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Harvard Law School has shifted to remote operations in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The International Legal Studies Office is not open for visitors but staff will be responding to emails sent to Thank you for your understanding.

The students chosen as 2020 Chayes Fellows will be notified on March 2, 2020, and should schedule an individual advising meeting with ILS staff to discuss specifics of placement and summer preparation. For 2020, each accepted student must receive confirmation of an eight-week summer placement from an approved organization abroad and forward a letter or e-mail confirming the offer to the Chayes Fellowship program by April 15. All placements and details must be reviewed and approved by the Chayes Fellowship Committee.

Once a placement has been secured and approved, students should remain in contact with their supervisors in order to continue to obtain as much information as possible about the project(s) on which they will be working and the specific roles and responsibilities they will be assigned, as well as any expected end-products.

Students who are foreign nationals should be aware of considerations with regard to special requirements both for receiving funding and visas when traveling abroad during their studies,  and plan accordingly. For this reason, international students should be sure to contact the Harvard International Office before committing to any travel outside the United States.


Chayes Fellows will be eligible for stipends from the Law School’s Summer Public Interest Funding Program (SPIF), supplemented by funds from the Chayes Fellowship. The amount of the Chayes Fellowship supplement is determined by the location of the student’s placement and is based on the program’s assessment as to the amounts necessary for basic travel and living expenses in that region.  In recent years, the total amount of funding granted to each Chayes Fellow (SPIF + Chayes Fellowship supplement) has ranged from $6,000 to $6,500 for placements abroad. On the rare occasion that a Chayes Fellow receives approval for a placement in a U.S.-based organization, they will not receive a supplement above their Summer Public Interest Funding award.

The Chayes Fellowship will also reimburse students for the cost of necessary inoculations up to $500.

Fellowship Obligations

Fellows are expected to make their own travel, visa, and housing arrangements for the summer fellowship once the Selection Committee’s decisions are announced and fellows have secured approved placements. Fellowships must consist of a minimum duration of eight weeks of full-time work unless express authorization is received from the Chayes program for a Fellow to work for a shorter period.

In the spring, Chayes Fellows must fulfill the international travel requirements for students traveling abroad with Harvard funding.

Fellows must contact the Chayes Fellowship Program upon arrival at their placement organizations and should send an update communication at least twice during the summer. If they encounter any change of plans or difficulties — in terms of the nature or duration of their work, supervision, or personal safety — they must contact the Chayes program.

Chayes Fellows become part of a global network of individuals engaged with organizations working in societies in transition around the world and are invited to attend periodic meetings at Harvard. After completing the fellowship, recipients are expected to attend a mandatory debriefing, to share their summer experiences with the other Fellows and the Chayes Fellowship Selection Committee, and to also submit a written evaluation of their experience. These evaluations will be made available to interested students and others through the Office of Public Interest Advising and the Student Evaluations of Chayes Placement Organizations secure webpage. Fellows will also be expected to satisfy certain collegial and educational obligations throughout the year, especially by advising students interested in applying for the Chayes Fellowship in the following summer.

Students may fulfill the HLS pro bono work requirements through summer placements, but will not receive class credit.

If a student does not meet the obligations of the Chayes Fellowship, they may be asked to refund some or all of the stipend.