Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowships

The Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship Program supports first- and second-year law students, and third-year students after graduation, from Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Stanford Law School, and Yale Law School. The Ford Foundation works with these schools to identify and help develop new leaders in social justice.

Harvard Law School Contact
Lisa Williams, Associate Director, Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising
lwilliams@law.harvard.edu, 617-495-3108

SUMMER FELLOWSHIPS (1Ls, 2Ls)

Application Deadlines
    1Ls: Friday, December 6, 2013, 12PM (noon) 
    2Ls: Monday, September 30, 2013, 12PM (noon) 

POST-GRADUATE FELLOWSHIPS (3Ls)

Application Deadline 
Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 12 PM (noon)

 

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation, established through an initial $25,000 from Edsel Ford, is an independent, nonprofit, nongovernmental grantmaking organization that works to promote public welfare worldwide. Reflecting its original charter, Ford serves the public by strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. Ford currently makes grants in all 50 states and, through 10 regional offices around the world, supports programs in more than 50 countries. Over the years, their trustees have been drawn from the United States, Latin America, Africa and Asia and have brought experience in business, government, higher education, law, nonprofit management and the civic sector with a "diversity of approaches and continuity of purpose."

Summer Fellowship Program

Description

Ford Fellows participate in a 10-week summer internship at a Ford grantee organization whose work focuses broadly on legal analysis, litigation, and public policy advocacy. Twenty fellowships will be awarded to Harvard Law School students for summer 2014. The fellowship carries a stipend of $9,750.

Working closely with lawyers and advocates, fellows gain exposure to a variety of  practice settings and issue areas including reproductive rights, civil rights, gay, lesbian, and transgender rights, immigrants’ rights, prisoner and ex-offenders’ rights, voting rights, children’s rights, and other areas of concern with respect to social justice and equity. 

In September 2013, the Ford Foundation announced it will extend the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship program to include post-graduate fellowships. Three post-graduate fellowships will be awarded to Harvard Law School students this year. The post-graduate fellowship supports work with a Ford grantee organization with a base salary of $45,000 and benefits.

The fellowship program is a part of the Ford Foundation's Social Justice Fellowships Initiative. In 2013, the inaugural year of the program, the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship connected 100 law school students with grantee organizations across the United States and around the world. Ford Fellows will gather in fall 2013 for the first annual Ford Foundation Public Interest Law School Symposium at the Ford Foundation Headquarters in New York.

Eligibility

First- and second-year students are eligible for this fellowship.

Participating Grantee Organizations

Information about the participating Ford Foundation grantee organizations is available through the password-protected website, www.fordlawfellowships.org. Contact OPIA at opia@law.harvard.edu to request the Harvard Law School user name and password.

For a list of all organizations which hosted Ford Fellows in 2013, including the names and class years of each fellow, click here

Want to know where HLS Ford Fellows worked last summer? Download the list here, or see below

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit:

  •   Application form, including ranked list of up to five Ford grantee organizations where you would like to complete your fellowship
    • For organizations with separate locations, each location counts as a separate organization for purposes of your ranking. A student’s chances of successfully matching with an organization increases with the number of organizations ranked. 
  • Cover letters tailored to each organization to which you are applying
  • Resume
  • A personal statement of no more than 750 word, addressing the following questions:
    • Why do you want to participate in the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship program?
    • What do you want to accomplish as a Ford Fellow in summer 2014?
    • What examples of past leadership, or potential for future leadership, make you a competitive candidate for the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship?
  • Unofficial law school transcript (second-year law students only; first year law students do not need to submit a transcript)

Application Instructions 

Deadline for second-year law students: Monday, September 30, 2013 at 12 p.m. (noon).

Deadline for first-year law students: Friday, December 6, 2013, at 12p.m. (noon).

All application materials should be submitted by email to opia@law.harvard.edu. Materials should be attached as separate PDFs. Each file should be named as follows:

  •  Application form and ranked list of up to five grantee organizations: FirstName_LastName_application
  • Cover letters: FirstName_LastName_jobcode
    • NOTE: You must submit a separate cover letter in PDF for each organization you are applying to. For organizations with separate locations, each location counts as a separate organization for purposes of your ranking.You may submit up to five separate cover letters.  The cover letters should be named as FirstName_LastName_job code. Job codes can be found at www.fordlawfellowships.org.
  • Resume: FirstName_LastName_resume
  • Personal statement: FirstName_LastName_personalstatement
  • Law school transcript (second-year students only): FirstName_LastName_transcript

Harvard Law School applicants must also submit a hard copy of all application materials to the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest (Wasserstein Hall, Suite 4039).

Placements

A selection committee reviews all applications for the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship, and selects the 20 Harvard Law School students who will receive a summer fellowship.

Fellows are placed at a Ford grantee organization through a matching process which takes into account a fellow’s ranking of organizations as well as an organization’s ranking of fellows whose applications they reviewed.

Each fellow’s application materials are forwarded to the grantee organizations ranked in his or her application. Organizations will receive student applications (resume and cover letter only; organizations will not receive a student’s personal statement, ranked list, or transcript). Organizations may wish to conduct interviews.

Every effort will be made to match selected students with one of their ranked organizations. In the event a student is not matched, he or she will have the option to rank additional organizations to secure a placement. By submitting this application, the applicant agrees to accept an offer from any of his or her ranked choices. 

Application Timeline 

 

Second-Year Law Students First-Year Law Students 

Application deadline

September 30, 2013, 12PM

December 6, 2013, 12PM

 

Selected applicants notified

October 15, 2013

January 15, 2014

 

Deadline to accept or decline 

October 16, 2013

January 16, 2014

 

Results of match announced

November 11, 2013

February 13, 2014

 

Deadline to accept or decline  

November 12, 2013

February 14, 2014

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: I’m very interested in working for a particular Ford grantee organization. Should I apply to the organization directly and through the Ford Fellowship?
A: Yes. If you are interested in working for a particular Ford grantee organization, we encourage you to apply directly to the organization and rank them first in your Ford fellowship application. This demonstrates your interest to the organization, and allows you to pursue the position independently of the Ford Fellowship.

Q: Can I use the same cover letter in my application to the organization and my fellowship application?
A: Yes, however, we advise you not reference your application to the Ford Fellowship in the event that you do not move forward in the selection process. OPIA advisors are available to review your application materials by email at opia@law.harvard.edu.

Q: I’m only interested in working with two grantee organizations. What happens if I rank fewer than five organizations in my application?
A: If you rank fewer than five organizations in your application, and are not matched with any of them, you will not receive the fellowship.

If you rank five organizations in your application, and are not matched with any of them, OPIA staff will work with you and the Ford Foundation to find another appropriate grantee organization, and you will receive the fellowship.

Further Information for Applicants

The Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship is an opportunity to work at organizations around the globe and to become involved in a cohort of fellows at HLS and beyond.  

If you apply for the fellowship, be sure that your selected organizations match the kind of work you want to explore during your 1L or 2L summer. Students are encouraged to discuss their interest in the program and their application materials with an OPIA advisor before applying.

For information on how the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship affects the Student Contribution from Summer Income and Harvard Law School financial aid, please refer to the HLS Student Financial Services website.

Program Requirements

Students selected to participate in the Ford Foundation Law School Fellows participate in activities that enhance their connections with other fellows, and assist in the development of the program.

Activities include a series of required reading and response papers. Fellows also participate in an annual symposium, held at the Ford Foundation in New York, and assist with recruitment of fellows for the following year.


Post-Graduate Fellowships

The Ford Foundation Post-Graduate Fellowship in Public Interest Law will support law school graduates from Harvard Law School, NYU School of Law, Stanford Law School, and Yale Law School. The fellowship funds one year of full-time work at a Ford Foundation grantee organization beginning in fall 2014. Three fellows will be selected from each of the four law schools, for a total of twelve fellowships.

The fellowship carries a $45,000 stipend. The Ford Foundation will additionally reimburse up to $15,000 of the host organization’s costs for benefits.

Post-Graduate Fellows may join a Ford grantee organization in ordinary staff attorney positions, or work with a Ford grantee organization to develop a feasible one-year project which supports the organization’s mission.

Applicants are responsible for reaching out to the Ford grantee organization where they would like to conduct their fellowship, and securing a Letter of Support by the application deadline.

Grantee Organizations

Information about the participating Ford Foundation grantee organizations is available through the password-protected website, www.fordlawfellowships.org. Click here for user name and password.

HLS students may also approach Ford grantee organizations not included in the list above about potential sponsorship.   Note that the organization must be a current Ford grantee. Please speak to Lisa Williams if you are interested in reaching out to a Ford grantee organization not included in the linked list.

Eligibility

Third-year students are eligible for the post-graduate fellowship.

Post-Graduate Fellowship Timeline  

Application deadline

Thursday, February 13, 2014, 12PM (noon) 

 

Finalists notified

February 21, 2014

 

Interviews with finalists conducted at HLS

Last week of February, first week of March

 

Fellowship recipients notified

Monday, March 10, 2014

 

Ford Fellows begin work with grantee organizations

September 2014

Post-Graduate Fellowship Application Requirements

Applicants must submit:

  • Application Form
  • Personal Statement of no more than 750 words: The personal statement should not restate your resume. Instead, please address the following questions:
    • Why do you want to participate in the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship program?
    • What do you want to accomplish as a Ford Fellow?
    • Explain how you came to focus on this area of public interest law.
    • What examples of past leadership, or potential for future leadership, make you a competitive candidate for the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship?
    • Explain the skills and abilities you bring to the sponsoring organization that make you particularly suited to complete this project or work with this organization.
    • What are your aspirations for future public interest work? How will the Ford Fellowship help achieve these goals?
    • If you have developed a one-year project to support the work of the sponsoring organization, please describe the project.
  • Resume
  • Unofficial law school transcript
  • Three letters of recommendation
    • At least one recommendation must be from a HLS faculty member (clinical or podium); at least one recommendation must be from an employer; the third required letter may be from a source of your own choice.
  • Letter of Support from sponsoring grantee organization, including the following information:
      • Name and contact information for supervising attorney, and plan for supervision and training.
      • Description of work or project.
      • Organization’s location and mission.
      • Description of organization’s resources provided for the work or project and the need for a Ford Post-Graduate Fellow.

Post-Graduate Fellowship Application Instructions 

Application deadline: Thursday, February 13, 2014 at 12 PM (noon).

All application materials except letters of recommendation should be submitted by email to opia@law.harvard.edu. Materials should be attached as separate PDFs. Each file should be named as follows:

    • Application form: FirstName_LastName_application
    • Resume: FirstName_LastName_resume
    • Personal statement: FirstName_LastName_personalstatement
    • Law school transcript: FirstName_LastName_transcript
    • Letter of Support from sponsoring organization: FirstName_LastName_support

Harvard Law School applicants must also submit a hard copy of all application materials except letters of recommendation to the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest (Wasserstein Hall, Suite 4039).

Letters of Recommendation: All letters of recommendation must be received by the application deadline. Recommenders must submit their letters online at: http://form.jotformpro.com/form/33163556914962

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Who is eligible to apply? 
A. Current HLS 3Ls are eligible. Joint-degree students completing their degree by May 2014 are eligible. 

Q. Can a sponsoring organization commit to more than one applicant?  
A. Yes, as long as the organization has the capacity to support, mentor and supervise the fellows it hosts.

Q. When must a fellow begin his/her fellowship?
A. Fellows are expected to begin work the fall after their graduation. Fellows should negotiate a specific start date with their host organization. 

Q. What are the eligible host organizations? 
A. Only Ford Grantee Organizations are eligible to host fellows. Contact Lisa Williams at lwilliams@law.harvard.edu if you are interested in applying to a grantee organization not listed here.

Q. Who will evaluate my application materials?
A. A committee including HLS professors of law and clinical professors of law will evaluate application materials from HLS students. Finalists selected by the committee will participate in interviews with committee members during the last week of February and the first week of March.

Past Ford Fellows from Harvard Law School

See Helios for reviews of host organizations by HLS students.

2013

   

Name

Class 

Ford Grantee Organization

Location

Julina Guo

2015

Beijing Yilian Legal Aid and Study Center of Labor

Beijing, China

Nicole Summers

2014

Center for Constitutional Rights

New York, NY

Ariel Nelson

2015

Center for Justice and Accountability

San Francisco, CA

Ruchi Shah

2015

Center for Reproductive Rights

New York, NY

Meghan Michael

2015

Human Rights First

Washington, DC

Sarah Wheaton

2014

International Commission of Jurists

Geneva, Switzerland

Lindsey Kaley

2014

LatinoJustice

New York, NY

Elizabeth Floyd

2014

Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights

San Francisco, CA

Melanie Berdecia

2015

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

Washington, DC

Elizabeth Hadaway

2015

Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund

San Antonio, TX

Sean Hamidi

2014

National Day Laborer Organizing Network

Los Angeles, California

Abbey Marr

2014

National Domestic Workers Alliance

San Francisco, CA

Melanie Zuch

2014

National Economic and Social Rights Initiative

New York, NY

Conor Ahern

2015

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

Washington, DC

Maggie Dunbar

2015

National Partnership for Women and Families

Washington, DC

Jenna Prochaska

2014

Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project

New York, NY

Morgan Everhart

2015

New Orleans Workers’ Center for Racial Justice

New Orleans, LA

Nicholas Pastan

2015

New Visions for Public Schools

New York, NY

Donna Harati

2015

Ohio Justice & Policy Center

Cincinatti, OH

Megumi Tsutsui

2014

Public Advocates

San Francisco, CA

Matthew Nickell

2014

Public Advocates

San Francisco, CA

Adriana Benedict

2014

Public Citizen Foundation

Washington, DC

Michael Decker

2014

Public Citizen Foundation

Washington, DC

Jean Strout

2014

Women’s Link Worldwide

Bogota, Colombia

Maryum Jordan

2014

Women’s Link Worldwide

Madrid, Spain

Last modified: January 30, 2014

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