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YLS Students to Receive Invaluable Experience in Public Interest Law as Ford Foundation Commits Grant to Inaugural Fellowship Program

Yale Law School will receive a grant from the Ford Foundation to offer 25 Yale Law students an unprecedented chance to gain experience on the frontlines of public interest law next summer. Launched today, the inaugural Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship Program is designed to connect highly motivated and accomplished law students to substantive, ten-week placements with the foundation's grantee organizations around the world, working to improve the lives of others through legal analysis, litigation and public policy advocacy.

“This program opens up a new pathway for law students to gain practical and transformative experience working on many of the defining social justice issues of our age,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “We believe it will offer them invaluable knowledge and understanding that will inform their careers whether public or private, while bringing fresh talent to organizations working to advance fairness and freedom.”

The fellowship is currently open to high performing first- and second-year law students from an initial group of four partner institutions—Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Stanford Law School, and Yale Law School—that have a long track record of partnership with the foundation and commitment to public service. The foundation has made an initial commitment of up to $1.75 million for the fellowships for the first year.

“Investing in the next generation of leaders is central to the Ford Foundation’s mission,” added Ubiñas. “Higher education will shape our future. This effort continues the expansion of our work with leading academic institutions in the United States and worldwide.”

Those selected for the fellowship will receive $15,000; the first class of students will begin their fellowships in the summer of 2013. Working closely with lawyers and advocates, the students will be exposed to a variety of diverse settings and gain insight into social justice issues.

“We are deeply grateful that the Ford Foundation has chosen to invest in the education of tomorrow’s leaders,” said Yale Law School Dean Robert Post ’77. “The new Ford Foundation program will provide outstanding opportunities for students to work with Ford Foundation grantees on important social justice issues. We are excited to be included in this visionary program. We expect that it will substantially affect how our students inhabit their future roles as leaders in law, business, government, and academia.”

View the full list of grantee organizations here.

About the Ford Foundation
The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

About Yale Law School 
Yale Law School is one of the premier institutions for legal education in the world. Located in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, on the Yale University campus, the Law School is an extraordinary community with a rich and vibrant history dating back to the early 1800s. It offers an unmatched environment of excellence and educational intimacy in the form of world renowned faculty, small classes, limitless opportunities for clinical training, and strong encouragement of public service. Among its alumni are U.S. Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, industry CEOs, entrepreneurs, dedicated public servants, and distinguished deans and faculty members at law schools throughout the world.