Post-graduate fellowships are designed to fund non-profit/public interest work. Most formal fellowships aim to resolve a specific problem (predatory lending) or provide assistance to a designated population (refugees). While many people know of Skadden Fellowships and Equal Justice Works Fellowships , literally thousands of fellowship and other funding opportunities exist, including: project-based fellowships, organization-based fellowships, policy fellowships, teaching fellowships, research fellowships, non-legal fellowships, firm-sponsored fellowships, entrepreneurial grants/angel investments, and crowdsourcing.
Many fellowships are extremely competitive and the application process requires a considerable investment of time. Although it’s never too early, second-year students should be thinking about ideas for project-based and entrepreneurial fellowships. Those students need to vet ideas during their second summer with practitioners, community resources and faculty to gauge need, receptiveness and to identify possible host organizations. The development of the project may affect spring semester course selections.
Start with some background reading available at www.psjd.org. Prospective applicants should thoroughly review materials available here http://www.psjd.org/Postgraduate_Fellowships, particularly the application deadline calendar and the Yale Guide to Public Interest Fellowships. Organizations seeking students to sponsor for Skadden and EJW applications may advertise for prospective candidates in the job postings on PSJD (the CSO subscribes on your behalf; you just need to sign up).
Some additional web searching would be helpful. Many major national organizations’ websites and local bar associations’ websites provide information about available fellowships. Once you’ve identified areas of interest, you should experiment with keyword searches that become increasingly specific to the kind of work you’d like to do or the populations you’d like to serve. The Foundation Center http://foundationcenter.org/ is a great resource for a broad range of funding and maintains walk-in centers in major American cities.
Interested in fellowships? Speak with your CSO Counselor.