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Yale Law School Doubles Public Interest Fellowships

Expanding on its longstanding commitment to public interest, Yale Law School has doubled the number of public interest fellowships offered through the YLS Public Interest Fellowship Programs.

Public interest fellowships—funding to support students and graduates who choose to explore their commitment to public interest in post-graduate careers—are not new to the Law School. Yale’s pioneering Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship and the Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights, established in the mid-1990s, created a model for public interest fellowships to come. By 2008, the number of such fellowships had increased to 14. It jumped to 28 this past spring with Dean Harold Hongju Koh’s announcement of a major initiative to enhance the public interest program at Yale Law School and improve financial support for graduates.

“Yale Law School has always served the public interest,” said Dean Koh at the time. “We have particularly pursued two priorities: creating and instilling a culture of public spiritedness that values lifelong public service, and ensuring that money does not become the decisive factor controlling career choices.” Click here for Dean Koh’s announcement.  
The fellowships are a natural outgrowth of Yale Law School’s clinical programs that have, since the 1970s, expanded opportunities for service while teaching substantive knowledge about many areas of law, ranging from sentencing and mental health to children’s and immigrants’ rights. Yale clinical faculty implemented innovative community development programs, and just as clinical offerings are diverse and have varied over the years, so will the fellowships support a wide range of activities.

The 2008-2009 fellowships will support recent Yale Law graduates for a year of full-time public interest work domestically or internationally, with the possibility, in limited circumstances, of extended funding for up to an additional year. These fellowships will enable graduates committed to public interest initiatives to gain experience in the public interest field and to create innovative projects to serve the critical needs of underserved populations, as well as to staff ongoing programs. The fellowships also provide organizations with the ability to utilize the skills of Yale Law graduates to help respond to their clients, augment resources for ongoing projects, and do work that the organizations may not otherwise have undertaken.

The YLS Public Interest Fellowship Program is one of a number of YLS fellowship opportunities available to support graduating students and alumni. Other fellowship programs include the aforementioned Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship and The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights; the Heyman Federal Public Service Fellowship Program; the Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale; the International Court of Justice Internship/Clerkship; the Mary A. McCarthy Fellowships in Public Interest Law; the Robert M. Cover Fellowship Program; the Irving S. Ribicoff Fellowship; the Oscar M. Ruebhausen Fellowships; the Richard A. Bartlett ’82 Fellowship at the American University in Cairo & YLS; the Ruebhausen South Asia Teaching and Research Fellowship; the San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project Fellowship; and the YLS Fellowships at the Permanent Court of Arbitration (The Hague).

More information on the public interest fellowships available at Yale Law School