Alyssa Harrison, L’25 and Bailey Ellicott, L’24

A boost to public service

September 25, 2023

Career Development

In summer 2023, more than 100 Richmond Law students received fellowships totaling $375,000 to explore career options in the public and not-for-profit sectors.

“There are many wonderful, skill-building summer experiences for which public sector employers do not compensate students,” said Janet Hutchinson, associate dean for career development. “Our summer funding ensures that those opportunities are feasible for everyone, not just those who can afford to volunteer. For many of our students, these opportunities create a gateway to post-graduate positions.”

The funding is offered by a program called the Summer Public Service Fellowship. Through it, every law student is guaranteed at least one fellowship of up to $4,000 to support a summer internship or other professional opportunity with a public sector or service organization.

The fellowships fund students working in a wide range of organizations, from non-profits like the Virginia Poverty Law Center and Legal Aid Society of San Diego to government offices like the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Virginia Supreme Court.

Alyssa Harrison, L’25 (above left), worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, which prosecutes local, non-federal crimes. She did litigation preparation for trials and appellate hearings in all four sections of the office: general crimes, homicide, major crimes, and sex offense and domestic violence.

“I wanted to spend some time in my first summer learning about and working in criminal law,” Harrison said at the start of the summer. “I am interested in working for the federal government during my legal career, and I’m excited to see and learn from some of the country’s best attorneys over the coming months in the courtroom and in the office. Additionally, I’m excited to be back in our nation’s capital and to continue building my professional network in the city I love.” She is from Alexandria, Virginia.

Bailey Ellicott, L’24 (above right), spent her summer assisting attorneys in the capital habeas unit of the Federal Community Defender for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The unit represents inmates sentenced to death during post-conviction proceedings.

“I am looking forward to learning about a completely new area of criminal defense work that occurs after trial, and working directly with death penalty litigation which is something I am very interested in,” she said.

Since the program’s launch in 2013, the program has awarded more than $4.6 million to nearly 1,500 students.