Social Justice Post-Graduate Fellowships

Fellowships are an excellent way to engage in and explore public service work, make contacts, gain experience, and strengthen future job applications. The term "fellowship" encompasses a wide variety of programs, but most often it is a program intended to fund work or study for a specific purpose, for a set period of time. Fellowships are a gateway to public interest work, particularly into large, national organizations that typically hire attorneys with years of experience.

Seattle University School of Law is thrilled to announce the availability of a 2014 Leadership for Justice Fellowship. Thanks to the generosity of social justice champions Jim Degel ('80) and his wife, Jeanne Berwick, this fellowship will support a May 2014 or December 2013 Seattle University School of Law graduate engaging in a 2-year social justice project that will impact individuals or communities or individuals in Washington State. The Fellowship will provide $60,000 each year for two years to a qualified host organization to cover salary, benefits and other costs associated with funding a full-time fellow. The fellowship term will start in the Fall of 2014.

Students must design projects in collaboration with a host organization, and projects must either help meet the needs of underserved or marginalized individuals or groups or work to advance social justice issues that are not being adequately addressed through existing legal systems. The project should provide the fellow with the opportunity to exercise leadership and introduce new legal services or significantly expand upon services already provided by the organization. In addition, the project should be designed to include the potential for increased opportunities for Seattle University law students to engage in meaningful social justice work.

The application deadline for the 2014 Leadership for Justice Fellowship is 12:00 pm (PST) on Monday, March 31, 2014. All application materials must be received by email at by that time. A complete application packet includes the following:

Please review the Application Guidelines and FAQs carefully and direct any questions to Jennifer Werdell at

In addition, because this is an expedited timeline, interested students must express their intent to apply ASAP and no later than February 15 by contacting Jennifer. This will ensure that you receive up-to-date information about potential host organizations seeking candidates and relevant application procedures.

Seattle University School of Law continues to be the only law school in the Northwest to offer a post-graduate fellowship program, and is proud to offer this opportunity to enable more graduates to become lawyers leading toward a more just and humane world.

There are also many kinds of post-graduate fellowships available:

1.     Organization-Based: A number of nonprofit organizations administer their own fellowship, such as ACLU and Human Rights Watch. The organization determines salary, duration, and scope of fellowship.

2.     Project-Based: Some foundations, such as the Soros Foundation and Equal Justice Works, fund fellowships for applicants who develop a specific project in conjunction with a sponsoring nonprofit organization. The fellowship is awarded for work on a specific project, but often the recipient determines where the work is done.

3.     Firm-Sponsored: Law firms have a variety of fellowship models. In all of them, the fellow is paid for a period of time while she engages in public interest work. Later, the fellow may or may not join the firm. The most well-known of these fellowships is the Skadden Fellowship, sponsored by Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

4.     Entrepreneurial Grants: These grants support a public interest project that you have developed without the aid of an established organization or intention of attaching project to a pre-existing organization.

5.     Leadership for Justice Fellowship: Since 2009, Seattle University School of Law has offered the "Leadership for Justice Fellowship" each year as a unique opportunity for a graduating student to work on an innovative social justice project with a host public interest organization. This is a "project-based" fellowship. To contribute to the Leadership for Justice Fellowship program, please visit our Giving page. For questions or further information, please contact Jennifer Werdell

Meet Past and Current Fellows

Seattle University School of Law graduates are committed to working for justice, and many recent graduates have received fellowships to work for a variety of organizations around the country. Read more of their inspiring stories.

Post-Graduate Fellowship Opportunities and Resources

The law school is committed to supporting the public interest careers of all students. Several public interest fellowships, jobs, and funding sources are available to graduating students and the following resources can provide more information:

  • Center for Professional Development: Public Interest Funding, Summer and post-graduate resources, including a database of hundreds of available fellowships
  • Student Financial Services: Loan Assistance, including details regarding the Loan Repayment Assistance Program and the College Cost Reduction and Access Act
  • Access to Justice Institute Blog: Post-Graduate Fellowships Section
  • Advocate Resource Center: Information for Law Students on local Post-Graduate Fellowship sponsors and procedures


If you have any questions about post-graduate public interest fellowships, please contact Jennifer Werdell, Associate Director of the Access to Justice Institute, at or 206.398.4455.

Justice Fred H. Dore Courtroom