Post-graduate fellowships are valuable opportunities for recent graduates to secure entry-level jobs in public interest organizations, government agencies, academic settings, and even law firms.
Many students pursue a legal career with the ultimate goal of working on particular social and legal issues, or with specific communities or organizations. Fellowships help you get your foot in the door, and start you on the path to fulfilling your career aspirations.
These positions are for a fixed term – typically one to two years – and provide a salary or stipend comparable to other entry-level public interest salaries. Funding for fellowships may be provided by the employing organization, foundations, law firms, and other sources. Depending on the needs of the organization, some fellowships can lead to permanent positions.
Types of Fellowships
There are a broad range of fellowships that fall into various categories. Navigating through the different types of fellowships, and extensive catalog of fellowship positions and resources within each type can be overwhelming.
Before you start researching specific fellowships or designing projects, it is best to complete a self-assessment and consider what your goals are. Some helpful questions to consider can be found here: Finding the Right Fellowship For You.
Once you have an idea of what you are looking for, take a look at these general fellowship types, to see what is applicable to you:
Timeline and Application Process
Most post-graduate fellowships are for recent graduates with zero to five years of experience. Many deadlines are in the fall, but there are fellowships due throughout the school year. If you are looking for a fellowship to begin after graduation (and after the state bar exam), you should be prepared to have your application materials ready by the late summer of your second year, and into early fall of your third year. It is critical to start your research well in advance of the application deadlines. Students should start researching post-graduate fellowship opportunities and begin working on applications no later than the spring of their second year.