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Post-Graduate Fellowship Information

What is a post-graduate fellowship?

Post-graduate fellowships are one to two year paid entry level positions for recent graduates to gain experience with legal issues of interest to them. Fellowships are a stepping stone for a career in a particular practice area. Indeed, some public interest organizations may hire entry-level attorneys exclusively through fellowships. Click for information about fellowships. Additional information can be found in these resources: Postgraduate International Fellowships Guide and Public Interest Post-Graduate Fellowships.

Types of fellowships:

  • Organizational-based Fellowships: non-profit organizations that administer their own fellowship programs.
  • Project-based Fellowships: involve foundations that fund fellowships with sponsoring nonprofit organizations. These fellowships are similar to a three way contract: the sponsoring organization agrees to host the fellow who has secured outside/foundation funding.
  • Research /Academic Fellowshipsare for candidates interested in pursuing a career in academia. Law schools offer short-term teaching and clinical teaching opportunities that require production of a significant amount of academic scholarship. After an academic fellowship, candidates can enter the tenure track teaching market.
  • Firm-sponsored Fellowships: Some firms sponsor candidates to work pro bono at the firm. Other public interest firms hire new graduates through fellowship programs.

Resources to find Fellowship Opportunities

General resources

Organizational-based fellowships--sample opportunities:

Project-based fellowships--sample opportunities:

  • American Society of International Law Helton Fellowship: Provides grants for candidates to pursue field work and research on significant issues involving international law, human rights, humanitarian affairs, and related areas.
  • Echoing Green Fellowship: provides funding to assist candidates starting public interest organizations.
  • Equal Justice Works: 2 year program that provides financial and technical support to lawyers working on innovative and effective public service legal projects.
  • Fulbright Grant for Graduate Study Abroad: sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. The 1 year program offers opportunities to undertake international graduate study, advanced research, and teaching worldwide.
  • Pride Law Fund: funds lawyers working in the United States on an innovative, public interest law project that serves the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. 1 year fellowship.
  • Public Defender Corps: 3 year program where lawyers will be placed with host public defender offices.
  • Skadden Fellowship: 2 year program that funds lawyers working to increase and improve public interest legal services.
  • Soros Justice Advocacy Fellowships: funds lawyers to implement innovative projects that advance the efforts of the Open Society Foundations to reform the U.S. criminal justice system

Research/academic fellowships

Firm-sponsored fellowships—sample opportunities

  • Altshuler Berzon: 1 year environmental fellowship program in conjunction with Natural Resources Defense Council. A major portion of the fellow's time is spent working on cases brought jointly by NRDC and Altshuler Berzon enforcing federal and state environmental statutes.  
  • Bernabei & Wachtel: 1 year civil rights litigation fellowship
  • Brown, Goldstein & Levy: 1 year disability rights fellowship
  • Cohen Milstein: 2 year international human rights fellowship. Fellows will participate in all aspects of the firm's international human rights practice group.
  • Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson: Fellows spend two years as associates in Fried Frank's litigation department. After that time, Fellows join the staff of MALDEF (leading Latino litigation, advocacy and educational outreach organization) or LDF (fights for equality and empowerment of African Americans) for two years. After that two period, fellows can choose to return to Fried Frank, or stay as staff attorneys at MALDEF.
  • Gibbons Fellowship: The fellows, together with the law firm, undertake public interest and constitutional law projects and litigation
  • Hunton & Williams Pro Bono Fellowship: 2 year fellowship to handle pro bono matters for the firm.
  • Kaplan Kirsch Rockwell Early Career Attorney Fellowship Program: A Denver-based law firm with a national practice focusing on land use, environmental, public land, and transportation issues, offers a two year fellowship program in Denver office to provide new graduates the opportunity to work in the firm and gain hands-on experience in the firm's areas of practice.
  • Mehri & Skalet: 2 year fellowship. Practice including civil rights and anti-discrimination law, consumer protection, fair housing and lending, antitrust, wage and hour, and the False Claims Act.
  • Neufeld Scheck & Brustin, LLP: 1 year fellowship for candidates interested in civil rights.
  • Relman, Dane & Colfax: Washington DC firm. 1 year civil rights fellowship.
  • Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger: 2 year fellowship for candidates interested in environmental and land use litigation.

Government-sponsored fellowships—sample opportunities

  • Bristow Fellowship: prestigious fellowship that leads to employment with Office of Solicitor General. Applicants usually apply after a clerkship with a US Court of Appeals court.
  • Presidential Management Fellowship Program: is a pathway to entry-level employment with the federal government.  More than 80 federal agencies partner with PMF to hire fellows. The fellowship is for 2 years, but fellows have the opportunity to convert their fellowship into full-time permanent positions.
  • President's Commission on White House Fellowships: Fellows spend a year as full-time, paid assistants to senior White House Staff, the Vice President, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials.