Law Research Program At Georgetown University Law Center 2017, Washington, USA

Publish Date: Oct 28, 2016

Deadline: Jan 06, 2017

About the Fellowship

Research Fellows are required to be in residence at Georgetown for a two-year period. The fellowship permits fellows to complete a full year of research and writing before they apply to teaching positions. During a fellow's tenure at Georgetown, he or she will be expected to produce at least one major academic piece of scholarship.

Each fellow works with two or more assigned mentors. The mentors will work closely with the fellow in the development of his or her writing project or projects, as well as his or her teaching at Georgetown.

In the first year of the fellowship, each Research Fellow will second chair a black-letter law JD course in the area of his or her study. The course will be taught by a regular faculty member. As second chair, the Fellow will attend classes, hold office hours and teach a few of the class meetings. The goals are to familiarize the Fellow with a course that he or she is going to teach, to provide some experience in the classroom, and to provide mentorship in the craft of teaching.

In the Spring semester of the Fellows second year at Georgetown (the fourth semester of the fellowship), he or she will teach a 3-credit version of the same course in Georgetown’s LLM program. The goal here is again to give the Fellow experience teaching a course that the Fellow is likely to teach in his or her first academic job. The fourth semester is a period during which fellows have typically already gone through the most taxing phase of the AALS hiring process. During this period, the Fellow holds the title “Guest Lecturer.

Research Fellows are important participants in the Fellows Seminar and Workshops, and are expected to attend both for all four semesters of the fellowship. Research Fellows also have the opportunity to attend scholarly symposia, lectures, and brown bag seminars for Georgetown Law faculty, to audit any courses, and to participate in the other activities of the Georgetown Fellows Collaborative.


The Fellowship offers a competitive stipend, eligibility for staff health insurance, and shared office space. It does not include a travel budget or administrative support.


Can I teach seminars or other courses as a Law Research Fellow?

Yes you can, provided the seminar and syllabus meet with the approval of the Associate Dean for the JD Program and it is planned for after the first semester of your residence. Fellows have also chosen to co-teach lecture courses with Georgetown Law faculty members.

Any such teaching will be in addition to the Research Fellowship’s basic teaching requirements described above: serving as second chair in the first year, and teaching a 3-credit version of the same course in the LLM program in the fourth semester. Fellows who choose to teach additional courses receive great personal and professional rewards, but no additional pay.

May I apply if I am currently earning a PhD or similar degree and will not graduate by the time the fellowship residence begins?

Yes. A number of past fellows have been in the process of finishing up their dissertations when they began their residency. If you are in this category, please explain in your application materials (either the personal statement or research agenda) (1) where you currently are in your dissertation, including when you expect to defend, and (2) how your dissertation work relates to your plans for scholarship during the fellowship.

I have been admitted to the LL.M. or SJD Program at Georgetown – can I apply to GLRF to switch programs and earn my degree with a tuition waiver?

In general, no. Georgetown’s LL.M. program is based on course work and the Law Research Program is intended for scholars who will spend their time on independent research and writing. The SJD program also has a course work component during the first year that does not match the goals and structure of the Law Research Program. You must apply separately to all programs at the Law Center and cannot transfer into the Law Research Fellowship from any other program.

Can I apply to more than one program at Georgetown Law Center?

Yes, but please be thoughtful about which programs actually fit your interests. If you apply to more than one Law Center program – including any academic or fellowship program – please indicate all programs to which you have applied on each application.

Is a PhD required for applicants?

No. There is no policy of excluding candidates without graduate degrees and in recent years a number of fellows have been selected who had only JD degrees.

I am a current 3L student – do I have a realistic chance of being offered the Law Research Fellowship?

All candidates with a serious, passionate interest in legal scholarship are encouraged to apply. It is unusual, but not unheard of, for a current JD student applicant to be selected for the program. Current students are at a disadvantage only in the sense that they generally have not had sufficient time to write and develop a scholarly agenda. If you have maximized your opportunities for academic writing and research during (or before) law school and you are committed to becoming an academic, please do apply.

