About the Fellowship
The fellowship is open all undergraduate students attending Barnard, Brown, Harvard, Princeton and Spelman. All Yale undergraduates, with the exception of graduating seniors, are eligible to apply. Applicants must be prepared to spend 8 to 10 weeks of the summer working on an internship in public interest law.
What is Public Interest Law?
Public interest law includes helping a wide array of individuals or organizations that lack sufficient resources to retain attorneys or to engage in sustained legal advocacy. Past Summer Fellows have worked in areas including children’s rights, immigration, indigent criminal defense, general civil legal services for the poor, drug policy advocacy and harm reduction, voting rights, consumers’ rights, low income housing, civil rights, and technology rights.
To see examples of public interest work, view a list of our Summer Fellows and of our Yale Law School Liman Fellows.
Choosing A Host Organization
The fellowship is designed to give you an opportunity to provide services to others by working at and gaining first-hand experience of public interest law advocacy. To make the experience as meaningful as possible, you should identify a host organization whose needs and interests match your own.
The Liman Program itself does not require you to have a placement before you apply. However, your school may follow a different policy; be sure to check. The Program does not restrict work to particular substantive areas but does require that the Summer Fellow’s host organization be nonprofit, and preferably qualified as a 501(c) (3) organization.
When choosing an organization, be sure to do research about your options. Some research options include:
- Host organizations of past Liman Fellows and Summer Fellows
- National Legal Aid & Defender Association
- Equal Justice Works
- Idealist.org (search for “Legal internships”)
Prior to starting your fellowship, you will need to discuss how the organization’s staff will work to provide you with opportunities to contribute to and participate in its advocacy projects. Be sure to confirm that your main work will be something other than clerical tasks (though you may occasionally be asked to pitch in!).
After the Fellowship
All Summer Fellows must submit a final report, usually by early September. Final reports generally describe the host organization and summarize the projects and kind of work undertaken during the summer. Fellows detail one or more especially memorable moments and explain why a particular interaction, work with a client, report written, or other experience was special and important.
If you are awarded a Summer Fellowship, you will receive a list of public interest lawyers who have been Yale Law School Liman Fellows so that you can learn about the work they did as post-graduate public interest law fellows. Several former Summer Fellows have spent their summers working with Yale Law School Liman Fellows and we encourage you to take advantage of those connections.