Harvard Law School is announcing today the creation of the Holmes Public Service Fellowships, which will fund one year of public service work for approximately 12 graduating students during 2010-2011. The fellowships will pay up to $35,000 to support a year of post-graduate legal work at a non-profit or government agency anywhere in the world.

“In this difficult economic time, we want to support students in every way that we can and we also want to offer legal assistance to those who are most vulnerable,” said Dean Martha Minow. “These fellowships will make it possible for more students to offer direct legal assistance to people in communities around the world and at the same time addresses the fact that funding for public service and public interest work jobs is especially in short supply right now. I am proud that with this program, we can support our soon-to-be-graduates in their efforts to help others.”

Named in honor of the long public service career of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., the fellowship is designed to cover basic living and health care expenses for current third-year HLS students who can show the support of a sponsoring organization, such as a non-profit organization, one of the in-house HLS clinical programs that provide direct legal assistance to clients, or a government agency. The recipients of the fellowships will be announced in the spring of 2010.

The new Holmes Public Service Fellowships supplement a range of existing programs at Harvard Law School designed to enable law students to choose public service careers, including a number of fellowship programs available exclusively to Harvard Law School students for public interest work.

The Law School’s loan repayment program—which calculates a student’s debt and income to provide repayment of educational loans—is the most generous of its kind. Last year, the Law School launched a Public Service Initiative, a pilot program which gives tuition breaks for students who commit to a minimum of five years of public service work after law school.

The School recently increased funding for Summer Public Interest Fellowships, which allow any student to receive funding for low-paying or no-paying summer public interest jobs. The School also offers a series of fellowships that support students who go to work in specific public service sectors and into academia.

The fellowship announcement comes at the end of a University-wide Public Service Week at Harvard, designed to highlight the many contributions already made by members of the Harvard community, and to encourage a further commitment to public service.

For additional information about the new program, contact the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising.