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The Irving R. Kaufman Fellowships were created in recognition of Judge Kaufman’s distinguished career in public service and are made possible by a generous gift from the late Honorable Walter Annenberg, philanthropist and former Ambassador to the Court of St. James.

Description and Eligibility

The Kaufman Fellowship is intended as an award to graduating Harvard Law School students and recent alumni/ae who demonstrate the potential for outstanding careers in public service. Public interest work is defined broadly by the Selection Committee to encompass all law-related work that serves a distinct public purpose. Examples of qualifying practice settings include poverty law in legal services organizations, public interest nonprofit organizations, public defender or criminal prosecutor associations, international organizations, and government agencies. Jobs not eligible for support include clerkships (with the possible exception of international tribunals) and academic positions. Private public interest law firms will rarely be eligible.

Up to five fellowships will be awarded for $45,000 each. Although this fellowship is open to judicial law clerks and LLMs, given the limited number available, preference will be given to third-year law students. Applicants must secure an agreement from a nonprofit organization (which may include an HLS clinical program if you will actually be practicing public interest law) or government office willing and committed to hosting the graduate’s work. The organization will be required to pay health care costs unless the applicant can demonstrate another method for obtaining health insurance.

Be aware that it is difficult to be hosted by a federal agency. Be sure to discuss this with your OPIA advisor before approaching a federal government agency for sponsorship. We recommend that you discuss your proposed sponsoring organization with an OPIA advisor before you line up your sponsor. Your sponsoring organization must be one that could not have done entry-level hiring this year absent HLS funding. As these fellowships are designed to be career launchers, we advise you to pick a sponsoring organization that might hire you at the end of your fellowship or that will help you develop skills and expertise to enable you to land another public service position at the end of your fellowship.

Application for the 2014-15 Kaufman Fellowships

To apply for the Kaufman Fellowship, you must apply for an organization-based fellowship through the Public Service Venture Fund (PSVF). Like the Kaufman Fellowships, PSVF organization-based fellowships provide funding for candidates to work at sponsoring organizations. Applicants to the PSVF will be considered for all OPIA-administered fellowships for which they are eligible.


Questions should be directed to Alexa Shabecoff at or 617-495-3108.