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ASU Law forms public service fellowship with USDA


Farmer in a garden with the sun rising in the background.

In the new partnership between the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at ASU and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, five fellows will participate in leadership groups and mentorship for 90 days in ASU Law’s Public Service and Leadership Development program in Washington, D.C., followed by a two-year assignment to the USDA’s Office of the General Counsel for hands-on legal work.

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January 19, 2024

The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University has formed an innovative partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to provide recent graduates and experienced attorneys with a job pipeline at the federal level — a unique agreement between a law school and a federal agency.

ASU Law will be hiring five Public Service and Leadership Development Fellows who will engage in an ongoing study on the value of public service, including participation in leadership groups and mentorship for 90 days in ASU Law’s Public Service and Leadership Development program, followed by a two-year assignment to the USDA’s Office of the General Counsel for hands-on legal work. The fellowship will aid early-career attorneys on their journey to becoming skilled public servants. 

A brunette woman in black blazer poses for the camera.
Stacy Leeds, the Willard H. Pedrick Dean at ASU Law, said the partnership between the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is a great example of the ways federal agencies can work with universities to better the community. Photo by Tabbs Mosier/ASU

“As a public law school dedicated to improving the lives of the communities we serve, growing public service opportunities for our community is key to our success,” said Stacy Leeds, the Willard H. Pedrick Dean and a Regents and Foundation Professor of Law. “This fellowship is a unique agreement between a law school and a federal agency, and it’s a great example of how the two can work together to achieve common goals.”

The fellowship will begin in early 2024 in Washington, D.C., where ASU Law has a thriving program. During the five fellows’ two-year tenure with USDA, they will remain connected to ASU Law through the Public Service and Leadership Development program. With hands-on mentoring, education and training from ASU Law, fellows will be better equipped to hit the ground running as professional public service-oriented attorneys on their first day with the USDA. 

The program goes hand-in-hand with ASU’s commitment to developing and shaping leaders. The university was recently recognized as No. 20 on TIME and Statista’s inaugural list of Best Colleges for Future Leaders

ASU Law is committed to public service in keeping with the legacy of its namesake, the late Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Public interest law offerings are core to the identity of the law school, with hands-on externships and clinical experiences offered to prepare its graduates to work in courts, government, public-interest law firms and nonprofit organizations.

“ASU Law is one law school in many places with opportunities to serve the community in our Phoenix, Los Angeles and D.C. locations, and offers many ways for lawyers and leaders in the legal field to make a difference,” Leeds said. 

Applications are open now, and they will continue to be accepted and reviewed every two weeks until this year’s cohort is filled. 

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