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The Chayes International Public Service Fellowships are dedicated to the memory of Professor Abram Chayes ’49, who taught at Harvard Law School for more than 40 years. Professor Chayes was a leading authority on international law, and throughout his career, as a lawyer, arbitrator and legal advisor, he took on notable cases arising from military and paramilitary activities in Nicaragua, boundary disputes in Africa, and the genocide in Kosovo, among many others.

Accordingly, these fellowships provide Harvard Law School students with the opportunity to spend eight weeks during the summer working with governmental or non-governmental organizations concerned with issues of an international scope or relevant to countries in transition. Chayes Fellows’ projects can take a variety of forms, but could focus on the development of legal, political, social, and economic institutions, constitutional and legal issues in emerging democracies, or reconstruction of war-torn societies, among others.

The Chayes Fellowships not only allow a cadre of Harvard Law School students to offer their skills to governments and organizations undertaking critical work, but also provide students with practical, first-hand experience with the complex issues faced by societies in development or transition. Chayes Fellows become part of a network of individuals engaged with organizations working on these issues around the world.

2020 Chayes Fellowships:  Notes and Reminders

  • Applications for the 2020 Chayes Fellowship are due to International Legal Studies by Friday, January 31, 2020.
  • Although it is not necessary to have a confirmed placement before applying for the Chayes Fellowship, now is the time for interested students to identify and contact potential placement organizations. A list of pre-approved placement organizations (regularly updated) has been posted, and students are also welcome to work with new organizations to register them as Chayes Fellowship placement sites.
  • Special Walk-In Office Hours:  Students interested in applying for a 2020 Chayes Fellowship can meet with International Legal Studies staff to ask questions or discuss potential placements and projects on Tuesday, January 14, Wednesday, January 15, and Thursday, January 16 from  2 – 4  p.m. in the Graduate Program/International Legal Studies office,  WCC 5005.
  • Students planning to apply for a Chayes Fellowship should begin the process of applying for Summer Public Interest Funding (which is a prerequisite to participation in the Chayes Fellowship program). See Summer Public Interest Funding on the Student Financial Services website for information on this multi-step process.
  • Follow the links at left for complete information on the Chayes program. For a general overview, start with Eligibility and Logistics.

2019 Chayes Fellows

2019 Chayes Fellows

2019 Chayes Fellows

This summer, 17 Chayes Fellows tackled challenging issues in 13 countries, from Bosnia and Herzegovina to the United Kingdom.

Read "Global Outreach" on Harvard Law Today
2019 Chayes Fellow Eric Gitari

Eric Gitari, a 2019 Chayes Fellow, describes his work monitoring human rights for LGBTIQ persons in Gambia and Senegal.

Read "Serious challenges, with some green shoots of hope" on Harvard Law Today

2018 Chayes Fellows

2018 Chayes Fellows

The 13 students chosen as 2018 Chayes International Public Service Fellows spent the summer in 13 countries.

View photos from 2018 Chayes Fellows

The 2018 Chayes Fellows worked on a wide range of issues, from bolstering the enforcement of laws protecting children in conflict to conducting client intake and managing cases for refugees facing persecution in the Middle East.

Read "Chayes Fellows circle the globe" on Harvard Law Today

2017 Chayes Fellows

2017 Chayes Fellows

In 2017, 19 Chayes Fellows engaged in public service in 15 countries, from Cambodia to Zimbabwe.

View photos from 2017 Chayes Fellows
2017 Chayes Fellows Elisa Quiroz, Ratana (Kevin) Patumwat, Philip Stachnik, and Natalie Trigo Reyes

The projects undertaken by Chayes Fellows highlighted the many challenges facing countries in development or those making transitions to peace, stability, and democracy.

Read "Chayes fellows pursue service through international projects" on Harvard Law Today


For Chayes Fellows Jonathan Kaufman ’06 and Lillian Langford ’13, a 1L summer abroad set their careers in motion.  Read more on Harvard Law Today.