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Program Description

The University of Washington School of Law community believes that lawyers play a critical role in establishing and preserving a civil society. Law should be a calling in the spirit of public service. For more than a decade, the UW School of Law has sought to instill this spirit in students by requiring sixty hours of public service before graduation. The majority of students demonstrate a strong commitment to public service, contributing significantly more than sixty hours. Their annual contributions support a dozen clinics, hundreds of externships, and a variety of community programs. Students gain practical legal experience while increasing access to justice in the State of Washington and beyond. The William H. Gates Public Service Law Program (the Gates PSL Program or the “Program”) complements these efforts and expands opportunities for all UW School of Law students to serve the public.

Five scholarships are awarded on an annual basis to first year students entering the UW School of Law J.D. program. Commencing with the Class of 2009, the Program will continue for eighty years. Each Gates PSL scholarship award shall cover tuition, books, other normal fees imposed for University and UW School of Law enrollment, costs of room and board and incidental expenses. Acceptance of a Gates PSL scholarship represents a commitment on the part of each recipient (“Scholar”) to work in public service for five years following graduation. The Program also provides support for seminars and internships as well as collaborative opportunities with other law schools in the state of Washington in the area of public service law.

Scholars are selected from admitted students through a competitive review process. The scholarship is awarded for one year and will be renewed annually, based on satisfactory academic performance and full participation in all Program activities and internships. Scholars are required to meet the participation and administrative requirements as outlined in the Program guidelines to qualify for continued funding. Scholarships must be repaid to the University in the event a Scholar fails to: (1) graduate from the UW School of Law; or (2) complete the required period of employment in public service work.

The William H. Gates Public Service Law Program is named in honor of William H. Gates (Bill Gates) and his commitment to public service. Bill Gates has had a distinguished career in law and many years of public service and presently serves as Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Scholarship Program was announced on the occasion of his eightieth birthday.

The William H. Gates Public Service Law Program is grateful to the New York University School of Law and the Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship Program for invaluable assistance in designing and implementing our Program.

Gates PSL Program Advisory Board

William H. Gates Sr.
"Law is human service of the highest order. Our role as lawyers is to make it possible for people to survive—and thrive—in an extraordinarily complex world."

William H. Gates, Sr., Class of 1950
Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Last updated 4/27/2012