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Fellowships 101. A review of different types of fellowships and the resources on how to find them. Fellowships at W&L Law. Fellowship Advisory Group Members: Prof. George Bent Prof. Johanna Bond Prof. Joan Shaughnessy Lorri Olan Monday, October 4, 2010 .

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fellowships 101

Fellowships 101

A review of different types of fellowships and the resources on how to find them

fellowships at w l law
Fellowships at W&L Law

Fellowship Advisory Group

Members: Prof. George Bent

Prof. Johanna Bond

Prof. Joan Shaughnessy

Lorri Olan

Monday, October 4, 2010

what is a post graduate fellowship
What is a Post-Graduate Fellowship?



Entry level public interest job – often very hard to get

Financially assist law graduates interested in public interest or pro bono

Focus on underrepresented populations and/or specific issues in certain communities

Develop fellow’s professional skills and leadership in a particular legal specialty

Lasts a few months to 1-2 years

Significant responsibility, quickly

Compensation varies

Health benefits, housing allowance, loan repayment assistance

Training programs and alumni networks


types of fellowships
Types of Fellowships

Organizational Fellowships

Project-Based and Entrepreneurial Fellowships

Research/Academic Fellowships

International Fellowships

Firm-Sponsored Public Interest/Pro Bono Fellowships

organizational based fellowships

Organizational Based Fellowships

Defined positions within existing organizations

Usually for one to two years

Application is similar to applying for a typical job

An organization may offer one or more fellowships each year, but there are hundreds of organizational fellowships available

parameters of organizational fellowships
Parameters of Organizational Fellowships

Apply directly to organization

Non-profit administers its own fellows

No expectation that graduate will stay

Rarely does an application require more than a resume, cover letter and references

No need to develop an independent project

organizational based con t
Organizational Based (Con’t)

The Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (http://www.wlppfp.org/) – Gtown

  • Awards 6-8 fellows each year
  • Some placed with nonprofits in DC
  • Issues: Reproductive rights, domestic violence, work and family, employment and sex-based discrimination, Title IX, economic self-sufficiency, gender-based asylum, rights of women with disabilities, and international human rights.
  • Placements may focus on policy, advocacy, outreach and education, litigation, or some combination thereof.
  • After barred, two year domestic violence teaching fellow

ACLU (www.aclu.org)

  • Applied fellowship in Civil Liberties and National Security
  • Brennan Fellowship
  • Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Fellowship
  • Human Rights Watch (www.hrw.org)
  • Four fellows chosen each year to work in DC or NYC on int’l human rights
  • Center for Reproductive Rights, United States Legal Fellows in NYC
  • Juvenile Law Center ZubrowFellowship
project based fellowships

Project-Based Fellowships

Funds projects that serve unmet legal needs

Applicant designs project in conjunction with existing organization or seeks funding to support new organization

Three-way contract

Similar to applying for a Foundation Grant

Program provides financial and technical support to lawyers working on innovative and effective legal projects

examples of project based fellows
Examples of Project –Based Fellows

Skadden (www.skaddenfellowships.org) funded by the firm to support its commitment to public interest work – AKA “legal peace corps” – groom new lawyers – “apprenticeship”

  • 25 fellowships awarded to graduating law students and outgoing judicial clerks each year
  • Fellows provide legal services to the poor, elderly, homeless and disabled, to those deprived of human rights or civil rights; address issues concerning economic development and community renewal.
  • Salary $46,000 plus benefits plus LRAP
examples of project based con t
Examples of Project Based (con’t)

Equal Justice Works (www.equaljusticeworks.org) EJW organizes, trains and supports public service-minded law students – summer and post-grad.

