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More Information for Students:

We encourage students to begin seeking a placement as early as possible. Although it is not necessary to have a confirmed placement before applying for the Chayes Fellowship, students should have been in contact with possible placement organizations by the time the Chayes Fellowship program holds interviews with applicants in February.  Students who are accepted as Chayes Fellows must secure an approved placement by March 31.

To present their qualifications, students should send a resume and cover letter directly to the organization, unless the organization requests otherwise.  Students are encouraged to apply to a number of organizations and it can take time to secure an appropriate international placement.

Pre-Approved Placement Organizations

Beginning in November, the Chayes Fellowship Program will provide a regularly updated list of pre-approved placement organizations that are interested in hosting a Chayes Fellow for the summer whose interests and skills match the needs of the organization. These authorized placement organizations have been screened to ensure that their work fits within the general parameters of the Chayes program.

A student who secures a position at a pre-approved organization may still be required to obtain additional details about the specific work they will undertake and to receive written approval from the Chayes Fellowship program.

New Placement Organizations

Harvard Law School students who are interested in working with organizations that are not on the roster of pre-approved placements are encouraged to work with the new organization to register it as a Chayes Fellowship placement site.

The student must first provide the proposed organization with the Chayes Fellowship’s Information for Placement Organizations to ensure that the organization understands and is prepared to meet its responsibilities.

Second, the student should ask their contact at the placement organization to fully complete the Chayes Fellowship Placement Form for 2020. While we recognize that projects evolve over time and it can be difficult to specify early on exactly what a Fellow will work on during the summer, it is important that this form contain as much detail as possible. In particular, the Fellow must have one or more designated projects; a description along the lines of “assisting with the general work of the organization” or a lengthy description of a large organizational project, noting that the HLS student will be responsible for “assisting the coordinators,” is not adequate. Students should encourage the organization to focus on the student’s role within a particular project and to provide details about the type of work in which they anticipate the student will engage. Placement forms for new organizations should be submitted to the Chayes Program (c/o International Legal Studies) by March 15.

Please be advised that the submission of a completed placement form is not, in itself, sufficient to gain approval for a placement. Nor is it a given that an organization that has been approved in past years will be approved every summer. Once the placement form is submitted, it is reviewed by the Chayes Fellowship program to ensure that the organization falls within the program’s parameters and that the proposed project is substantive and appropriate for a law school student. In some cases the Chayes committee will have questions or require further information and may contact the student and/or placement organization. As noted previously, organizations are more likely to receive pre-approval as potential Chayes placements when they have articulated details of the role and responsibilities they anticipate a Fellow will be assigned as part of projects that fall within the Chayes mandate. The process of getting approval for Chayes placement organizations is not excessively complicated, but it is quite valuable in ensuring that Chayes Fellows have the best possible summer experience.

Splitting THE Summer

Chayes Fellows are not permitted to split the summer between two organizations unless the work is part of a comprehensive and coordinated project. However, fellows are welcome to spend eight weeks at one organization and work additional time elsewhere. This requirement is in place for two reasons:

  • Eight weeks is needed for a student to maximize his/her involvement in an organization and engagement in substantive work
  • Eight weeks is the minimum time period required for HLS students to receive stipends through the Summer Public Interest Funding program


The students chosen as 2020 Chayes Fellows will be notified on March 2, 2020, and must schedule an advising meeting with ILS staff during March to discuss specifics of placement and summer preparation. Each 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 March 31.  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.

In the spring, Chayes Fellows are also required to attend pre-departure information sessions and a special Chayes Fellowship dinner in order to prepare for their placements.

 Please see Chayes Fellowship Awards and Obligations for additional requirements and more information.