About the Scholarship

Joseph P. Mettner had a rich career in public service. Joe began working for Wisconsin Governor Tommy G. Thompson while still a student at the UW Law School. Following graduation, he was appointed as one of the youngest Commissioners to the Tax Appeals Commission in the State’s history. He was then called to serve as a Commissioner – and later Chairman – of the Wisconsin Public Service Commission. Through these positions, he embraced his love of public policy, democratic process, and public service as a member of state government. Following his tragic death in a 2009 traffic accident, the Joseph P. Mettner Foundation (jPMF) was formed to honor his memory and his passions. One of the main goals of the foundation is to encourage law students to consider careers in public service. Recognizing that careers in government service may not be as lucrative as private sector pathways, the Joseph P. Mettner scholarship was created to ease some of the student loan debt that may make public service less appealing. Since 2011, the Scholarship has provided $10,000 to support a student’s third year of study at the University of Wisconsin Law School. Award funds will be sent directly to the bursar of the University of Wisconsin Law School for partial tuition payment for the benefit of the scholarship recipient.


Selection Criteria:

Any UW Law Student who will complete their second year of law school is eligible to apply. Successful applicants shall possess strong academic credentials, demonstrate clear financial need, and show a strong commitment to pursuing a public interest or public sector career upon graduation. Applicants should explain any circumstances which may have impacted academic performance (e.g. work obligations, family commitments, or additional academic burdens), and applicants from diverse socio-economic backgrounds are encouraged to apply. Applicants’ residency or non-residency status will not affect eligibility. The Scholarship will be awarded to an applicant whose prior experience and career plans emulate both the excellence and spirit of Joe’s commitment to public service. Each of the criteria – academic performance, financial need, and commitment to public service – will be considered in choosing the scholarship recipient. The jPMF exercises sole discretion in choosing the successful scholarship recipient, and its decision is final.


The Process:

Applications can be submitted online here: https://forms.gle/JXb3VbquwU8L4z156


A completed application for this scholarship includes the following:
  1. A completed application form.
  2. A resume highlighting the public interest or public service activities in which you have participated prior to and during law school, and demonstrating how these activities relate to your career plans.
  3. A personal statement, not to exceed 750 words, describing your interest in and commitment to practicing public interest or public sector law. This statement may include any information about any information the applicant wishes for the Foundation to consider, including background, diversity or other unique characteristics that may help explain why the applicant should be selected.
  4. No less than two, nor more than three, letters of recommendation supporting the candidate’s commitment to public service.
  5. A copy of his/her law school transcript with most recent GPA included.
  6. A certification of financial need provided through the law school financial aid office or statement of financial need by applicant.
  7. A completed consent form, authorizing the JPM Foundation to use information, name and likeness of scholarship awardees.


Important Deadlines
  • Friday, June 30, 2022: Submittal deadline for scholarship applications
  • Monday, July 30, 2022: Scholarship recipient will be contacted by a JPMF representative and unsuccessful applicants will receive notification.