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YLS Public Interest Fellowships

Fellowships Open to Yale Law School Graduates and Students

For the past decade Yale Law School has provided fellowships to support the work of our graduates who wish to engage in public service. The vast majority of these fellowships are full-time and year-long. They are highly competitive and are attractive to our students because they assist graduates who wish to follow the difficult path of a career in public interest law.

Arthur Liman Public Interest Fellowship
Supports one year of full-time work in the U.S. in a law-related endeavor designed to further public interest, generally under the sponsorship of an existing organization or possibly through a start-up project. Open to all graduates of the law school, regardless of graduation year.

Ford Foundation Post-Graduate Public Interest Fellowship
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. The Ford Foundation funds post-graduate fellowships for third-year, graduating J.D. students at each partner law school (of which there are 4) to work with a Ford Grantee Organization. The aim of the fellowship is to provide participants with an opportunity to work on critical social justice issues and develop the skills needed to be competitive in the public interest job market. In addition, program participants will be part of an international community of public interest advocates.

Gruber Fellowships in Global Justice and the Gruber Fellowships in Women's Rights
The Gruber Program for Global Justice and Women’s Rights each year supports several one-year placements with host organizations to work on projects relating to global justice and/or women’s rights. Students and recent graduates of any Yale graduate and professional school are eligible to apply, up to three years after graduation. Gruber Fellowships have supported placements in a number of countries around the world and involving a range of issues, including human rights, rule of law, post-conflict reconciliation and community building, reproductive rights, food security, and refugee rights.

Heyman Federal Public Service Fellowship Program
Supports recent Yale Law graduates who wish to work closely with high-level leaders in the federal government for one year, either through an existing position or through a “special assistantship.” The fellowship allows alumni to explore careers in public service and to bring creative, entrepreneurial ideas to the federal government. Positions that will not be considered include judicial clerkships, entry-level positions, and work for political campaigns.

PLEASE NOTE: As of October 2013, the Department of Defense may not be able to accommodate Heyman Fellows. If you are considering applying for a fellowship with a sponsor in the Department of Defense, please contact akua.akyea@yale.edu or megan.barnett@yale.edu to discuss your plans.

International Court of Justice Internship/Clerkship
The International Court of Justice at The Hague, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, makes available a nine-month internship/clerkship position that is funded by the Law School.

Mary A. McCarthy Fellowships in Public Interest Law
Supports public interest law projects, especially in mediation and the rights of immigrants, prisoners, criminal defendants, and women. Work products have ranged from legal briefs and evidence gathered in support of litigation to articles in national journals, informational pamphlets, and videos.

Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague
The Permanent Court of Arbitration stands at the juncture between public and private international law. It was established to facilitate dispute resolution between states, but its mandate has expanded to include disputes between various combinations of states, state entities, intergovernmental organizations, and private parties. This Fellowship offers YLS graduates a unique opportunity to work on cases involving issues ranging from territorial boundaries and humanitarian law to disputes under bilateral and multilateral investment treaties and commercial contracts. The 2013-2014 fellowship is funded through support from the Howard M. Holtzmann Endowment Fund for International Arbitration and Dispute Resolution at Yale Law School.

The Robert L. Bernstein Fellowships in International Human Rights
Bernstein Fellows may work anywhere in the world.  Applicants are encouraged to create projects with appropriate organizations, but independent projects will also be considered. The fellowship is intended to foster innovative approaches to human rights advocacy or to promote work on important human rights issues that have received relatively little attention.

The Robina Foundation Human Rights Fellowship

Robina Fellows may work anywhere in the world. The Fellowships enable experiences of six months to a year in a number of categories: judicial clerkships in international and foreign courts and tribunals with substantial responsibility for human rights issues; international criminal tribunal internships; internships with international organizations concerned with human rights; and independent research on human rights topics.

YLS Public Interest Fellowships (YPIF)
This additional fellowship program supports recent Yale Law graduates for full-time public interest work for one year, although some extensions may be available in very limited circumstances, such as when matching funds are available from other sources.  [NOTE: those interested in transnational human rights fellowships should apply for Bernstein or a Robina Fellowships and should consult with faculty in charge of those programs regarding any questions.]

Travel Reimbursement for Interviews in the Public Interest
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, to attend public interest interviews. 

Fellowships Open To Any Law School Graduate

Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, Inc.
This student organization funds and supports innovative public interest law projects to protect the legal rights of inadequately represented groups or interests. Proposed projects should be new; they can be designed in conjunction with an organization as long as they are not simply funding requests for the ongoing work of an existing organization.

Robert M. Cover Fellowship
Yale Law School's Robert M. Cover Fellowship Program offers post-graduate fellowships to experienced attorneys interested in clinical law teaching. The Cover Fellowship Program seeks to attract lawyers with at least five years of practice (or equivalent experience). Each fellowship starts during the summer and lasts for two years. Fellows work with one or more civil clinics, which include immigration, domestic violence, housing, transactional and general civil law.

San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project Fellowship
The Yale Law School’s San Francisco Affirmative Litigation Project (SFALP) and Robert M. Cover Fellowship Program offer a post-graduate fellowship for lawyers who are interested in a long-term career in law school clinical teaching or public lawyering.

Yale University Fellowship Resources

Student Grants and Fellowships Database 

The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale Fellowships

International Education and Fellowship Programs