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The Mission

Creating more opportunities for careers in public service by investing in entrepreneurial lawyers with a passion for social and economic justice.

Inspired by Harvard Law School alumni who have used their degrees and experience to pursue innovative methods of social change, the Public Service Venture Fund will award up to $1 million in grants every year to Harvard Law graduates pursuing careers in public service.

The first program of its kind at a law school, the fund offers “seed money” for startup nonprofit ventures to students and alumni, as well as salary support to graduating J.D. students and judicial law clerks for postgraduate work at nonprofit or government agencies in the United States and abroad.

Overview of Fellowships

Seed Grants

Harvard Law School will provide funding for any project that is in an early stage, innovative (does not duplicate effective existing services), sustainable (will attract further funding or be able to generate its own funds), and furthers social justice. Any Harvard Law School 3Ls or J.D. alumni may apply to the Venture Fund for a Seed Grant to start a new nonprofit or to support one provided that the proposed organization is in its initial stages and has few available funding sources.

Learn more about Seed Grants

Organization-based Fellowships

Harvard Law School provides a number of fully-funded fellowships to support one year of work by a graduating HLS student or outgoing judicial law clerk at a host organization. These fellowships include the Public Service Venture Fund (PSVF), the Kaufman Fellowship, the Skirnick Fellowship, and the One Day’s Work Fellowship; all are administered by the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising and share the same parameters.

Learn more about Org-based Fellowships

Fellowship Recipients

Seed Grant Fellows

PSVF seed grant recipients have launched organizations throughout the United States, addressing a wide-range of critical public issues.

Read about the 2015-16 Seed Grant Fellows

Organization-based Fellows

Organization-based fellows work across the world with non-profits, legal services and government agencies addressing areas of critical need.

Read about the 2015-16 Org-based Fellows

“The Public Service Venture Fund is simply admirable and inspiring. Harvard Law School sets the national standard for public interest advising and support, and this new approach will enable more graduating students to do more kinds of critically important public service work than ever before.”

— Susan Butler Plum Skadden Foundation