Applying for the Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship

Applying for the Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship

The Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship provides two graduating NYU Law JD students with the opportunity to spend one year working with an innovative human rights organization.

Applications for 2020-2021 Masiyiwa-Bernstein fellowships are now open!  Graduating NYU Law 3Ls are invited to apply to spend the year working with Human Rights First and the Community Justice Project.  The application deadline is Wednesday 2/12.  Interviews will be held on Tuesday 2/18 between 9am and 1pm.

Application Requirements

Applicants must submit the following materials:

1) a short personal statement (500 words maximum) describing the applicant’s relevant experience, interest in the work of the organization, and future aspirations;

2) two letters of recommendation, including one letter from a current or former professor or other person associated with NYU School of Law and one letter from a supervisor or employer familiar with the applicant’s human rights work or recent work experience;

3) a résumé

4) law school transcript

5) writing sample

Application Deadlines, Selections Timeline, and Instructions

Applications Due: Wednesday 2/12 by EOD

Finalists Notified: Friday 2/14 by EOD.

NYU Interviews: Tuesday 2/18, between 9am-1pm.

Partner Organization Interviews: Week of 2/24

Decisions: Week of 3/2 (tentatively).


Submit all materials by e-mail to  Recommenders may email letters directly to this email address, or mail them to:

Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship Selection Committee
Public Interest Law Center
NYU School of Law
245 Sullivan Street
New York, NY 10012


The Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellowship Selection Committee will review applications and select finalists to be interviewed by the organizations. Factors the committee will consider include:

a) the applicant’s human rights experience (in law school courses, extracurricular activities, summer jobs, and full-time work);

b) the applicant’s leadership capabilities and likely future commitment to human rights work; and

c) the applicant’s interest in and commitment to the organization’s work.

About the 2020-2021 Partner Organizations and Positions

Human Rights First

Human Rights First (HRF) is an independent advocacy and action organization that challenges America to live up to its ideals. They believe American leadership is essential in the global struggle for human rights, so they press the U.S. government and private companies to respect human rights and the rule of law. When they fail, HRF steps in to demand reform, accountability and justice. Around the world, they work where they can best harness American influence to secure core freedoms.

The 2020-2021 Masiyiwa-Bernstein Fellow at Human Rights First will work in one of three critical areas:

  • Advancing the use of targeted sanctions to hold the world’s most corrupt actors and human rights abusers accountable for their actions
  • Rebuilding U.S. legal and adjudication systems to ensure the protection of refugees through asylum and resettlement
  • Leveraging technology to confront a range of human rights abuses and abusers

The precise nature of the work varies by project, but may include

  • conducting legal research, legal analysis, and field/desk research and/or interviews
  • drafting and editing material for memoranda, public reports and other written advocacy materials
  • engaging with representatives of other nongovernmental organizations, current and former government officials, pro bono attorneys, and others to advance advocacy objectives

The ideal candidate will have:

  • excellent research, analysis, and writing skills
  • strong interpersonal and communication skills
  • demonstrated interest in and informed knowledge of relevant issues
  • demonstrated ability to engage with a variety of external audiences, possibly including refugees, human rights defenders, government officials, NGO representatives, pro bono attorneys, and others
  • the ability to manage multiple projects and work across organizational lines
  • depending upon area of interest, fluency in Spanish and/or other languages

Community Justice Project

The Community Justice Project collaborates closely with community organizers and grassroots groups in low-income communities of color because they believe that a more democratic, more just and more equal society can only truly come about through grassroots organizing and social movement. They are a part of that social movement in South Florida and strive to support organizing through our varied and often innovative legal work. The Community Justice Project works in the areas of immigration, housing, climate (particular as it connects to housing), workers rights, bail, and disaster recovery.

Their work (and that of the fellow) varies by the particular campaigns. Work can range from strategic thought partnership on legal advocacy, litigation, use of international mechanisms, use of creative mediums, and policy advocacy.

The Community Justice Project prefers candidates with demonstrated experience in social justice and social movements. Strong preference for candidates with background in organizing. Strong preference for candidates who speak Haitian Creole or Spanish

This fellowship is located in Miami, FL