Liman Law Fellowship Application Process

Deadline for 2020-2021 Liman Fellowship Applications: Monday, February 3, 2020

Law graduates and third-year students are eligible to apply.

Applications are considered by the Liman Fellowship Selection Committee, chaired by Judith Resnik, the Arthur Liman Professor of Law. In reviewing each application, the Committee considers several factors, including experience in using law to further the public interest (whether in public service organizations; government service; education, including law school clinics; or the private sector); competence in the areas covered by the proposed Fellowship project; leadership capabilities; academic accomplishments; references; and a demonstrated commitment to public service. In addition, the Committee evaluates the need for the proposed Fellowship project, its potential impact, and the capacity of both the applicant and the sponsoring organization to implement it.

Applications must be submitted online through the Student Grants Database, which can be found at: Please submit all documents in PDF format. Except for your transcript, all documents must be in Courier New 12 pt font. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.

The Liman Law Fellowship Application

A complete application must include:

  1. Personal statement (500 words maximum) describing the applicant’s experiences with and commitment to public interest, public service, and/or human rights, aspirations for future work, and the ways in which the Fellowship would help achieve the applicant’s aspirations.
  1. Concise summary (1 paragraph) of the proposal that includes the place in which the applicant will work and the goals of the project the applicant will undertake.
  1. Proposal (3000 words maximum)

Project proposal: (a) to pursue a project designed by the applicant in partnership with a sponsoring organization; or (b) to work on an existing project with a host organization. The proposal should address: 1) the problem or need that the project seeks to address; 2) the project's specific goals and how the applicant will meet those goals within the one-year Fellowship period (a proposed timetable should be included); 3) a discussion of any relevant background information – legal, historical, factual – necessary to understanding the need for and the goals of the project, as well as any anticipated challenges.

The project description must reflect how the project would engage with the relevant legal regime. The proposal should not be an essay akin to a substantial or supervised analytic writing, nor is mastery of the area of law expected. Rather, the goal is to explain how the applicant hopes to use or change the relevant law or otherwise contribute to the human rights or well-being of others. The applicant should provide sufficient legal, historical, and factual context for the Committee to understand the need to be addressed, the nature of the proposed work, and the impact the project will have.

  1. Statement of other fellowships or public interest positions to which the applicant has applied or plans to apply and, if none, an explanation (for example, a gap year, unusual geographic or project-specific need, and so on). Applying for external funding is not a requirement for receiving a YLS-funded fellowship, but is strongly encouraged, absent extenuating circumstances.
  1. A resume.
  1. Official law school transcript.
  1. Two letters of recommendation: One from law school faculty and one from a supervisor or employer.
  1. RECOMMENDED: An additional letter of recommendation from law school faculty.
  1. List of people, including current or former Fellows, whom the applicant consulted. The purpose of the fellowship is to connect Fellows to a field so that they can learn from people close to it. We therefore expect that before applicants craft a proposal, they will have talked to some of those working in the arena. We will provide a list of current and former Fellows and their fields so that applicants may consult with them. We recommend that applicants discuss the project with 2-4 people in the field, whether on the list we provide or not, who can help applicants think through it.
  2. Letter from the proposed host organization, detailing: 1) organization's purpose and function; 2) a description of how the applicant’s proposed work fits with the host organization’s activities; 3) a description of the supervision the applicant will receive, including identification of the applicant’s immediate supervisor; 4) the resources that will be provided to support the project (e.g., office space, computer, malpractice and/or other insurance, if needed); and 5) a statement addressing the potential for the organization to retain the Fellow as a full-time member of the organization’s staff beyond the fellowship year. NOTE: Post-fellowship retention is not a requirement.

For more information, please contact Liman Director Anna VanCleave.