The Arthur Garfield Hays Civil Liberties Program

How to Apply

The application process is open to all second-year NYU law students. Selection is based on written materials and interviews; criteria include legal ability and commitment to civil liberties. The Fellows are selected in a participatory process that includes interviews by the co-directors, the current Hays Fellows and former Fellows.

Applications should include the following material:

1. A personal resume that includes:

  • A reference for each job you have held since college
  • A reference from at least one NYU Law professor
  • Telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of all persons named
  • Highlighted names of three references who best know your work.

2. Your law school courses and grades, including

  • Names of instructors for each course
  • Courses you are taking in the spring semester and the name of the instructor.
  • Please advise us promptly, in writing, as late third semester grades become available.

3. A sample of legal writing.

  • Use anything you have personally written.
  • We strongly prefer something other than a Lawyering memo.

4. A letter of no more than two single-spaced pages explaining why you believe you are qualified to be a Hays Fellow.

5. Any other information you think would be helpful in appraising your application.

6. A photo of yourself

7. The following activities must be noted on the application, since the time commitment of serving as a Hays Fellow generally precludes the doing of other demanding projects.

  • Outside Paid Employment;
  • Senior Editorships of Journals and Other Demanding Extracurricular Activity;
  • Clinic Enrollment or Any Other Activity that Requires Periods of Time away from the Law School;
  • Root-Tilden-Kern Scholarship;
  • Merit Scholarships

8. Your fellowship preferences. See the list of fellowships.

  • A single application is made to the Program for all eight fellowships, but applicant preferences will be taken into account in the awards that are made. 
  • We try to award fellowships linked to a particular area of civil liberties to applicants with some background in that area. Because we believe it is desirable for all fellows to obtain experience in more than one area, we discourage full-year assignments.
  • All decisions on assignments are made in close consultation with the fellows.

Selection Process

Selections will be based on demonstrated interest and effectiveness in civil liberties or public interest law, academic record, writing and research skills, and recommendations from faculty and supervisors. We seek a group of Fellows who are diverse, collegial and independent thinkers willing to engage. Six fellowships are usually awarded annually.

The Directors and current Fellows review all applications in the light of the student’s demonstrated interest and effectiveness in civil liberties and other aspects of public interest law, research and writing skills, and academic record. The Directors and current Fellows then meet to discuss all applications and to select about a dozen candidates for an interview with Professors Sylvia Law and Helen Hershkoff.  After those interviews, the Directors meet to select the new Fellows.

Please note: Root-Tilden-Kern Scholars are eligible for Hays Fellowships, but will not be selected absent exceptional circumstances because of the special opportunities provided to them in the Root program. The stipends for students who hold Root or Merit Scholarships will be reviewed individually. They should discuss their situation with one of the faculty directors.