Is the fellowship supervised?

The fellowship provides supervision of your research and writing through mentoring, but there is no direct supervision of your daily work routine. Fellows share offices and often enjoy working on campus because scholarship can otherwise be lonely work. But there is no monitoring of hours spent in the building. Some fellows write primarily at home throughout their residency.

Must I physically reside in Washington, D.C. during the “residency”?

The goal of the Fellows Collaborative at Georgetown is to create a community of emerging scholars. In line with these goals, Law Research Fellows are expected to have a regular (which need not mean constant) presence on campus and at events during the fellowship. Especially important is attendance at the weekly Fellows Workshop and Seminar all four semesters of the fellowship. Fellows are generally expected to be available for events and meetings and to work with their designated mentors fairly closely.

Can I perform independent research for other institutions while in residence?

The Research Fellowship is a full-time job, and may not be held with a separate job or fellowship. As noted above, PhD students may continue to work on their dissertations if the dissertation is in progress when the fellowship begins. At the same time, the goal of the fellowship is to generate one or more law review articles, and in general, it’s expected that your time at Georgetown will be spent developing publishable legal scholarship. Please indicate any other ongoing or expected research obligations on your application.

Does Georgetown hire Law Research Fellows for tenure track professor positions?

Georgetown does not, as a general practice, consider fellows for tenure track positions, although exceptions have been made in extraordinary circumstances.

What is the job success rate for past Law Research Fellows?

Past Law Research Fellows have been very successful in securing tenure track teaching jobs. In the past few years, Law Research Program alums have taken positions at University of Georgia School of Law, SUNY Buffalo Law School, the University of Minnesota Law School, Northwestern University Law School, the University of San Diego School of Law and Yale Law School.

Can I talk to any past fellows about their experience in the program?

Yes. If you are interested in contacting GLRF alums, please contact for an updated list of contacts.

Does Georgetown Law offer housing to Fellows?

No. Because they are employees of the University, student housing is not open to Fellows.

Where can I get more information about a career in law teaching?

Two places to begin on this site are the Careers page on Academia and the Georgetown Law Library Law Teaching and Scholarship Guide. You might also want to read Robin West’s Introduction to the Legal Academy.


Georgetown is currently accepting applications for 2017-2019 Law Research Fellowships. The application deadline is Friday, January 6, 2017.

The application process has both online and posted mail components. Please be certain to complete both components.

Online Component

If you are interested in applying, please email with your application materials listed below.

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Research Proposal: The Research Proposal should be approximately 10-15 pages in length and should describe the project or projects you expect to accomplish as a Fellow. A successful proposal succinctly states the intended thesis or argument you hope to make in each proposed piece of scholarship, and may also suggest possible connections between projects if more than one project is contemplated. The Research Agenda should convey scholarly intent and potential but need not be footnoted, nor are bibliographies expected. Please preface your agenda with an Executive Summary (one page or less) of your primary proposed research project.
  • Personal Statement (optional): A Personal Statement should be approximately two pages and is your opportunity to describe your background, professional goals, or other personal information you feel is relevant to your candidacy.
  • Published Works (if any)

Posted Mail Component

All official transcripts and letters of recommendation MUST be sent by posted mail, directly from the school or recommender. These materials will not be considered if they are received late, meaning they must be postmarked by the application deadline. Specifically the application calls for:

  • Two Letters of Recommendation, preferably from law professors, to be sent directly to the Law Center by recommenders on letterhead.
  • All Official Transcripts for any degree(s) earned, to be sent directly to the Law Center under seal.

Please direct these materials to:
Prof. Robin West
Georgetown University Law Center
600 New Jersey Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20001

FAQs – General

Can I submit more than two letters of recommendation?

