Public Interest Scholarships


Deadline: April 15, 2021

We invite law students to apply for our Scholarship Program. AALFNY will award Scholarships in the amount of $5,000 each to up to three law students with a demonstrated commitment to the Asian American community.  The purpose of the award is to assist law students with their tuition while encouraging them to use their legal knowledge and training to benefit the Asian American community in New York and to foster commitment by law students to public service to the Asian American community in New York.

Applicants should include a description of their proposed summer community service project and the name, email address and phone number of a supervisor at the community service organization or other organization that the Scholarship Committee may contact. Confirmation of the public service project is not required at the time of the application, but will be required before the award of the scholarship.  Applicants are responsible for arranging their own projects.

Please review the List of prior awardees and organizationsThe list is only provided as an example and no guarantee is made that the organizations will continue to host students this year or that volunteering at one of these organizations entitles the applicant to a Scholarship.

Each student is expected to volunteer at least 8 weeks, 35 hours per week, during the summer at such project and to apply the award to the payment of law school tuition. Award recipients are also requested to submit an essay at the end of the summer describing their experience with their project.

How do I apply for the Asian American Law Fund Scholarship?

1. Students enrolled in an ABA- or AALS-accredited law school in the United States at least half-time as determined by the law school are eligible to apply for the Asian American Law Fund Scholarship. To be eligible, an applicant must be a candidate for a J.D. degree and must be in good standing at his or her law school; students seeking advanced law degrees are not eligible for this program. Applicants must also be U.S. citizens or permanent residents.

2. Applicants must submit a completed Scholarship Application form. The Scholarship Application must be accompanied by (i) a description of the proposed volunteer work for the Summer of 2020 plus the name, email address and phone number of a contact person at the organization sponsoring the volunteer work, (ii) an essay not to exceed 750 words, (iii) a letter of recommendation from a person not related to the applicant, (iv) an  copy of the applicant’s most recent law school transcript, (v) a copy of the applicant’s resume and (vi) a description of other scholarships, grants or awards that the applicant may be receiving during Summer 2020 and any course credit to be received for the Summer. Applicants who wish to demonstrate financial need may also submit a copy of their law school application for financial assistance or discuss such need in their essay. Applicants receiving other sources of funding and course credit for the Summer are eligible to apply for this scholarship but must disclose such funding and credit as part of their application. In addition, applicants must promptly notify the Fund if they receive such funding or course credit after the submission of the Scholarship Application. Materials should be submitted by email to schin@asianamericanlawfund.org.

3. Finalists may be interviewed by one or more members of the Scholarship Committee by telephone prior to the final announcement of the awards.

When do I apply?

The completed Scholarship Application and all required materials must be received by April 15, 2021.

When will the Scholarships be announced?

The Scholarships will be announced on or about April 24, 2021. The full amount of the award will be given to the recipient at the Fund’s Summer Reception event in June.

What criteria will be used to award the Scholarships?

The Fund will take into consideration all the materials submitted by the applicant and will give particular weight to the essay portion of the application and the applicant’s Summer project. The letter of recommendation should be written by a person who can provide relevant information to the Fund and who can be contacted by the Fund. Among the factors to be considered by the Fund are the following:

  • · the applicant’s demonstrated commitment to and interest in pro bono and/or public interest legal work to the Asian American community;
  • · the applicant’s leadership potential;
  • · the applicant’s maturity and responsibility; and
  • · the applicant’s financial need.

It is the Fund’s policy not to discriminate on the basis of age, gender, disability, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, veteran status or sexual orientation.

Since the award must be applied to a recipient’s law school tuition, students who are already receiving full tuition scholarships are not eligible.

Members of the immediate families of officers and directors of AABANY and of members of the Fund’s Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee are also not eligible for the Scholarship.

All materials submitted to the Fund will become the property of the Fund and may be used by the Fund. The Fund reserves the right to issue public announcements regarding the Scholarship winners and to use essays and reports provided by the Scholarship winners.

What types of projects might be undertaken?

Projects must be with non-profit organizations and must serve New York’s Asian American community. One of the potential scholarships may be set aside for an applicant working for a governmental organization involved with the Asian American community in New York. Judicial internships are not eligible. A proposed project should involve legal work and have a supervising attorney. Work with nonprofit organizations that provide legal assistance to the general population will be considered if you can demonstrate that the Asian American community will be benefited. Applicants are responsible for contacting community service organizations and arranging their own projects. Community service organizations that have hosted applicants in the past are described on our list online here. The list is neither exclusive nor exhaustive.

