howard Fellowships

For more than a decade the Law School has funded Charles & Joseph Howard Fellowships in the Drake Legal Clinic through the earnings from the students’ work in providing representation under the Legal Clinic’s grant with the Iowa State Public Defender’s Office, and that is the plan again this summer. The availability of contract funds will determine how many, if any, Howard Fellowships can be awarded. Typically, these earnings have been sufficient to award two to four Fellowships; Fellowship awards are made by the Director of Clinical Programs, in consultation with the Director of the Criminal Defense Clinic. Students must have a 2.00 law school CGPA. Howard Fellows are certified under the Iowa Supreme Court Student Practice Rule. Fellows must commit to a minimum of ten weeks and 200 hours of client representation

The Fellowship provides a scholarship that covers 2 - 4 hours of Summer Tuition, approximately $2 – 4, 000.

Agricultural Service Learning Internships 

The Agricultural Law Center usually secures grant funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, some of which has been allocated to support summer internships. Students have received a stipend, with a minimum time commitment of 20 hours per week for 10 weeks with their sponsoring institution. Students receive no academic credit. Students who are in the Agricultural Law Certificate Program receive a preference in the award of these internships. Interested students should contact Professor Hamilton to ascertain information about these internships.

Interested students should contact Professor Hamilton to ascertain information about these internships.

Spring Break Volunteer Trip

For several years, the law school has organized and a New Orleans Spring Break Volunteer Trip, under the supervision of Dean Lain. This trip allows students to put into practice skills learned in the classroom through service. Student volunteered at the New Orleans Pro Bono Project which provides free, quality civil legal services to the poor. They were able to conduct client intakes, fill out and file divorce pleadings, create brochures for the public about elderabuse, fill out debt forms for bankruptcy, and create a national emergency contact directory. There are plans to continue a volunteer trip each year over spring break, although the destination may change in the future.

Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA)

The VITA program is sponsored by United Way and a number of community partners to help low-income workers prepare their tax filings. The SBA has for a number of years been a partner, with the Drake Legal Clinic serving as a drop-in site and studentsserving as volunteers.

Student-Sponsored Public Service

The Student Animal Legal Defense Fund organizes students to volunteer at local animal shelters. The Delta Theta Phi legal fraternity also provides substantial person-power to the Halloween Hoops Party and has public service programs of its own.

The Halloween Hoops Shoot-Out Party is an annual public service event, co-sponsored by the SBA and the Des Moines NAACP. The event includes a pizza party for as many as 300 people and an award ceremony with hundreds of prizes for community youth (ages 3 to 12), more than 75% of whom are minorities. In addition to monetary contributions by the SBA and contributions of candy by law students (as part of an Amnesty Day program), law students act as volunteers in “throwing the party” for inner city youth.

Drake Legal Clinic

The Legal Clinic has a separate and important role in the Law School’s public service commitment and opportunities. The Drake Legal Clinic represents indigent clients, and thus pro bono service is central to its mission. Clinical opportunities have been made available to every student so desiring, and approximately half of the Law School's graduates take a clinic course. The clinical experience unquestionably helps students understand the immense need for legal services and the ethical responsibility lawyers have to provide pro bono and other services in our communities.

Volunteer Opportunities

The Joan & Lyle Middleton Center for Children’s Rights Community Resource Directory is now available…

   - Click here to view or download it.

Last Modified: 7/11/2016 2:05:00 PM by Kayla Choate