You may, but this is not encouraged. The Selection Committee is best served by letters from people who know your work and interests very well, and who can speak with some expertise about your potential as an academic. Additional letters that do not meet that description are of little or no advantage to the candidate. Please submit more than two letters only if the additional letter will tell the committee something unique about your candidacy.

Does my writing sample need to be academic? May I use materials developed for legal practice?

Because the Selection Committee is looking for scholarly potential, the best writing sample is academic writing (original and single-authored). Materials from legal practice, such as briefs and memoranda, are often heavily edited and do not have the style, voice, or goals of academic writing. If it is necessary to submit a non-academic writing sample, please indicate why on your application and specify whether the work as been edited by someone other than yourself.

Should my application indicate a Georgetown faculty member who could act as a mentor to my work?

It is not necessary to identify a specific faculty mentor for your proposed fellowship project. In explaining your interest in the Law Research program, you may want to mention why Georgetown is suited to your needs – and this might include the presence of certain faculty members, or an area of faculty expertise relevant to your work. But you are not expected to propose a particular mentor in your application.

How many candidates typically apply? How many are chosen each year?

For the 2015-2017 Fellowship, around 60 candidates applied. This was slightly below the previous year. There are two fellowship positions available each year.

Who is on the Selection Committee?

The committee members change from year to year. The program is administered by Prof. Robin West, Chair Person for Academic Research Committee, who is the only permanent member of the committee.

How are applicants notified of the Selection Committee decision?

Applicants who are offered the fellowship will be contacted by phone and e-mail. Applicants who are not offered the decision will receive a letter by email or U.S. mail.

How does my experience in legal practice affect my application?

Past fellows have included both practitioners (anywhere from 1 to 6 years; at firms, non-profits, and other organizations) and non-practitioners. Because legal academia focuses on the skills of academic research and publishing, as well as teaching, academic ability, law school hiring committees often give a candidate’s academic work as much or more weight than practice experience. The balance is similar in choosing research fellows. You are encouraged to explain how your practice experience, if you have it, figures into your academic interests and teaching goals.

Can my application be expedited if I receive an offer from another institution?

This will be decided on a case-by-case basis, but the general policy is not to expedite review of applications.

If I am accepted to the Law Research Program, can I defer my acceptance for a year?

This too will be decided on a case-by-case basis, but the general policy is not to grant deferrals.

FAQs – International Applicants

Do I need to submit TOEFL scores? What if I have studied/researched/published in English?

TOEFL scores are required for all applicants from non-English speaking countries. In rare cases the TOEFL requirement may be waived. If you would like a waiver, please contact the application manager, at, with your detailed reasons.

Do I need to submit originals of transcripts from non-U.S. institutions? May I submit copies and/or translations?

All transcripts submitted must be original, official versions produced by the degree-granting institution. If the original transcript is not in English, you must also submit a certified English translation. Only in extraordinary cases will this requirement be waived. To request a waiver, contact the application manager, at, with a detailed explanation of your reasons.

What will my visa status be as a fellow?

Law Research Fellows from outside the U.S. are eligible for J-1 visas. (For general information regarding this status, visit The Law Center provides administrative support in securing the visa and managing any immigration issues that may arise during your stay.

Is it realistic for an applicant educated outside the U.S. to be selected for the Law Research Program?

Yes. There has been a recent increase in applicants educated outside the U.S. and the first Fellow without any prior U.S. degrees joined the program in 2010. That said, the Research Fellowship is designed to prepare candidates for the U.S. teaching market. Applicants should therefore have a clear and committed interest in teaching in a U.S. law school, and should be able to explain how their research interests will fit into U.S. legal scholarship.

My non-U.S. law degree is from an undergraduate institution – do I need a graduate level degree in law to apply?

A graduate level law degree is not required, but the strongest candidates will often have one because of the opportunities for independent research and writing that they provide.

What other opportunities are there at Georgetown for non-U.S. scholars?

Other Georgetown Law programs that welcome international applicants and may best fit their needs include the Visiting Researcher Program and the S.J.D. Degree Program.

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