In order to complete the program, you must:

  • Spend your 1L and 2L summer working full-time for a public interest or public service employer. (The Law School assists fellows in finding these opportunities and provides generous summer funding through the Law School’s Summer Funding Programs.)
  • Participate in Berger Fellows programming and activities. 
  • Meet with the director of the Berger Fellows Program on a regular basis.
  • Engage with the program after graduation.

In addition to fulfilling the requirements outlined above, fellows are expected to be active participants within the Berger Fellows community, complete coursework and extracurricular activities related to public interest/public service, and meet with PI/PS Office career advisers on a regular basis.


  • A stipend of $6,000 ($3,000 per year upon successful completion of the second and third year in the program)
  • Recognition as a Berger Fellow on the Columbia Law School website
  • Invitation to the Public Interest/Public Service Council Reception
  • Honoree status at Columbia Law School’s Annual Public Interest and Public Service Honors event
  • Recognition from the Dean at the Annual Berger Fellows Dinner
  • Berger Fellows Program certification of completion upon graduation

Berger Fellows can also access benefits and programming offered by the Office of Public Interest/Public Service Law and Careers to the larger student body, such as Columbia Summer Funding, the Human Rights Internship Program, Spring Break Pro Bono Caravans, Public Service Bridge Loans, and the Loan Repayment Assistance Program (LRAP). (Note: Fellows must satisfy all application requirements and other criteria and will not get special access by virtue of being a Berger Fellow.)

Bianca Larez Chavez

“The Max Berger ’71 Public Interest/Public Service Fellows Program was the highlight of my law school experience. It gave me the chance to form relationships with members of the faculty and encouraged me to think strategically about my three years at Columbia Law School. Through the  Fellows Program, I also met some of my best friends. I feel so grateful to have been in a community with diverse, optimistic individuals who now use their law degrees for the betterment of our country and our world.”

Bianca Larez Chavez ’22, Berger Fellow