Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship

NYU Law is excited to participate in the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship program, which will provide students with the opportunity to work with Ford Foundation grantee organizations in the U.S. and abroad during summer 2014.

Fellowships are open to first- and second-year law students and will provide each Fellow with a $9,750 stipend for a 10-week summer internship in the field of public interest.  This year, a total of 20 summer fellowships will be awarded to NYU students.  Working closely with lawyers and advocates, students will be exposed to a variety of diverse practice settings and gain insight into such topics as reproductive rights; civil rights; gay, lesbian, and transgender rights; immigrants' rights; prisoners' and ex-offenders' rights, voting rights; children’s rights; and other issues of social justice and equity.

The fellowship program is a part of the Ford Foundation's Social Justice Fellowships Initiative.  This program supports public interest fellows from NYU School of Law, Harvard Law School, Stanford Law School and Yale Law School for a total of $1.75 million in funding per year.

About the Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than 75 years it has worked with courageous people on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

Application Information for Summer Program

Information about the participating Ford Foundation grantee organizations is available at this password-protected website: www.fordlawfellowships.orgThe login information will be provided to current NYU 1L's and 2L's at the fellowship information sessions (see below for dates) or by emailing Sarah Hudson-Plush at

To apply for the fellowship, students must submit:

1) Resume 

2) Personal Statement (750 word maximum) that addresses the following:

a) Why do you want to participate in the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship program?
b) What do you want to accomplish as a Fellow next summer?
c) Description of past examples of leadership and potential for future leadership.

3) Ranked list of the organizations at which the applicant would like to intern this summer

NOTE: 2L applicants must rank between 1 and 5 organizations.  1L applicants must rank between 3 and 5 organizations.  For organizations with separate locations, each location counts as a separate organization for purposes of your ranking.  One's chances of successfully matching with an organization increases with the number of organizations ranked. 

4) Law school transcript (2L's only - 1L's should not submit a transcript)

5) A separate cover letter tailored to each organization to which an applicant is applying

All application materials should be emailed to  Materials should be attached as separate pdf documents and named as follows:

a) Resume = firstname_lastname_resume (exp: Jane_Doe_resume)

b) Personal Statement = firstname_lastname_personalstatement

c) Ranked list = firstname_lastname_ranking

d) Transcript (2L's only) = firstname_lastname_transcript

e) A cover letter for each organization to which one is applying should be submitted as a separate document, so an applicant will submit up to five separate cover letters.  The cover letters should be named as firstname_lastname_job code.  The "job code" for each organization is available at

Select NYU students will have a short interview at the law school with a selection committee.

Students selected by the law school as Fellows will participate in a matching process to determine their organization placement. The computerized matching process will take into account the students' ranking of organizations and the organizations' ranking of students.  Prior to the match, organizations will receive student applications (consisting of resume and cover letter only - organizations will not receive the personal statement, ranked list, or transcript) and 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 Deadlines

   Second-Year Law Students  First-Year Law Students
Application Deadline  Monday, September 30, 2013 at 5:00 PM  Wednesday, November 27, 2013 at 5:00 PM
Selected Applicants notified  October 15, 2013  January 15, 2014
Selected Applicants confirm acceptance  October 16, 2013  January 16, 2014
Results of Match  November 11, 2013  February 13, 2014
Fellows accept placement  November 12, 2013  February 14, 2014

Fellowship Program Requirements

Once selected for this program, Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellows will be required to engage in activities designed to enhance connection with other Fellows and to assist with development of the program. 

1) Prior to the start of the summer internship, each Fellow will be required to read the following:

a. Quigley, "Letter To a Law Student Interested in Social Justice" (2007)
b. Scheingold and Sarat, "Something to Believe In, Politics, Professionalism, and Cause Lawyering," Chapter 2 (Cause Lawyering, Civic Professionalism, and the Organized Legal Profession: A Brief History)
c. Bellow, "Steady Work: A Practitioner’s Reflections on Political Lawyering," 31 Harv. C. R. – C. L. L.  Rev 297 (1996) 
d. Bell, "Serving Two Masters," 85 Yale L. J. 470 (1976)

2) Throughout the summer, each Fellow will be required to write three reflection papers, which will be submitted to NYU Law and address:

a. Reflection Paper #1.  Submit during the first week of internship, describing organization’s mission, supervision structure for internship, personal and professional goals for summer internship, and a “response” to any or all of the readings.
b. Reflection Paper #2.  Submit during Week 5 of internship, describing major projects, assessing whether the goals described in Reflection Paper #1 are being or are likely to be accomplished or whether they need to be adjusted, analyzing an issue related to the structure of the internship organization and an issue raised in one or more of the readings.
c. Reflection paper #3.  Submit during the last week of internship providing an overview of accomplishments, describing the most surprising aspect of the internship, and assessing accomplishment of goals.  (This is separate and distinct from an evaluation of the organization.)

3) Internship Evaluation

Fellows will complete the same internship evaluation completed by other NYU students who receive summer funding.

4) Program Support

Each Fellow will be required to assist with recruitment of students for the following year. 

5) Fall Colloquium Attendance at Ford Foundation

During the fall after the summer internship, the Ford Foundation will host a colloquium in New York for the Fellows to meet in person, to continue their learning from the summer, and to further deepen the connections of the cohort group.

Interested in Learning More?

Visit the Ford Foundation's website:

Current NYU first- and second-year law students are invited to attend an information session:

  • 2L Information Session: Tuesday, September 17, 2013, 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM - Furman Hall, Room 216
  • 1L Information Session: Tuesday, November 5, 2013, 11:00 AM to 11:50 AM - Furman Hall, Room 216

Please direct any questions about the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship to Sarah Hudson-Plush at