University of Chicago Law School Postgraduate Public Interest Law Fellowship
The University of Chicago Law School offers a limited number of competitive, one-year, postgraduate public interest law fellowships.
The University of Chicago Public Interest Law Fellows will serve full-time at eligible public service host organizations for a term of one year (twelve months), beginning no later than the autumn after graduation. Eligible host organizations may include nonprofit public interest law organizations and governmental public service entities. However, judicial clerkships, judicial internships/externships, work on political campaigns, and positions at a university (including research assistants, university counsel, or clinical positions) are not eligible for this program.
Applications are considered by The University of Chicago Law School’s Public Interest Fellowship Selection Committee. In reviewing each application, the Committee will consider several factors, including the applicant’s demonstrated record of commitment to public service; the applicant’s public service experience during and before law school; evidence that the applicant plans to pursue a long-term career in public interest law; academic achievements; leadership capabilities; and the quality of professional references. In addition, the Committee will strive to assess the mission, goals, history and accomplishments of the proposed host organization, and to evaluate the community need for the proposed fellowship and its potential impact on the host organization.
Applicants must identify and secure the agreement of an eligible host organization and include proof of that agreement in their application, as detailed below.
Each fellowship includes financial support of $50,000 for the fellowship year. Fellows must provide periodic progress reports, including a final report at the end of the fellowship year. The Fellowship program is made possible, in large part, through the generosity of alumni donors. Progress reports and other relevant materials may be shared with fellowship donors, when appropriate.
How to Apply
A complete application must include six items:
1) Your resume or CV.
2) A short statement. Applicants should describe, in approximately 1,000 words or fewer, (1) your prior experiences in public service or public interest law, as well as any of your prior experiences that have demonstrated or encouraged your commitment to public service; and (2) your aspirations for future public interest work. Rather than restating the content of your resume, applicants are encouraged to submit a topical or thematic essay.
3) Your proposed plan for the fellowship year. Together with the sponsoring organization, you must either develop a new project, or identify ongoing work or an ongoing project upon which you will work. This plan should clearly identify your host organization; the name and contact information of your immediate supervisor in the host organization; and a short statement of the entity’s organizational purpose and mission. The plan must include (1) a brief overview of the project; (2) a brief explanation of the need for the project; (3) individual goals to be met by the project, how the goals will further the public interest, and how they will be accomplished in one year’s time. Applicants should submit a proposed timeline for the year.
4) Your law school transcript(s). Your transcript need not be an official transcript.
5) At least three professional references. You should not list your proposed host organization supervisor among these references. Rather, your references should be current or former professors or employers (preferably a direct supervisor) or someone familiar with your recent job experiences and/or legal work. Note: You do not need reference letters; you need only to list those references with appropriate contact information.
6) A separate letter from your host organization confirming its commitment to host you. In addition to providing any general materials about its work, the sponsoring organization should provide (1) a general statement of its organizational purpose and mission; (2) a statement of its interest in and commitment to the project, along with any general plans for the Fellow’s training or professional development; (3) the proposed work environment for the Fellow, describing individual or shared work space, support staff and other resources; (4) the name of the Fellow’s immediate supervisor and plans for supervision, along with the supervisor’s experience in the substantive area of the fellowship project; and (5) whether the organization will be able to provide health insurance benefits for the Fellow. If the organization will not be providing health insurance coverage, the organization should provide a clear explanation (e.g., that the proposed Fellow has waived coverage). If applicable, all host organizations must provide malpractice coverage to cover any Fellow’s activities during the course of the Fellowship.
Application information is available each year on Symplicity beginning in December. Applications will NOT be considered on a rolling basis.
