Harvard Law_langdell_hallIn what it said was “the first program of its kind at a law school,” Harvard Law School announced creation of Public Service Venture Fund, which will start by awarding $1 million in grants every year to help graduating students pursue careers in public service.

Harvard said the fund will offer “seed money” for start-up non-profit ventures and salary support to graduating law school students who hope to pursue post-graduate work at nonprofits or government agencies in the United States and abroad.

“This new fund is inspired by our students’ passion for justice,” said Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow. “It’s 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.”

Minow said the Public Service Venture Fund was the latest step taken by the law school to assist students interested in public service careers. All told, she said, the law school’s financial support for students interested in public service has increased by $2.75M this year.

The Harvard Crimson, the university’s student-run newspaper, said the new venture fund “replaces” a Public Service Initiative piloted by the law school in 2008, a “groundbreaking” program that exempted students who committed to public service work for five years after graduation from paying their third-year tuition.  The Crimson quoted a law school official as saying the new grant system ensures better budgeting predictability but will be slightly more expensive than the tuition waiver program, which was suspended early last year.

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