Opportunities for Social Justice Scholars

Center Conference Keynote 

The purpose of the Thomas More Social Justice Scholarship Program is to provide opportunities for scholars to further their commitment to social justice, to become leaders in their field, and to contribute to the diversity of the profession. While in law school, scholars will benefit from specific programming designed to help them achieve these goals.

A. Full Tuition

Social Justice scholars receive full tuition scholarships, regardless of financial need, to allow them to pursue careers in social justice and to serve the public good. The scholarships are awarded for one year and are renewed annually, based on satisfactory academic performance and full participation in all program activities.

B. Summer Grants

Social Justice scholars receive one summer grant of up to $5,000 to be used after either their 1L or 2L year, independent of the full tuition offer. The summer grant must be used to cover travel and other living expenses while working at qualified unpaid internships in civil and human rights, social justice, public interest, or criminal justice. The summer internship must be a minimum of 240 hours (approximately six weeks at 40 hours a week).

C. Gonzaga-in-Florence Tuition Waiver

Social Justice scholars are entitled to a full tuition waiver to participate in the Gonzaga Law-in-Florence summer program after either their 1L or 2L year.

D. Annual Retreat/Orientation

Social Justice scholars participate in an annual retreat/orientation before or during the fall term of each academic year. At the orientation, 1L scholars are paired with a 2L and 3L scholar, who serve as mentors over the course of the academic year. There is often a shorter retreat for all scholars each semester, as well.

E. Mentoring by the Director(s) of the Scholarship Program

Social Justice scholars receive individual mentorship and guidance from the Thomas More Social Justice Scholarship Program Director(s). In conjunction with others in the law school, the Director(s) help with course selection, planning program events, exposing scholars to programs and opportunities of interest, and charting future careers.

F. Attorney-Mentorship Program

Social Justice scholars benefit from individual mentorship from local attorneys and past Thomas More scholars, when available. The attorney-mentorship program provides opportunities for scholars to meet informally with local attorneys and past scholars to provide insight on navigating law school and early careers. Special efforts are made to ensure that diverse scholars are paired with diverse attorneys to provide support.

G. Informal Dinners at the Homes of Faculty

Social Justice scholars attend regular dinner meetings (generally once a month) during the fall and spring semesters at the homes of individual faculty members. At the dinners, scholars and their guests meet informally with professors and staff to share experiences and insight. A third-year scholar or scholars are selected to plan and schedule the dinners at the fall annual retreat/orientation.

H. Social Justice Programming and Leadership


Social Justice scholars are provided robust curricular and extra-curricular programming to gain skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to practice social justice law. This includes opportunities for students to connect with lawyers in the public interest and public service professions, counseling students regarding opportunities in law school as well as future careers, and trainings in area related to issues impacting social justice lawyers.

I. Center for Civil and Human Rights Activities and Events

Social Justice scholars have the opportunity to attend and play an active role in planning Center-sponsored events, including the Annual Center for Civil and Human Rights Conference, the Annual Human Rights Symposium in Florence, Italy, the Center for Civil and Human Rights Annual Speaker Series, and Social Justice Monday events.

J. Research Assistant Positions

Social Justice scholars are given top priority when research assistant positions with faculty and staff affiliated with the Center for Civil and Human Rights become available. Scholars selected as research assistants will receive an hourly wage consistent with the law school’s policies and procedures on student employment.

K. Certificate in Civil and Human Rights

Social Justice scholars who fulfill the requirements and expectations of the Scholarship Program will receive a Certificate in Civil and Human Rights at graduation, provided they also satisfy the Certificate’s writing requirement. The guidelines for the writing requirement, and the Certificate program more generally, are set forth in the Certificate in Civil and Human Rights Guidelines, Procedures, and Forms.