Gates Public Service Law Scholarship

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Supporting the law school’s vision of making public service a reality for students, the Gates Public Service Law Program enables scholars to pursue a career path in public service law through the Gates Public Service Law Scholarship.

The Gates Public Service Law Scholarship was created in November 2005 to honor William H. Gates, Sr., a prominent Washington state attorney, public servant and UW Law alumnus. Each year, the program awards full-ride scholarships to five first-year students entering the JD program at the UW Law.

Gates Scholars have gone on to impact change on a local, national and international level at a variety of organizations, including the ACLU of Washington, Inner City Law in L.A. and the Immigrant Advocacy Project in Virginia.

Scholar Employment Information Map

Program Overview

Each year, five scholarships are awarded to first-year students entering the JD program and covers tuition, books, other enrollment fees, costs of room and board and incidental expenses.

Acceptance of a Gates PSL scholarship represents a commitment on the part of each recipient 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.

Learn more in the program FAQ

Eligibility and Obligations

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 graduate from UW Law, or complete the required period of employment in public service work. There is also a compensation limit that applies, and exceeding the limit may result in a requirement that you repay a portion of the loan over time.

The following activities associated with the program are required for all scholars:

  • Annual retreat
  • Seminars and speaker series
  • Scholar meetings
  • Two internships
  • Mentoring program
  • Career coaching
  • Publications and newsletters

Learn more about Scholar responsibilities

Selection Process

Gates Scholars are selected from among the group of students admitted each year to UW Law who apply for the scholarship. They are selected based on their sincere interest and stated intent to work in public service.

An internal faculty review committee reads all the Gates PSL Scholarship applications of admitted students. This group selects approximately 50-60 applications to forward to the selection committee, which includes a faculty member, a Gates Scholar alum, a person working in public service law and a person active in civic affairs in the community. The committee is appointed by the dean and a representative named by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The selection committee reviews the application files and selects 20 scholarship finalists for interviews. Interviews will be conducted with all scholarship finalists during a weekend in April. The scholarship recipients are announced after the interview process.

Apply to the Gates PSL Scholarship

Advisory Board

Members of the current Gates Public Service Law Program Advisory Board:

  • William H. Gates, Sr.
    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    Ex Officio
  • Interim Dean Anita Krug
    University of Washington School of Law
    Ex Officio
  • Meena Jagannath
    Co-founder/Attorney
    Community Justice Project, Inc.
  • Sanne Knudsen
    Board Chair
    Assistant Professor
    University of Washington School of Law
    Term Expires: June 30, 2018
  • Lisa Johnsen
    Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
    Terms Expires: June 30, 2019
  • Justice Mary Yu
    Washington State Supreme Court
    Term Expires: June 30, 2018