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Public Interest Fellowships
Public Interest Fellowships
Post-graduate public interest fellowships serve as a primary gateway to entry-level public interest employment. YLS proudly offers significantly more post-graduate public interest fellowships than any other law school in the country, enabling nearly 30 graduates each year to receive $47,500 in funding from YLS to support one year of work in the public interest. These highly competitive fellowships enable our graduates to jumpstart their careers while serving the legal needs of underserved members of our society.
In addition to YLS fellowships, many outside organizations offer post-graduate public interest funding.
CDO supports our students and graduates in exploring all available fellowships. Below you will find information about YLS and non-YLS fellowship opportunities. For inspiration, look at our past fellowship recipients.
Fellowships Open to Yale Law School Graduates and Students
For the past decade Yale Law School has provided fellowships to support the work of our graduates who wish to engage in public service. The vast majority of these fellowships are full-time and year-long. They are highly competitive and are attractive to our students because they assist graduates who wish to follow the difficult path of a career in public interest law.
Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship
Supports one year of full-time work in the U.S. in a law-related endeavor designed to further public interest, generally under the sponsorship of an existing organization or possibly through a start-up project. Open to all graduates of the law school, regardless of graduation year.
Gruber Fellowships in Global Justice and the Gruber Fellowships in Women's Rights
The Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights each year supports several one-year placements with host organizations to work on projects relating to global justice and/or women’s rights. Students and recent graduates of any Yale graduate and professional school are eligible to apply, up to three years after graduation. Gruber Fellowships have supported placements in a number of countries around the world and involving a range of issues, including human rights, rule of law, post-conflict reconciliation and community building, reproductive rights, food security, and refugee rights.
Heyman Federal Public Service Fellowship Program
Supports recent Yale Law graduates who wish to work closely with high-level leaders in the federal government for one year, either through an existing position or through a “special assistantship.” The fellowship allows alumni to explore careers in public service and to bring creative, entrepreneurial ideas to the federal government. Positions that will not be considered include judicial clerkships, entry-level positions, and work for political campaigns.
PLEASE NOTE: The Department of Defense may have additional requirements that make it difficult for them to accommodate Heyman Fellows. If you are considering applying for a fellowship with a sponsor in the Department of Defense, please contact [email protected] to discuss your plans.
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice at The Hague (ICJ), the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, selects recent law graduates from participating schools for a ten-month position with an ICJ judge. As a participating school, YLS provides financial support for the position through the Howard M. Holtzmann Endowment Fund for International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at Yale Law School.
Mary A. McCarthy Fellowships in Public Interest Law
Supports public interest law projects, especially in mediation and the rights of immigrants, prisoners, criminal defendants, and women. Work products have ranged from legal briefs and evidence gathered in support of litigation to articles in national journals, informational pamphlets, and videos.
Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
The Permanent Court of Arbitration stands at the juncture between public and private international law. It was established to facilitate dispute resolution between states, but its mandate has expanded to include disputes between various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties. This Fellowship offers YLS graduates a unique opportunity to work on cases involving issues ranging from territorial boundaries and humanitarian law to disputes under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties and commercial contracts. The fellowship is funded through support from the Howard M. Holtzmann Endowment Fund for International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at Yale Law School.
The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights
Bernstein Fellows may work anywhere in the world. Applicants are encouraged to create projects with appropriate organizations, but independent projects will also be considered. The fellowship is intended to foster innovative approaches to human rights advocacy or to promote work on important human rights issues that have received relatively little attention.
The Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship
Robina Fellows may work anywhere in the world. The Fellowships enable experiences of six months to a year in a number of categories: judicial clerkships in international and foreign courts and tribunals with substantial responsibility for human rights issues; international criminal tribunal internships; internships with international organizations concerned with human rights; and independent research on human rights topics.
YLS Public Interest Fellowships (YPIF)
This fellowship program supports recent Yale Law graduates for full-time public interest work for one year, although some extensions may be available in very limited circumstances, such as when matching funds are available from other sources. [NOTE: those interested in transnational human rights fellowships should apply for Bernstein or a Robina Fellowships and should consult with faculty in charge of those programs regarding any questions.]
Yale Law Journal Fellowships
The YLJ Fellowships expand the YPIFs with three additional one-year fellowships, which seek to enhance the connections of legal scholarship, practice, and service. The YLJ Fellows, after completing their year in public service, will publish reflections on their experience in the Journal’s online component, the Forum. In addition, the Journal will host a yearly gathering, where incoming Fellows are welcomed, and outgoing Fellows are honored for their work. The application for the YLJ Fellowship tracks the application process for the YPIFs.
Travel Reimbursement for Interviews in the Public Interest
CDO has created TRI PI (Travel Reimbursement for Interviews in the Public Interest) which reimburses 2L, 3L, and LLM students for travel expenses, up to $800, to attend public interest interviews.
Fellowships Open To Any Law School Graduate
Abrams Clinical Fellowship with the YLS Information Society Project
The Abrams Institute seeks lawyers who have at least two years of practice (or equivalent experience) and want to pursue a career working on digital-age free expression and transparency issues in private practice, in the public sector, or in the legal academy. The fellowship allows lawyers to gain hands-on experience litigating cutting edge issues, to work on legal scholarship and policy advocacy, and to participate in the intellectual life of the Yale ISP.
Hillary Rodham Clinton Fellowship
The purpose of this fellowship is to encourage and support recent law graduates committed to public service, enabling them to spend one year working full-time with a host organization on behalf of disadvantaged or underrepresented groups.This fellowship is open to graduating law students and recent graduates (last three years) from an accredited U.S. law school.
Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, Inc.
This student organization funds and supports innovative public interest law projects to protect the legal rights of inadequately represented groups or interests. Proposed projects should be new; they can be designed in conjunction with an organization as long as they are not simply funding requests for the ongoing work of an existing organization.
Robert M. Cover Fellowship
Yale Law School's Robert M. Cover Fellowship Program offers post-graduate fellowships to experienced attorneys interested in clinical law teaching. The Cover Fellowship Program seeks to attract lawyers with two to five years of practice (or equivalent experience) who are interested in a long-term career in law school clinical teaching. Each fellowship starts during the summer and lasts for two years. Fellows work with one or more civil clinics, which include immigration, domestic violence, housing, transactional and general civil law.
San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project Fellowship
The Yale Law School’s San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) and Robert M. Cover Fellowship Program offer a post-graduate fellowship for lawyers who are interested in a long-term career in law school clinical teaching or public lawyering. PLEASE NOTE: This position has already been filled for 2018-2019.
Stanton First Amendment Fellowship with the YLS Information Society Project
The Media Freedom and Information Access Clinic (MFIA) seeks candidates for this position with two to three years of relevant experience who are interested in pursuing a career in litigation or public advocacy on issues surrounding digital age free expression and transparency, either within government, at a non-governmental organization, or as a law school clinical professor. The Stanton Fellow will gain relevant hands-on experience litigating cutting edge issues, develop litigation expertise in a chosen area of free expression, and participate in the intellectual life of the Yale ISP.
National YLS Public Interest Fellowship (YPIF)
Yale Law School is pleased to announce a one-time project-based Public Interest Law Fellowship for 2018-2019 open to graduating law students and recent graduates (last three years) from an accredited U.S. law school. The goal of the fellowship is to encourage and support new lawyers seeking to work in the public interest.
CDO Guides: Public Interest Fellowships Volume I & II
Public Interest Fellowships Organization site on the YLS Inside Page