History and Purpose

The Wasserstein Public Interest Fellows Program brings outstanding public interest attorneys to Harvard Law School to counsel students about public service. The Program recognizes exemplary lawyers who have distinguished themselves in public interest work and who can assist students who are considering similar career paths. Public interest is defined broadly to include law-related work for governmental agencies, legal services, prosecutors, public defenders, private public interest law firms, nonprofit organizations and international organizations that provide legal assistance, conduct research, or engage in other activities aimed at advancing the common good.  Please see our list of former Wasserstein Fellows to learn more about the program's history.

Each Wasserstein Fellow spends one to two days on campus meeting individually with Harvard Law students to advise them about public interest career options. The students sign up in advance at OPIA for forty five-minute counseling sessions. In these sessions, Fellows focus on each student’s individual career aspirations and concerns. Prior to the campus visit, each Fellow prepares an informational packet including a brief autobiographical sketch, a description of a “typical” workday, and a description of the Fellow’s organization. Fellows also frequently participate in public speaking engagements, such as lunch meetings with interested student groups, panels discussing their areas of practice, or guest teaching in classes.

Fellows are chosen by a committee appointed by the Dean of the Law School, and their activities are coordinated by OPIA. Each Fellow receives an honorarium of $500 in addition to funding for travel, hotel, and other expenses.

The Public Interest Fellows Program was created in 1990 in honor of Morris Wasserstein through a generous gift from his family.

Last modified: June 27, 2014

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