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Postgraduate Fellowship Primer


What is a post-graduate fellowship?


While the term "fellowship" is used by a variety of different programs, generally legal fellowships:

·       are short-term opportunities lasting from a few months to several years – most are one or two years;

·       allow fellows to assist underrepresented populations and/or address specific issues in a given community

·       focus on the professional development of the fellow;

·       are sponsored by a specific association or organization seeking to expand leadership in its particular area of law.


Compensation varies greatly, but the experience generally allows you to target specific issues or populations and assume much more responsibility, more quickly, than would be possible in some other types of legal work.


Types of Fellowships:


Project-Based and Entrepreneurial Fellowships: Project fellowships help fund projects that serve unmet legal needs. Usually, applicants must propose their own projects, usually in conjunction with an existing organization, but in some cases candidates may apply for support to start a new organization.


Organizational Fellowships: Organizational fellowships are defined positions within existing organizations, usually for a period of one to two years. Applicants do not need to develop their own project. Students or graduates apply to these fellowships in a manner similar to a typical job application process. An organization usually offers one or maybe a few fellowships each year.


Teaching Fellowships: Teaching 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 require relevant experience post-law school. Current bar membership may also be a requirement.


International Fellowships: There are a variety of post-graduate fellowships that allow recipients to work on international issues in the U.S. and abroad. Some of these 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.


Firm-Sponsored Public Interest/Pro Bono Fellowships: Firm fellowships are defined positions within a law firm or a split time position, whereby the fellow spends a portion of her time in the firm and a portion working at a designated non-profit agency.


The most comprehensive resources for postgraduate legal fellowships can be found in the Comprehensive Fellowship Guide and the Postgraduate Fellowship Resources in the Resource Center of PSJD, the online resource for public service careers. Fellowship postings can be found in the job posting section of PSJD. The PSJD database simplifies the above five categories into three broader ones to help with your search: Organizational, Project-based, and Clinical/Academic. In the database, Organizational Fellowships encompass both Organizational, International and some Firm-sponsored listings. Project-based fellowships can include Entrepreneurial, International, and other Firm-sponsored opportunities.  Finally, the Clinical/Academic category includes all Teaching fellowship opportunities.  For more information on how to search the database for fellowship opportunities, click here.


Examples with links:


Project and Entrepreneurial:


Equal Justice Works (

Skadden (

Echoing Green (

Soros Justice Fellowship (





Center for Reproductive Rights, CRR-CLS Fellowship (

Human Rights Watch (

The Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellowship Program (

Juvenile Law Center Zubrow Fellowship (

George N. Lindsay Fellowship (




Georgetown University Law Center Graduate Fellowship Program for Future Law Professors (




Amnesty International (

U.S. Fulbright Program (

Human Rights Watch (


Firm Sponsored Public Interest/Pro Bono Fellowships:


Relman & Dane, PLLC – Relman Civil Rights Fellowship (

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobsen (