Patiño Fellowship

The Tony Patiño Fellowship is a prestigious merit award created to support law students whose personal, educational and professional experiences exemplify leadership, character, academic success, good citizenship and initiative.

The Tony Patiño Fellowship was established by Francesca Turner in memory of her son Antenor Patiño, Jr., a law student who passed away on December 26, 1973. Tony believed deeply in helping his fellow students. The Tony Patiño Fellowship operates collaboratively at the University of Chicago Law School, Columbia Law School, and U.C. Hastings Law School in California.

Each year, one or two Fellows are selected from the incoming class of students. Financial need is not a consideration. Candidates are selected from a diverse array of personal and professional backgrounds. Recipients receive a financial award of at least $10,000 per year for their law school education, and are invited to participate in Fellowship events, including quarterly dinners with faculty members.

How to apply

The online application provides a secure form to submit all required information and additional documents (essay, resume and three letters of recommendation) to the Fellowship Selection Committee.

The 2022 online application can be found here.

Application deadline: June 18, 2022   

Please note all materials, including letters of recommendation, can be sent to the Admissions and Financial Aid Office via email by deadline date above. The application consists of the following primary parts:

  • An application packet documenting your leadership, public service and work experience
  • A brief autobiographical essay (1,500 word maximum)
  • Resume
  • 3 personal references (these individuals may be the same as your recommenders)
  • 3 letters of recommendation  (letters may be sent in along with your application packet or sent directly by your recommenders to the Admissions and Financial Aid Office)
  • Signed statement of understanding

What it means to be a Tony Patiño Fellow

Throughout their law school education, Tony Patiño Fellows are supported in a variety of ways:

  1. Financial assistance. Each Fellow-Elect receives a financial stipend of at least $10,000 per year for his/her law school education. This stipend is independent of any law school-provided financial aid the Fellow-Elect may receive.
  2. A ready network of support. Patiño Fellows join a network of accomplished students and alumni who can help ease the transition to law school, as well as professional opportunities thereafter.
  3. An opportunity to engage with the law school community. The Fellowship sponsors several events each year, including quarterly dinners with faculty members and lunches with other Fellows-Elect.

What experience makes for a strong Fellowship application?

Applicants from all personal, educational and professional backgrounds are encouraged to apply for the Fellowship. There are not specific characteristics or experiences required to be selected. However, candidates with experiences exemplifying the following characteristics often make for the strongest candidates:

  • Leadership
  • Academic achievement
  • Ethical and honorable conduct
  • Good moral character
  • Dedication to humane values
  • Past participation in public service activities
  • Well-adjusted personality
  • Sound judgment

Financial need is not a factor for consideration.

Patiño FAQs

When is the application due?

The application and all accompanying materials must be received by the Admissions and Financial Aid Office by the deadline in July.

Where do I send my application?

Email all application materials to Mailed materials and faxes will not be accepted. 

Can my recommenders send their letters of recommendation directly to the Law School?

Yes. You can either email your letters along with your application or your recommenders can email them directly to the Law School at

Can I use the same personal statement and/or letters of recommendation for the Patino Fellowship that I used in my admissions application?

The Patino Committee will receive a copy of your admissions application. Therefore, submitting duplicative materials would not be to your advantage.

Do Fellows need to work in public service after graduation?

No. There are no restrictions on Fellows' career choices. Fellows are expected to apply their legal training to the broader good in whatever career paths they choose. Given the mission of the Fellowship, many Fellows are involved in public service work.

What prior experiences are necessary for selection?

There is no single "right" background for a Patino Fellow. Instead, the selection committee focuses upon how a candidate's background reflects the selection criteria.

Is financial need taken into account in selecting Fellows?

No. Financial need is not a factor for consideration. The financial stipend Fellows receive is independent of any scholarship provided by the Law School.

How many Fellows are selected?

One to two new Fellows are selected from each incoming class at the University of Chicago Law School.

What is required for the Fellows-Elect?

The Fellowship is awarded on a year-by-year basis. This means that each Fellow must renew his/her status at the end of each academic year. Renewal is awarded based upon, among other factors, the Fellow-Elect's personal and academic performance and his/her summer work. A Fellow-Elect's summer work should either be in the legal field or in a public service position.

What is the difference between a Fellow and a Fellow-Elect?

Fellow-Elect refers to current law students. Once a Fellow-Elect has received renewals for his/her second and third year of law school, and has received a Juris Doctor degree, the Fellow-Elect becomes a Tony Patino Fellow.