  • 50 two-year fellowships each year; fellow must bring something new to program to distinguish themselves from staff attorneys
  • A project is a carefully designed initiative that involves innovative, effective legal advocacy on behalf of individuals, groups, or issues that are not adequately represented by some aspect of the legal system. Advocacy may entail a wide range of approaches, including, but not limited to, community legal education, training, and organizing; direct services; litigation; transactional work; and administrative or legislative efforts.
examples of project based
Examples of Project -Based

Echoing Green (www.echoinggreen.org)

  • Provides social entrepreneurs, who have original and compelling ideas for driving social change, with the tools and resources to start new autonomous public service projects or organizations.
  • Two-year stipend of $30,000 per year (total of $60,000 over two years), health and dental insurance coverage, access to the fellowship’s network of social change makers, and technical assistance.
  • Stipend can be used for any purpose related to the start up of the organization or project.
project based con t
Project Based (con’t)

Soros Justice/Advocacy Fellowships (www.soros.org)

  • Established in 1997 by the Open Society Institute’s Center on Crime, Communities and Culture.
  • Designed to encourage innovative approaches to crime prevention, strengthen successful criminal justice programs already in place and promote nonpartisan debate on complex criminal justice issues such as juvenile justice and prison reform.
  • 10 individuals awarded $48,750 for New York City based projects over 18-month period.
  • Ashoka Fellowships (www.ashoka.org/home/index.cfm):
  • Fellowship opportunities around the world to social entrepreneurs who have new ideas to effect social change.
project based con t1
Project Based (con’t)

New Voices (http://newvoices.aed.org/home.html)

  • solving problems and defending human rights related to the impact on the Gulf Coast of Hurricane Katrina and Rita.
  • 15 organizations are awarded a fellow

Institute for Educational Equity and Opportunity (http://www.ifeeo.org/)

  • a one-year fellowship for recent law school graduates to work with a public interest educational equity project or attorney of their choice in the areas of educational equity and opportunity.
  • Must secure a potential position with a sponsoring attorney/organization before submitting an application for a Fellowship.
research academic fellowships

Research/Academic Fellowships

Offers graduate the ability to learn how to teach law in a clinical setting, or work on legal research projects.

Some require post-law school experience and/or Current Bar membership

Strong academic record required

examples of teaching fellowships
Examples of Teaching Fellowships

Environmental Law Institute (www.eli.org)

Gibbons Fellow in Public Interest and Constitutional Law - Seton Hall Application deadline is February for following fall. Prefer candidates with clerkship or PI experience.

Georgetown University Law Center Graduate Fellowship Program for Future Law Professors

Institute for Public Representation - Environmental Fellowship in DC

Robert M. Cover Fellowship – 2 year position; need 5 + yrs. experience; placement in clinic with time for research and writing.

international fellowships

International Fellowships

Allows recipients to work on international issues in the U.S. and abroad.

Some are not legal fellowships per se but are good opportunities to work on legally-related issues through nongovernmental organizations, universities, and, in some cases, U.S. government agencies.

examples of int l fellowships
Examples of Int’l Fellowships
  • Fulbright – late September deadline
  • Amnesty International Ralph J. Bunche International Human Rights Fellowship
  • Human Rights Watch
  • ABA Rule of Law Initiatives
  • American Society of International Law Arthur C. Helton Fellowship –no later than January 10, 2011
  • Luce Fellowship, http://www.hluce.org/lsprogram.aspx
  • U.S. Agency for Int’l Development Democracy Fellows http://wlid.usaid.gov/2402.htm - Nov. deadline
firm sponsored public interest pro bono fellowships


Defined positions w/in a law firm or a split time position

Fellow spends a portion of her time in the firm and a portion working at a designated non-profit agency.

types of firm sponsored fellows
Types of Firm-Sponsored Fellows

Law firm places fellow with a public interest organization

Law Firm hires fellow to work exclusively on public interest matters at firm

Public interest law firm hires fellow

Resources: NALP Directory of Legal Employers and Harvard’s guide to public interest law firms

firms sponsoring fellows
Firms sponsoring fellows

Type 1 – Placement with organization

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen

  • 2 yrs in litigation at firm followed by 2yr fellowship with MALDEF or NAACP LDF

