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Fellowships

Fellowships (and Visiting Assistant Professorships or VAPs) typically provide prospective law teachers funding to spend one or two years at a law school preparing to enter either the academic or clinical law teaching market.  Academic fellowships typically provide candidates time to research and write and access to a school’s resources.  Some may also provide mentorship. Clinical fellowships are similar, with a focus on practice (and the supervision of student practice) rather than writing.  These fellowships can be roughly placed in five categories, although the exact nature of fellowships may vary greatly, even within these categories. When considering fellowships, some factors to consider are:
  1. What is the role of fellows at the school?  Is there an organized fellowship program?  Will you have a cohort of similarly situated peers or will you be on your own? Are the fellows integrated into the faculty?  

  2. How (and how much) do fellows receive mentoring?  Is there an institutionalized method for mentoring fellows or must fellows seek out their own mentors?  Are there particular professors at the school with whom you would like to work?  Have they agreed to work with you?

  3. How much teaching or other work will be required of you?  Will you have time to write or will you be too busy teaching or supervising students?

  4. How long is the fellowship?  Fellowships are typically one or two years.  The law teaching hiring process starts in early August, so if you are hoping to produce significant scholarship before going on the market, you will probably want a two-year fellowship.

  5. Does the law school providing the fellowship also provide institutional support for its fellows when they enter the market?

  6. What is the fellowship’s track record for placing fellows in the kind of teaching job you would like to obtain?