Established in 2015 in honor of David Abraham Grossman, a clinical professor at Harvard Law School and a lifelong advocate for social justice, the DAG Fund awards annual $50,000 fellowships to fund law students/judicial law clerks who demonstrate exceptional promise as public interest attorneys to work at existing nonprofits.
In selecting its fellows, the fund works alongside Harvard Law School’s Office of Public Interest Advising to identify fellowship proposals that are impactful, sustainable, and offer an innovative blueprint for social change. In the spirit of David Abraham Grossman’s legacy and memory as an innovative community lawyer, the DAG Fund prioritizes funding community/movement-based lawyering and law and organizing projects.
Applicants for the fellowship should be Harvard Law School 3Ls, LL.M.s, or alumni in clerkships with no intervening work experience who
- Have demonstrated a consistent commitment to public interest advocacy, especially community/movement-based lawyering and/or law and organizing;
- Have participated successfully in law school clinics;
- Have a long-term interest in living in the location of their fellowship;
- Intend to obtain a law license in the location of their fellowship;
- Are familiar with and have contacts in the community in which they want to work; and
- Will be enthusiastic advocates and spokespeople for the DAG Fund.
- Should be designed to advance social justice in the areas of poverty, housing, consumer, labor and employment, civil rights, family, immigration, health law, or criminal justice reform;
- Should be based in the United States;
- Should meaningfully involve community partners, particularly organizing groups; and
- Should be designed to deliver results that are achievable within a year but sustainable.
Priority will be given to projects that focus on providing representation in collaboration with community groups to effectuate social change. That can take many forms, such as providing eviction defense in conjunction with a community organizing group focused on housing rights or providing wage and hour representation in coordination with a labor organizing group or workers’ center. Applicants are encouraged to be creative in incorporating organizing strategies into their proposals.
Potential organizations with law and organizing experience include the Community Justice Project (Miami), Law for Black Lives, City Life/Vida Urbana (Boston), and JusticeLabs (Baltimore), Community Activism Law Alliance (Chicago). However, projects hosted at any direct services/poverty law organization will be considered. If you have questions about your project’s eligibility, please contact HLS alumna and DAG Fund Committee member Marielle Macher at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to Apply
The deadline to apply is Monday, December 3, 2018 at 5 pm. Select applicants will be interviewed for the Fellowship and award decisions will be made by the end of February 2019.
Applicants must secure a host organization before applying.
The DAG Fund does not sponsor fellowship projects at organizations which are hiring for entry level positions involving similar work. If your sponsoring organization has current entry level hiring, please include a statement in your application describing how the fellowship project you are proposing is substantially different than the position(s) for which the organization is hiring.
Once an applicant has received sponsorship from their host organization, the applicant should submit a completed application via CARAT, which includes:
- Transcript: official or unofficial transcripts accepted.
- Letter of interest/cover letter telling us about yourself and detailing your interest in the fellowship and in your host organization. Please describe your host organization and the work you propose to do at that organization. Note that the word limit is a maximum, but you are free to write shorter essays. The letter must be submitted via CARAT as PDFs. (750 words)
- How specifically are you prepared to do this work? What background knowledge and prior experiences make you a strong candidate?
- Why did you choose to work at your selected organization rather than another in the same community or field? What motivates you to take on this particular project or work at this specific organization?
- How would this fellowship contribute to your personal and professional development? What skills do you seek to gain from this work, and how will your host organization help you develop those skills?
- Additionally, where do you see yourself in five years? In ten years? How will this fellowship help you you advance your public interest career?
- Letter of support from the host organization indicating their willingness to host you and outlining your duties (References Tab – Reference #4). The organization must note that it is not in the position to hire entry-level attorneys absent outside funding and will abide by the Harvard Law School Public Interest Fellowships Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Host organizations must follow the Public Service Venture Fund Host Organization Guidelines.
- MOU signed by the applicant and host organization and uploaded into CARAT.
- Three letters of recommendation (References Tab – References #1, #2, #3), one of which must be from a faculty member (which may include clinical faculty).
- Tell your recommenders and host organization how to submit their letters , informing them of our guidelines above before writing the letter and to expect an email from CARAT asking them to upload their letter of recommendation.
- Prepare all application materials.
- Complete the online application via CARAT. You will upload the required application materials in CARAT. CARAT is connected to your Harvard Key. Please save your application as you go, since your Harvard Key may log-out due to inactivity and your work may be lost.
Questions about the DAG Fund Fellowship should be directed to Alexa Shabecoff in OPIA.