Public Interest Law
Post-Graduate Public Service Fellowships (3L/Grad)
Types of Post-Graduate Fellowships
Project-Based and Entrepreneurial Fellowships: Project based fellowships provide interested applicants with the funding to work for a host non-profit public interest organization, generally known as a fellowship sponsor or host organization. These grants require that Fellows design an original project to perform at a non-profit organization for one to two years. Guidelines generally require the project to solve a specific legal problem in the community. Entrepreneurial fellowships operate under the same principle but are not specific to the legal community and can be used to fund a wide range of public service projects. These fellowships are usually extremely competitive.
Organization-Based Fellowships: Applying for the organizational fellowship is much like applying for any other job, the difference being that the position is designed to last only one to two years. Organizations that provide these fellowships provide funding for Fellows to work on a specific project within that organization for the duration of the fellowship. Some organization-based fellowships, often sponsored by private law firms, allow students to work with any non-profit public interest law organization. These Fellowships provide the Fellow with invaluable experience working as a public interest lawyer and often have more of a mentoring component than a typical entry-level position.
Policy Fellowships: Policy Fellowships can be organization based or provide funding for independent research projects. Most organization based policy fellowships last one to two years. Organizations vary from private non-profits doing advocacy work to large think tanks. Research funding is either for a period of a few months or serves as general funding resulting in a published paper. While some of these fellowships may serve as a springboard into a policy career for recent law school graduates, many are offered only to professionals with 5 or more years of experience.
Teaching Fellowships: Teaching fellowships are generally offered by law schools to help recent graduates and young lawyers transition into the legal academic arena. They generally last for one to two years and involve the production of a significant work of academic scholarship, intended for publication in a law review or journal. One common type of teaching fellowship is the clinical teaching fellowship, which requires the Fellow to perform administrative duties in a law school clinic and often allow the Fellow to teach law students in the clinic program. In many of these fellowships, the Fellow will have earned an advanced degree such as an LL.M. by the end of the fellowship.
Research Fellowships: Research fellowships provide funding for legal research projects in a wide assortment of practice areas. Many of these fellowships are very specific regarding the type and scope of the research performed. If you are interested in writing an article or essay in a certain area of law or other field, you may find that there is funding available to help you travel, perform interviews, or execute a variety of other information gathering tasks to help you research your paper topic. Note that many of these fellowships are available to current law students as well as graduates & professionals.
Non-legal Fellowships: If you are already considering a career outside the law, one of these fellowships may help you get your foot in the door of another field, such as public administration, teaching, or foreign relations. Some of them may help you earn degrees in other areas; some may give you experience at a specific organization. Some last a few months while others last a few years. Many of these fellowships will assist you in exploring your options.
Post-Graduate Fellowship Application Deadline Calendar
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Public Interest Fellowship Guide (PDF)
Prepared by the Yale Law School Career Development Office