PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships
Any 3L and Judicial Law Clerk who has not been employed for post-graduate work at another organization prior to clerking may apply for a fellowship at an existing nonprofit or government agency.
Up to four spots are open to LL.M. and S.J.D. students. Because the mission of the PSVF is to provide opportunities for HLS students/graduates who are trying to launch their public interest careers but have not yet been able to secure a position, LL.M.s are eligible to apply if the student obtained:
- An LL.B. (or equivalent) fewer than five years before May 1st of the year the student matriculated at HLS.
- An LL.B. (or an equivalent) plus an Advanced Law Degree (e.g., a J.D. or an LL.M.) fewer than two years before May 1st of the year the student matriculated at HLS. For purposes of determining eligibility, post-LL.B. bar training certificates (e.g., B.L. or PCLL) do not count as “Advanced Law Degrees.”
Exception: LL.M. applicants from countries where the legal system is in such turmoil that they could not acquire legal experience will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Requests for exceptions should be submitted well in advance of the application deadline (no less than a month) to email@example.com as they need to be vetted by a committee of experts.
The selection process consists of an online application, followed by interviews for those selected as finalists. We highly recommend that you discuss your proposed placement/project with a member of the OPIA staff before applying and meet with a member of the OPIA staff for interviewing practice and feedback prior to one’s interview. Ultimately, preparedness for the interview is the responsibility of the applicant. Fellowship recipients will be selected by an HLS committee of faculty and senior administrators outside of OPIA, based on the following criteria:
- Potential for an outstanding career in public service
- The extent to which prior experiences have prepared the applicant for the proposed placement
- Appropriateness of the position as a career launcher (i.e., whether the proposed position would likely lead to more permanent employment, either with the host organization or through networking assisted by the host organization)
- The extent of prior efforts to secure funding or other postgraduate jobs before applying for the PSVF (documented in the Prior Efforts section of the Organization-Based Fellowship Application).
- If a student intends to limit their job search geographically for family or personal reasons, that student is required to meet with OPIA staff prior to applying in order to discuss his or her search, intended to put the student in the best possible position to succeed in the application process and to provide guidance to the student on the appropriate scope of the job search given family or personal circumstances. The consultation meeting is mandatory, and failure to schedule it will mean that your application will not be considered for a PSVF Org-Based Fellowship.
- Because students sometimes have family or personal reasons to limit the geographic scope of their search, the PSVF selection committee will consider – together with all other factors in the student’s application – the breadth and assiduousness of the candidate’s job search prior to applying, and any reasons for limiting the scope of that search. To the extent guidance is provided at the consultation meeting regarding the appropriate scope of the applicant’s job search, the applicant’s efforts to implement that guidance may also be considered by the PSVF committee in making grant determinations. The PSVF is not, however, bound by any guidance provided by OPIA.
There is no preference for work on a particular issue. Among competing applicants, the PSVF prioritizes projects that address the greatest need and/or possess the greatest potential for impact. In previous years, between 15 and 20 of these fellowships were awarded per application cycle.
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