Postgraduate Public Interest Law Fellows
University of Chicago Law School 2020-2021 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Morgan Gehrls – Beyond Legal Aid (Chicago, IL)
- Beth Macnab – Legal Aid Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Colin Parts – Sierra Club (Washington, DC)
- M. Wynn – ACLU of New Mexico (Albuquerque, NM)
University of Chicago Law School 2019-2020 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Sari Amiel – Sierra Club (Washington, DC)
- Chelsea Kendall – Conservation Law Foundation (Boston, MA)
- Erica Mail – Lawndale Christian Legal Center (Chicago, IL)
- Joseph Nunn – Brennan Center for Justice (New York, NY)
- Derek Tisler – Brennan Center for Justice (Washington, DC)
- Aaron Tucek – ACLU of Kentucky (Louisville, KY)
University of Chicago Law School 2018-2019 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Sarah Dobrofsky – Equip for Equality (Chicago, IL)
- Eian Katz – Public International Law & Policy Group (Washington, DC)
- Nabihah Maqbool – Muslim Advocates (Washington, DC)
- Christina McClintock – Office of the Illinois Attorney General, Environmental Bureau (Chicago, IL)
- Lauren Piette – Earthjustice Coal Program (Chicago, IL)
- Sophia Schloen – Lawndale Christian Legal Center (Chicago, IL)
- Andrew Sowle – James B. Moran Center (Chicago, IL)
University of Chicago Law School 2017-2018 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Dylan Cowart – American Civil Liberties Union (Pittsburgh, PA)
- Kate Miller – Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Chicago, IL)
- Joshua Phillips – Legal Services of Eastern Missouri (St. Louis, MO)
- Samantha Pivetz Marcy – United States Senate/Senate Judiciary Committee (Washington, DC)
- Steven Scheuer – Uptown People's Law Center (Chicago, IL)
- Naiara Testai – National Immigrant Justice Center (Chicago, IL)
University of Chicago Law School 2016-2017 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Cornelius Cornellsen – Amnesty International/Mikva Fellowship (New York, NY)
- Ainsley Dowling – ACLU of Hawai'i (Honolulu,HI)
- Joel Kim – Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights (San Francisco, CA)
- Elise Meyer – Public International Law & Policy Group (Washington, D.C.)
- Nick Oliver – Sonoma County Counsel (Santa Rosa, CA)
- Brian Pflaum – Equip for Equality (Chicago, IL)
- Andrew Sullivan – Shelby County Public Defender/Gideon’s Promise (Memphis, TN)
University of Chicago Law School 2015-2016 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Emma Cone-Roddy – AIDS Legal Council of Chicago (Chicago, IL)
- Evan Feinauer – Natural Resources Defense Council (Chicago, IL)
- Monica Ghosh – Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Chicago, IL)
- Sara Haley – Shelby County Public Defender/Gideon’s Promise (Memphis, TN)
- Changho Kim – Human Rights Now (Tokyo, Japan)
- Kira Wilpone-Jordan – Lawyers’ Committee for Better Housing/Mikva Fellowship (Chicago, IL)
University of Chicago Law School 2014-2015 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Spencer Eldred, Natural Resources Defense Council (Santa Monica, CA)
- Pedro Gerson, Instituto Mexicano para la Competitividad (Miguel Hidalgo, Mexico City)
- Karen Orzechowski, Orleans Public Defenders/Gideon's Promise (New Orleans, LA)
- Priyanko Paul, Equip for Equality (Chicago, IL)
- Christine Ricardo, National Center for Law & Economic Justice (New York, NY)
- Kenneth Stalkfleet, Chicago Legal Clinic /Mikva Fellowship (Chicago, IL)
University of Chicago Law School 2013-2014 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Ethan Frenchman, Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem (New York, NY)
- Bob Hammond, Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Chicago, IL)
- Chaclyn Hunt, The Invisible Institute Youth/Police Project (Chicago, IL)
- Laura Thornton, Louisiana Capital Assistance Center (New Orleans, LA)
- Erin Whalen, Earthjustice (Philadelphia, PA)
- Tammy Zhu, San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project & San Francisco Public Defender (San Francisco, CA)
University of Chicago Law School 2012-13 Postgraduate Public Interest Fellows
- Bethany Fisher, Natural Resources Defense Council (New York, NY)
- Jenni James, Animal Legal Defense Fund (Cotati, CA)
- Carl Newman, Domestic Violence Legal Clinic (Chicago, IL)
- Eve Rips, Chicago Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Chicago, IL)
- Aimee Rodriguez, Equip for Equality (Chicago, IL)
- Renee Williams, National Housing Law Project (San Francisco, CA)
The Law School Postgraduate Public Interest Law Fellowship Program would not be possible without the generous support of our alumni.