How to Apply for a Skadden Fellowship

By Kathleen Rubenstein, Executive Director of the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, kathleen.rubenstein@skadden.com 

The Skadden Fellowship provides two years of funding for recent law school graduates to work in the public interest, addressing the civil legal needs of people living in poverty in the US. We have recently updated our FAQS and posted the 2022 application on our website’s application process page. For Fellowships beginning in the fall of 2022, the application will be due on Friday September 10, 2021.

Don’t leave applying to the last minute! It takes time to research and reach out to potential host organizations, identify a project area, and hone an insightful proposed project. Project based fellowships present an extraordinary opportunity to launch your public interest career in your dream role, addressing a compelling client need that might otherwise not be met. Additionally, the process of developing a project proposal involves gaining insight from future clients, other current and former Fellows, and leading attorneys in your preferred area of practice.

Skadden Fellowships are open to the full, broad array of lawyering strategies, so long as the Fellow must be an attorney to complete the proposed project. Most projects we fund will include some direct client representation, and many projects we fund combine various types of advocacy. Overall, we expect that the applicant and host organization be well-prepared to deliver the planned legal advocacy, and that the host organization has expertise in the type of lawyering contemplated. There should be a strong fit between the client needs identified, the applicant’s passion and goals, and the host’s core competencies and commitments. For this reason, I hope it’s clear that there is no paradigmatic Skadden Fellow or project, and what you design should be authentic to you.

One of the best parts about becoming a Skadden Fellow is that our Fellows are Fellows for life. We have an amazing community of more than 900 current, former, and incoming Fellows, the vast majority of whom devote their entire careers to public interest, and we provide significant support both during the fellowship and throughout our Fellows’ careers.

Skadden Fellows have attended over 75 law schools and worked in 45 states. We encourage applications from individuals who are members of groups that historically have been underrepresented in the legal profession, as well as from those whose personal or professional experiences have yielded deep connections with or insights into the marginalized client communities they seek to serve. In our selection process, we are focused on the clients and whether the applicant and host organization are well positioned to serve the clients’ needs that the proposed project seeks to address. We are looking for passionate law students and judicial clerks who are committed to public interest work, will listen to their clients’ needs, and have insight into the role of a public interest lawyer. We do not have a specific cut-off for grades, but we are looking for very successful law students who will be excellent lawyers for their clients.

In advance of our application period, our goal is to provide as much helpful information as possible so each applicant can put their best foot forward. For detailed information about the application process, please consider joining one of our virtual information sessions. The remaining dates and times are listed below, and the dates, times, and log-in information are all posted on our website’s application process page.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021 at 12 pm EDT
Thursday, July 15, 2021 at 3 pm EDT
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 at 4 pm EDT

Additionally, we recently hosted a virtual information session for potential host organizations, and a link to that video is available on our website. Please ensure that you, your host organization, and your proposed project all meet our eligibility criteria, laid out on our website. If you are unsure if your project fits within our funding guidelines, please reach out in advance of applying.

I am always happy to speak with potential applicants about their project ideas, at whatever point in the cycle would be useful for an applicant. I’ll let you know if I have any questions or concerns about your project as you are refining it, and may have suggestions of current or former Fellows with relevant expertise whom you may wish to contact. Applicants may set up a time by emailing me. Potential hosts and career services staff are also welcome to reach out. Any applicants who may need  assistance or accommodations in the application process should contact my colleague Kathy Quijije at kathy.quijije@skadden.com or (212) 735-5176.

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