Type 2 – Placement at firm to work pro bono

Covington & Burling, DC

  • Designed to alleviate understaffing at Neighborhood Legal Services

The Bernabei Law Firm, PLLC – DC

  • 1 yr civil rights litigation fellow in labor and employment law

Hunton & Williams Pro Bono Fellowship – Richmond and Atlanta

  • 2 yr fellowship devoted to pro bono work

Type 3 – Placement with public interest law firm

Thomas Emerson Fellowship at David Rosen & Assocs – New Haven, CT

  • Usually 1yr working on civil and human rights and tort cases involving injury or death.
fellowship preparation
Fellowship Preparation


  • Who do you want to work with? Juveniles, homeless, immigrants?
  • What do you want to do? Counseling, education, advocacy?
  • When do you want to start?
  • Where do you want to work? Where in the world? Where do you want to spend your days (courtroom, classroom, office?)
  • Why are you doing this – objective?
  • How do you like to work – multitask? Solo, group projects?
  • Develop a timeline to help guide you (network, course selection, job placements)


  • Contact alumni and faculty with fellowship experience
  • Let them know your interests and ask for their ideas/contacts
  • Contact potential host organizations for project based proposals to discuss your ideas

Start your research early, particularly for project based fellowships.

Make sure the organizations or fellowships you select match with your project proposal - Review projects of current fellows to get a sense of what the funding organization likes to support

Qualifications: sponsoring firms usually looking for associate hiring criteria, organizations looking for commitment to mission/experience

application prep con t
Application Prep (con’t)

Deadlines– usually early Fall of third year.

  • Create calendar of deadlines for opportunities that interest you – include application components

Application requirements: resume, transcript, personal statement and recommendations – get them done early. Opportunity to tackle a large portion of the application early and in a timely fashion.

  • Abide by all guidelines and instructions – more is not always better (fancy package, limit on recommendations, etc)
  • Paper applications – guide your readers, label with headers and sub-headings, if ask for information twice, it is for a reason.
  • Never underestimate the power of a personal statement
  • Start writing – some are long and detailed – EJW can be 12 single spaced pages.
applications con t
Applications (con’t)

Host Organization– communicate early and often

  • Research organizations – financially stable? Related work/expertise?
  • 2L summer placements are great potential host organizations
  • Use staff (including development folks) to assist you to identify issues, provide boilerplate language on organization’s mission for your application.
  • Have staff review your proposal – are there holes, do they have questions about your project or their role? Address them in the application!


  • Arrange mock interview with member of Advisory Group – submit proposal and lingering questions about your application before hand.
  • Speak with former fellows, W&L alumni and non-alumni
  • Research interviewers
  • Review application and gather new, relevant data and information
  • Practice, practice, practice
researching basics
Researching Basics


In the fellowship corner database, click on “Search Opportunities.” Under “Job Type,” PSLawNet includes four searchable fellowship categories:

• Fellowship-Law Related is for legal issues not necessarily involving direct client service.

• Fellowship-Legal is for advocacy or direct legal services.

• Fellowship-Nonlegalis for issues not strictly “legal,” such as public health or international relations, but for which a law degree can be helpful.

• Fellowship-Sponsor is for organizations seeking candidates for project-based fellowships.

ejw fellows
EJW Fellows


You can fulfill your Dreams:

  • Remember why you came to law school – for many it is about making the world a better place
  • Your law degree will open many doors for you to achieve this goal
  • Think about your vision, your strengths and pursue your goals

OCP’s Public Interest Website

Pslawnet.org: http://pslawnet.org/page.cfm?pageID=23

  • Guide to public interest fellowship programs
  • Fellowship Corner
  • Calendar of application deadlines

idealist.org http://www.idealist.org/if/i/en/av/Internship/126819-290

The Public Interest Law Initiative, www.pili.org

The ABA, www.abanet.org

California Legal Advocates, www.calegaladvocates.org/employment.cfm

Serving the Public – two volume set (domestic and int’l fellowships)

ASIL – American Society of International Law Fellowships

Requirements and deadlines change

ALWAYS check website for most up to date information!!!