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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 3L or judicial law clerk who has 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.
    Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership Project partner offices are eligible host organizations UNLESS they have their own paid entry-level position. Deadlines to apply for Gideon’s Promise are typically early fall.
  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 Law School Partnership Project makes their matches in December). 

Required Application Materials and Timeline

  1. Secure a host organization that is willing to extend a permanent job to the applicant at the end of the year and to offer the applicant training. This 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. 
  2. Alert Eden Miller in OPIA of their intent to apply as soon as they decide to apply, so that the selection committee meeting can be scheduled. 
  3. Complete the PSVF Organization-Based Fellowship application materials 

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. 

Participation in Gideon’s Promise Law School Partnership Project is contingent upon receipt of a Harvard Law School Public Service Venture Fund (PSVF) fellowship. Harvard cannot confirm any individual student’s participation until early decision PSVF Org-Based Fellowship awards are made.