Required materials may be different for each fellowship application. Organization-based fellowships generally request the usual job application materials: resume, cover letter, law school transcript, writing sample, and references or letters of recommendations.
Project-based fellowships typically require additional documents: personal narrative, project description, and a letter of support from the sponsoring organization.
Regardless of what materials are required in your fellowship package, be sure that each item you submit is accurate and free of errors. Adhere to all application requirements. Include every document requested, and refrain from including those that are not. Meet all page and word limits.
Resume: Demonstrate your commitment to public interest/public service, and your qualifications for the particular fellowship. The more details you can provide to show your long-standing commitment, the stronger your application. Keeping your resume to one page is less important that adequately describing your public interest/public service work, volunteer/community service experience, and relevant school activities.
Cover Letter: Tailor each cover letter to the specific fellowship and employing organization. Keep it simple, and list all your enclosures clearly to orient the reviewer to what is included in your application.
Personal Statement: If given the opportunity to provide a personal statement, use it to provide the reviewer a fuller portrait of you beyond your resume. Dig deeper to show who you are and what you are all about. Detail your public interest/public service experience and qualifications. Convince the reader that you have the skills, drive, and passion to succeed in the fellowship and on your project. You can describe academic and personal life experiences that explain why you want to work with this particular organization, project, issue, or community. Whether or not you have extensive public interest experience, explain your background and your interest in this particular fellowship, and highlight your strengths. If you are not asked to submit a personal narrative, use your cover letter to highlight these strengths.
Project Description (for project-based fellowships): When applying for project-based fellowships, you will need to submit a project description or proposal that fully describes the project you will be working on during the term of your fellowship. Be as detailed as possible in explaining the project or issue that you will tackle, the background and context for the project, and why it is important. Think about what impact your project can make. Delineate a step-by-step approach that you will take to address the problem or issue and come up with “solutions.” Provide a timeline for implementation. Set out realistic goals and objectives for the project, and consider short-term and long-term ideas. Your host organization will likely work with you on developing this project so that it is in line with the organization’s mission and services. Connect with the host organization, and have them review your materials.
For tips on drafting effective project-based fellowship applications, see the PSLawNet document “Project-Based Fellowship Applications: Take Cues from Those Who Know” available under the “Document Library” on www.USFLawLink.com or at www.pslawnet.org.
Recommendations: Most fellowship programs request letters of recommendation as opposed to a list of references. It is important to choose recommenders who can vouch for your legal skills, personal strengths and the quality of your work, as well as your commitment to the work. You should talk with your recommenders/references about your plans for a fellowship, and provide them a copy of your resume, a description of the fellowship, your project proposal (if applicable) and the timeframe of your applications. Give your recommenders ample time to complete your recommendation letters.
Additionally, a letter of support from the sponsoring organization may be required. This is a chance for the sponsor to show their strong support for you, reiterate the value of your project, and their intent to assist you throughout your fellowship.