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There is no set number of these fellowships that will be awarded in any given year; rather, awards will be made to qualifying candidates with qualifying positions. Applicants must meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Be an HLS 3Ls or judicial law clerks who have had no intervening work experience
  2. Obtain a host organization that promises them permanent employment at the end of the fellowship year and who offer training to their fellows. Early Decision Fellowships, like all PSVF Organization-Based Fellowships, may be with either nonprofits or government agencies. Host organizations for Early Decision Fellowships are subject to the same Host Organization Guidelines as all other PSVF hosts. 
  3. Be pursuing positions in states whose final bar deadline is before the early-May award date of the “regular” Public Service Venture Fund Organization-Based Fellowships or if there is another early deadline such that a May decision is too late (e.g., Gideon’s Promise makes their matches in January). 

Required Application Materials and Timeline

Applicants must fill out the PSVF Organization-Based Fellowship application materials. In addition, the applicant must provide evidence of the host organization’s willingness to extend a permanent job to the applicant at the end of the year and to offer the applicant training. 

This information can be included in the personal statement and host organization sponsorship letter or, if necessary, the applicant may provide a supplemental document no longer than 300 words in length. 

Application materials for the Early Decision Fellowship must be submitted at least one month before the final bar filing deadline (or the regular filing deadline if there is no late filing option) in order for a selection committee to convene. 

Applicants should alert Alexa Shabecoff in OPIA, at shabecof@law.harvard.eduof their intent to apply as soon as they decide to apply, so that the selection committee meeting can be scheduled. 

Students who are not selected for an Early Decision Fellowship remain eligible to apply for a regular-cycle HLS Fellowship. 

Selection Criteria

Because these fellowships are awarded before the Selection Committee can even see the rest of the applicant pool and consider the early applicant’s relative merit, a special set of circumstances apply. Applicants must demonstrate exceptional promise for an outstanding career in public service through their internships, clinics, courses, and activities during law school, as well as any relevant experience prior to law school. General academic excellence is not a priority; rather, the primary criterion for the award is demonstrated excellence in public service, curricular or extracurricular.