What is a Post-Graduate Fellowship?

There are an increasing number of fellowships available to recent law school graduates. Some are designed to financially assist graduates who want to do public interest or pro bono work, but face too large student loan repayments.  While the term "fellowship" is used by a variety of different programs, generally legal fellowships:

  • are short-term opportunities lasting from a few months to several years – most are one or two years
  • allow fellows to assist underrepresented populations and/or address specific issues in a given community
  • focus on the professional development of the fellow
  • are sponsored by a specific association or organization seeking to expand leadership in its particular area of law

The financial compensation varies greatly.  Still, this can be balanced with the ability to work on legal issues the fellow cares about, helping people and communities who often have nowhere else to turn.  Also, legal fellowships allow the recent graduate to assume much more responsibility, more quickly, than would be possible in some other types of legal work. In addition, many fellowships offer: 

  • student loan repayment programs
  • healthcare coverage and other employment benefits
  • housing stipends
  • paid travel or relocation expenses
  • alumni networks for developing and maintaining contacts in the field
  • training programs

Types of Fellowships and Fellowship Application Information

To learn more about the various types of fellowships, please go to: Types of Fellowships. If you’re interested in applying for a post-graduate fellowship, please go to: Fellowship Application Information for specific information. Additionally, the most comprehensive list of postgraduate legal fellowships can be found on PSJD, the online resource for public service careers. by clicking on the "Postgraduate Fellowships" link. Concurrently, be sure to make an appointment with Laura Scott, Assistant Director, Public Service Careers, to develop application strategies and review application materials. Appointments with Laura Scott can be requested via CareerLink.

Office of Career & Professional Development • American University Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Suite 122 Washington, DC 20016 • 202-274-4090 F: 202-274-4096