What do I need to do regarding a project?

Applicants are responsible for arranging their own projects. The organizations described in the sample list are only provided as examples of places that have hosted students in the past and is not meant to be either exhaustive or definitive. Applicants must be accepted by the organizations before submitting the application for the Scholarship. No preference is given to a project with organizations on the attached list as compared to other projects that otherwise meet the criteria described.

To whom may I direct any questions I might have?

Questions regarding the Scholarship Program may be directed to Sylvia Fung Chin at schin@asianamericanlawfund.org .

[1] AABANY is a professional membership organization of Asian/Pacific American and other attorneys in New York concerned with issues affecting the Asian American community.

[2] Students attending law schools outside the state of New York but seeking to work at an organization serving the needs of New York’s Asian American community also may be considered for the Scholarship.

Application Form

  • Essay

    Enter an essay (not to exceed 750 words) addressing the following questions: • What are the most significant experiences in your background that have shaped and demonstrated your commitment to serving the needs of Asian Pacific Americans? • What do you hope to learn, accomplish or change through your project this summer? • How will you use the experience that you gain from your project this summer? • How will you best serve the needs of the Asian American community in your future legal career? Please note that this essay carries some of the greatest weight in the evaluation of your application.
  • Project Description

    Provide a description of the project on which you will be volunteering, and the contact information of the person at the public service organization sponsoring the project. If the position has not been confirmed, please so indicate. Note that the position must be confirmed prior to the award.
  • Other Support

    Please provide, if any, a description of other scholarships, grants or awards being provided to you in connection with the proposed project, and any course credit to be received. If none, please indicate by entering "none".
  • Additional Materials

    Please send by email to schin@asianamericanlawfund.org the following:
    1. an official copy of your most recent law school transcript (or for a first-year law student attending a law school that does not give first semester grades, a statement from your law school certifying that you are a J.D. degree candidate enrolled at least half-time and in good standing). An unofficial transcript will be accepted.
    2. your resume
    3. one (1) letter (which may be an email) of recommendation (from a person not related to you);
    4. (optional) a copy of your application to your law school for financial assistance.
  • Notice

    If you do not submit all of the required information, your application will not be considered by the Asian American Law Fund of New York. If you are awarded a Scholarship you may be required to submit a photograph. Please note that materials will not be returned and become property of the Fund.
  • Affirmation

    I, the undersigned applicant, understand that if I am awarded the Asian American Law Fund Scholarship, I must be enrolled and in good standing at least half-time in an ABA- or AALS- accredited law school in the United States at the time of the award. I certify that I am a U.S. citizen or a permanent U.S. resident.

    I understand that I am expected to volunteer at least 8 weeks, 35 hours per week, on an unpaid project and to apply my award to payment of my law school tuition. Within one month after completion of my project work, I agree to submit a report of at least 500 words describing my experiences working at my project and how the scholarship has benefited me.

    I understand that any award is subject to my having a confirmed summer internship at a public service organization or other approved public interest project.

    I understand that I must comply with all stated policies and conditions of the Scholarship.

    I confirm that the amount of the scholarship will be applied to my tuition and related fees, books, and supplies.

    I understand that my failure to comply with all policies and conditions of the Scholarship may result in the forfeiture of the entirety or a portion of the Scholarship. In such event, I will return the entirety or required portion of the Scholarship to the Asian American Law Fund of New York promptly upon written demand. Failure to return these monies may result in collection efforts and legal action against me. To the extent allowable by law, I will be responsible for all costs, fees, and expenses incurred by the Asian American Law Fund of New York in seeking recovery of the award monies.

    I understand that members of the immediate families of officers and directors of AABANY, and members of the Board or Scholarship Committee of the Asian American Law Fund of New York are not eligible for the Scholarship.

    I also understand that all materials submitted to the Asian American Law Fund of New York will become the property of the Fund and that the Fund reserves the right to issue public announcements regarding award winners and to publish their photos, essays and reports.

    I authorize the Asian American Law Fund of New York to contact the community service organization with which I am volunteering for verification of my work and to use my photograph, essay and report in any manner in connection with the Scholarship and the Fund.

    I certify that all statements and information contained herein and in all application materials submitted by me are true, correct, and accurate to the best of my knowledge. I certify that the essay attached hereto was written solely by me and is my original work.

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Download the application here