Harvard Starts Venture Fund For Public Service

Harvard Law Library

Yesterday Harvard Law School announced the creation of its Public Service Venture Fund, which promises to shell out $1 million in grants every year to students who want to work in the non-profit or public sector.

According to the school’s press release, HLS Dean Martha Minow sees it as “an investment that will pay dividends not only for our students but also for the countless number of people whose lives they will touch during their public service careers.”

The million dollars will help finance student non-profit ventures and offer supplementary income to those who work at nonprofits or government agencies (both domestic and international).

It is trendy right now for law schools to implement programs that will help alleviate the cost of law school for those who want to use their education to do good, but the financial downturn hasn’t helped those efforts.

In November, HLS suspended their Public Service Initiative program to pay third-year tuition for students who worked for five years in the public sector after graduating. The program was in place for just over a year (current students in the program are covered as funding will continue until 2012).

This venture fund is clearly an attempt to remedy the loss of the Initiative, especially since the program received overwhelming response, but the financial realities of most students means that many with public interest dreams will still choose biglaw to pay off students loans.

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