2017-2018 Comprehensive Fellowship Guide
The Ultimate Resource for Law Students
The Guide is your first stop in the search for post-graduate fellowships available on PSJD. An exclusively online Guide allows you to search in real time for the most current information. The database is continually updated, and we make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in the Guide.
What is a Postgraduate Fellowship?
A postgraduate public-interest fellowship is a term-limited opportunity for newer legal professionals to gain direct practice/advocacy/teaching experience. A Fellow will assume considerable independent responsibilities and have access to professional development resources. There are three types of postgraduate fellowships: project-based, organizational, and clinical/academic. For job-seeking purposes, the types of fellowships are distinguished by funding source/administration.
Types of Fellowships:
Fellows are housed at a host organization (sponsor) with the funding for the project coming from a third party (funder). The Fellow works on a project related to the population that the host organization serves. The project proposal is developed in collaboration between the applicant and the host organization. However, the host organization's involvement in the creation of the project can vary. Some sponsors require applicants to have a project proposal in mind or completed before approaching the sponsoring organization, and some organizations will work with the applicant to develop a proposal jointly.
Be aware that many sponsors set their own application or project proposal deadlines prior to the funding organization's deadlines in order to facilitate a more thorough development of the project proposal. These sponsor deadlines could be many months in advance of the funder's deadlines, and typically are set in July, but could be as early as May.
Please note, the listings for project-based fellowships in the database are not comprehensive in that many organizations may be open to a collaboration, but have not specifically listed this desire on PSJD. You may also directly contact any organization you are interested in working with to see if they are interested in collaborating with you on a project-based fellowship application. A good starting point for a search for these organizations is the Employer Profiles on PSJD, which contain descriptions of some 14,000 public interest organizations, searchable by practice area and/or location.
Applying for an organizational fellowship is much like applying for a staff attorney position, the difference being the limited term of the employment. Organizations that provide these fellowships provide funding for Fellows to work on a specific project within the organization for the duration of the fellowship. Some organizational fellowships, often sponsored by private law firms, allow Fellows to work with any non-profit public interest law organization. These fellowships often provide an invaluable experience working as a public interest lawyer and often have more of a professional development component than a typical entry-level attorney position.
Clinical or academic fellowships are designed to offer the graduate the ability to learn how to teach law in a clinical setting or work on legal research projects. Strong academics are a must and most of these fellowships require relevant experience post law school. A current bar membership may also be a requirement.
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 the case of many of these fellowships, the Fellow will have earned an advanced degree such as an LL.M. by the end of the fellowship.
Academic 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 academic piece in a certain area of law, a fellowship may be available to fund your travel to perform a variety of information gathering tasks. Note that many of these fellowships are available to current law students as well as graduates and more experienced professionals.
Getting the Fellowship Search Started:
The following resources will go more in-depth on how to search the database for fellowships and provide information on applying to these fellowships.
Thanks & Acknowledgments
We are extraordinarily grateful for the work of our Summer 2017 Publications Coordinator, Allison Katona, whose insightful suggestions, hard work and persistence makes the fellowship updating process possible.
The Comprehensive Fellowship Guide is a publication of NALP’s PSJD – Your Pathway to Public Service Legal Careers © 2017 by the National Association for Law Placement.
Please direct any inquiries regarding guide content to:
P - 202- 296-0076
Category: Postgraduate Fellowships