Post-Graduate Fellowship Application Timeline

NOTE: This is a general timeline that may not be applicable to every fellowship.  Please make sure to research the specific fellowships with which you want to apply.  Also, please know that your timeline may have to be more flexible to accommodate schedules of sponsors, recommenders, etc.

2L Late Spring:

  • Begin considering fellowship opportunities and potential sponsor organizations.
    • Some issues to consider: host’s capacity to support you, host’s expertise in the project area, host’s connection to the relevant community/client base, rapport/fit with host, availability and quality of mentorship, past success hosting fellows.
    • Check and b-Line for hosts looking for fellows to sponsor or who have their own in-house fellowships (some organizations typically have spring or very early summer deadlines – others are later).


  • Attend fellowships-related programs and networking events at Berkeley Law.


  • Let one of the public interest counselors in the CDO know that you are considering fellowships so that you can be added to the fellowships email list.


  • If you are also considering clerkships, meet with CDO to discuss the interaction between the clerkship application timeline and the fellowship application timeline.


2L Summer:


  • Research fellowship and funding opportunities.
    • Note deadlines and create an ‘action plan’ for Fall applications.
    • Meet one-on-one with CDO to discuss fellowship plans.
    • Talk with past fellows, including alums (check with CDO), attorneys at your host organization, etc.
    • Review the descriptions of past funded projects (e.g. see descriptions on Skadden/EJW/Justice Catalyst/Soros websites)
    • Continue searching for and secure a host organization.


  • Design your project with your host (for project-based fellowships)
    • Some organizations will expect you to propose an original project as part of the process of applying for sponsorship, others will include project ideas or priority areas within their sponsorship announcement.
    • Some issues to consider:  Do the organization and I together have the necessary expertise to successfully undertake this project?  How will the community benefit from this work?  How significant is the need?  Will members of the community I seek to assist help shape my project? Is this project well suited to the timeframe of the fellowship?  What other organizations are working in this area and what are they doing?  Does the proposed project align with the rules and priorities of the fellowship funder(s)?
    • Determine with your host organization specifically how they will support you (e.g., who will supervise you? will you be provided office/desk/computer in the organization?)


  • Ask for letters of recommendation (check specific fellowship requirements for more information)
    • Usually 2-3 letters, at least one from a former supervisor and one from an academic source (clinical professors count).


  • Draft your fellowship application and ask your host organization and many others to review it.
    • See past successful fellowship application in the online resources provided to fellowships applicants by the CDO. Also review the funder websites for examples.
    • CDO is happy to review drafts of your application materials (we’re open all summer and will block time specifically for this purpose prior to fellowship deadlines in Fall).


  • Start working on additional application components: review commitment letter requirements for the host organization and find out whether you will have a role in drafting it.  Edit you writing sample, resume, etc.


  • Start assembling an advisory board if needed (e.g., Soros): consider everyone who may give you guidance and define their roles.



3L Fall:


  • Contact the CDO for assistance with all aspects of your fellowship applications.


  • Finalize your application draft and components: get final letters of recommendation, transcripts, commitment letter from host, etc.   Collect components for submission in a single mailing if required.


  • If applicable, finalize an advisory board.


  • Submit your applications!  Be sure to check specific times of day for submission deadlines and submit well in advance of those times. 


  • If granted, prepare for interviews! (CDO can set up mock interviews with past fellows.)


  • Continue to check and b-Line throughout the Fall and Spring for organization-based fellowships.


  • Research alternative grant funding sources if needed.