Penn State
Lewis Katz Building, University Park, PA
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Community Fellows Program

Penn State Law’s Community Fellows Program is designed to expose law students, in the summer after their second year of study, to the broad range of legal practice opportunities that exists in Pennsylvania outside of the state’s three largest urban areas. A donor to Penn State Law has committed to fund the law school’s portion of the funding for the program, as explained below. 

Each summer, up to four Community Fellows will spend 10 weeks working for solo practitioners or law firms with 10 or fewer full-time attorneys in counties outside of the Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas. Fellows will receive compensation of at least $5,000 for a 10-week program (at least $500 per week), with $2,500 paid by Penn State Law in the form of a scholarship and the remainder paid by the employer. At the conclusion of the 10-week program, both employers and participating students will be asked to evaluate their experience. For students, this may take the form of a summary report due at the conclusion of the program.

Interested students and employers should fill out the applications linked below. If you have questions, please contact Randolph Reliford, assistant dean for career services, at rcr126@psu.edu or stop by the Career Services Office. The Career Services Office will begin reviewing employers and students on April 1, 2017.

Employer Application      Student Application

Frequently Asked Questions (Students)

What counties are included in the Community Fellows Program?
Is the Community Fellows Program available to first-year, third-year, or LL.M. students?
How do students apply to participate in the Community Fellows Program?
How many students can participate in the Community Fellows Program?
What are the criteria for accepting students into the Community Fellows Program?
How are students and employers matched?
Can students find their own summer employment and participate in the Community Fellows Program?
Will the Community Fellows Program continue beyond the summer of 2017?
How and when will the scholarship be paid?

What counties are included in the Community Fellows Program?
Employers in Pennsylvania counties outside of the Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas are eligible to participate. The excluded counties are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Perry, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland.

Is the Community Fellows Program available to first-year, third-year, or LL.M. students?
No. Only second-year Penn State Law students are eligible to participate in the summer immediately following their second year of study at Penn State Law.

How do students apply to participate in the Community Fellows Program?
Interested students should contact Randolph Reliford, assistant dean for career services, at rcr126@psu.edu or stop by the Career Services Office in 307 Katz Building.  Interested students are encouraged to initiate contacts soon with potential employers that satisfy the criteria in terms of size and location and then propose these employers to Dean Reliford.

How many students can participate in the Community Fellows Program?
Penn State Law funding can support up to four Community Fellows each summer.

What are the criteria for accepting students into the Community Fellows Program?
Eligible second-year students will be selected based on their desire to work in non-urban areas and how their interests and career goals align with participating employers.

How are students and employers matched?
The Career Services Office will match eligible students to employers based on shared interests and goals. Students will be expected to interview with their prospective employers as they would for any open position. To the extent that students initiate contact with potential employers, only those students will be considered for matching with the respective employers that they propose

Can students find their own summer employment and participate in the Community Fellows Program?
As mentioned above, interested students may (and are encouraged to) initiate contact with potential employers and then propose these employers to the Career Services Office.

Will the Community Fellows Program continue beyond the summer of 2017?
Yes.  Penn State Law has received a commitment to fund the program for at least several years.

How and when will the scholarship be paid?
The University will first credit the scholarship to the student’s account at Penn State. Assuming the student has no outstanding balance, the University will then refund the scholarship directly to the student’s bank account at the beginning of the summer.

Frequently Asked Questions (Employers)

Can employers in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, or Philadelphia metropolitan are participate in the Community Fellows Program?
What counties are included in the Community Fellows Program?
How do employers apply to participate in the Community Fellows Program?
What are the criteria for accepting employers into the program?
How are students and employers matched?

Can employers in Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, or Philadelphia metropolitan are participate in the Community Fellows Program?
No. The Community Fellows Program is designed to expose law students to employment opportunities outside of Pennsylvania’s largest urban areas that are typically targeted for employment.

What counties are included in the Community Fellows Program?
Employers in Pennsylvania counties outside of the Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh metropolitan areas are eligible to participate. The excluded counties are Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Fayette, Montgomery, Perry, Philadelphia, Washington, and Westmoreland.

How do employers apply to participate in the Community Fellows Program?
Interested solo practitioners or law firms with fewer than 10 employees should contact Randolph Reliford, assistant dean for career services, at rcr126@psu.edu or 814-863-0078.

What are the criteria for accepting employers into the program?
Employers meeting the geographic and firm-size criteria will be selected for the program at the discretion of the Career Services Office based on the quality of the position and student mentoring available during the 10-week program. Because there will likely be more employers than the four annual Community Fellowships, the Career Services Office will match students to employers based on the students’ interests.

How are students and employers matched?
The Career Services Office will match eligible students to employers based on shared interests and goals. Students will be expected to interview with their prospective employers as they would for any open position. However, when students initiate contact with potential employers, only those students will be eligible for matching with the respective employers that they propose.