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Financial Support for Public Interest

Summer Fellowships
Post-Graduate Fellowships
Loan Repayment
Job Search Expenses
Public Interest Law Project Funding

Summer Fellowships
The Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program (SPIF) offers support to all Yale students who need funding to work at government and nonprofit organizations. The law school provides fellowships of up to $6,000 over the summer ($500 per week for up to 12 weeks) through SPIF. $5,000 of this funding is guaranteed; student fundraising will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to the total $6,000 summer budget.

The Schell Center for International Human Rights provides many summer travel fellowships to support summer work abroad in international human rights.

The Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship Program enables first- and second-year law students to have a substantive and transformative experience as public interest summer interns with Ford Grantee Organizations. The program seeks to award highly motivated and accomplished students with an internship in a domestic or international Ford Foundation grantee organization that works broadly on legal analysis, litigation, or public policy advocacy. Collaborating closely with lawyers and advocates, students will gain exposure to a variety of diverse settings and are exposed to such topics as reproductive rights, civil rights, gay, lesbian, and transgender rights, immigrants’ rights, prisoner and ex-offenders’ rights, voting rights, children’s rights, and other areas of social justice concern.

The Ford Foundation will connect a total of 100 students from the law schools at Harvard, New York University, Stanford, and Yale Law Schools to current grantee organizations both domestically and internationally to begin new and exciting ventures lasting ten weeks during Summer 2015. Each Yale Law student selected will receive a generous stipend over the summer as an intern in the field of public interest law.

Click here for detailed instructions on how to apply.


The Mary McCarthy Fellowships provide funding for students’ summer or brief post-graduate work in the public interest.The fellowships emphasize work in mediation and the rights of women, immigrants, prisoners,, and criminal defendants. Other topic areas are also considered, but the Fellowship prefers to fund legal work in direct clinet-service settings in the United States.

Post-Graduate Fellowships
Yale Law School endowed programs such as the Liman, Heyman, Bernstein, YLS Public Interest Fellowships, and Robina Fellowships financially empower students to pursue their public service goals after graduation. The YLS Public Interest Fellowship program also supports recent YLS graduates for one year of full-time public interest work. In addition, the Law School funds an internship/clerkship at the International Court of Justice and a fellowship at the Permanent Court of Arbitration, both located at The Hague, Netherlands.
More detailed information on these and other fellowship opportunities....

Loan Repayment
The Career Options Assistance Program (COAP) is one of the most generous and flexible loan forgiveness programs available at any law school. For newly admitted students, COAP helps pay off all law school students loans within ten years after graduation, and requires no contribution from graduates earning less that $50,000 (and only a moderate contribution thereafter). COAP also covers up to $30,000 of need-based undergraduate student loans, and is available to all YLS graduates.

Job Search Expenses
The Career Development Office (CDO) has created TRI PI (Travel Reimbursement for Interviews in the Public Interest) which reimburses 2L and 3L students for travel expenses — up to $800 per academic year — for public interest interviews.

Each year, CDO pays the registration fees and travel expenses for any students wishing to participate in the Equal Justice Career Fair and Conference and/ or the NYU Public Interest Career Fair.

Public Interest Law Project Funding
The Deborah L. Rhode Fund for Public Interest & Pro Bono Services fund serves to support activities of YLS students interested in pro bono or public interest opportunities during the academic year. You must be a currently enrolled student in good academic standing to qualify. The fund subsidizes costs such as reasonable transportation and lodging costs, and administrative expenses including photocopying and telephone calls. The award is only for costs which are not covered by other sources and integral to the project.
For more information, click
here.

Additional fellowships may also be available through Yale University.