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How to Use the Database to Search for Fellowships

Getting Started


The fellowships listed in the database are organized into three categories:

·         Project-Based Fellowships

·         Organizational Fellowships

·         Research/Academic Fellowships


The PSJD database contains individual listings of nearly 350 fellowships.  Before you let that number overwhelm you, however, think about the type of opportunity you seek. The Database divides fellowships into three sections to help simplify your search:


·         Project-Based Fellowships

Project-based fellowships are based in organizations that host Fellows who have received funding from another funding source. The Fellow works on a project related to the population that the organization serves. Though sponsors collaborate with an applicant on the project-based fellowship application process, their involvement in project development varies: some sponsors request applicants for a specific project they already have in mind; 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.  These deadlines are often a few months before the funding organizations’ project-based fellowship deadlines to allow for thorough project development. 


Please note that the list of project-based fellowships found on PSJD is not exhaustive of the organizations that might consider collaborating on a fellowship application.  You can use the Employer Profiles in the database as a good starting point for researching other organizations by practice area or location.


·         Organizational Fellowships

Applying for an 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 nonprofit public interest law organization.  These Fellowships often 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 attorney position.


·         Research/Academic Fellowships

Research/academic fellowships will be of interest to those wishing to pursue a career in academia.  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. 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 and professionals.  This section also includes more general academic fellowships, such as those with a university general counsel’s office or law library.


Searching for Fellowships


To get a complete list of all fellowships available, click on “Search Jobs and Employers” and then click the “Search” button at the bottom of the page. You can run a basic search using keywords and/or location, or you can run an advanced search by clicking the “Advanced Search” tab. When running an advanced search, you can also search for only project-based, organizational or research/academic fellowships, by selecting one or more categories in the “Job Type” menu. You can narrow your search by selecting criteria like practice area, geographic location, keyword, or employer name. Note that practice areas are designated by PSJD, so you may want to start with a broad search and gradually refine it by practice area to get the best results.


Search results are initially sorted by date posted, with the most recent date first, but you can also sort alphabetically, by area or deadline or narrow your search further using the navigation panel on the right. It is important to note that because most fellowship applications generally occur on a yearly basis, unlike regular job postings, many of the fellowship postings have been in our system for several years; however, recurring opportunities are reposted on a regular basis once annual updates are confirmed. In any case, you should ALWAYS verify opportunity information with the organization.


Web Features

Another feature of PSJD is that postings contain links to organization profiles, allowing you to learn more about the organization generally. Because the online database is updated throughout the year, it contains the most current information. Do not forget to visit the rest of PSJD’s fellowship research library as well – this section of the website contains general fellowship information as well as a comprehensive calendar of fellowship deadlines.