Wasserstein Fellows are practicing public interest lawyers who spend three days on-campus meeting with individual Harvard Law students to advise them about public interest career paths. They also speak to students in group settings and assist OPIA staff in developing additional advising insights and resources.
We seek applicants who have shown a long-standing commitment to public interest law and possess interpersonal qualities that will enable them to be effective career advisors. In particular, we aim to select a cohort of Fellows who reflect the diversity of HLS students and who work in practice settings and areas of law that are of particular interest to our current students.
We especially encourage applicants with the following backgrounds and identities:
- Latinx, BIPOC, first-generation college and law students
- Those working in labor law, anti-trust, health policy, racial justice, public defense and criminal justice reform (particularly prison abolition work), gun violence prevention, preserving democratic norms and institutions, and those working in private public interest or plaintiff’s side law firms.
In addition to our cohort of domestic three-day Fellows, OPIA will select three international law practitioners to spend a full week in residence at Harvard Law School advising students on pathways to international public service at nonprofit organizations and intergovernmental institutions. International Fellows can expect to meet with a high volume of LLMs as well as JD students. We especially encourage applicants engaged in transitional justice, human rights litigation, digital rights, democratic erosion, and global climate work to apply.
The deadline for the 2023-2024 application cycle is Monday, April 3, 2023.
Wasserstein Fellows can expect to meet with 3-7 students per day during their visit. Students sign-up in advance for 30-minute advising sessions. During these sessions, Fellows focus on each student’s individual career aspirations and concerns.
Develop Advising Resources
Fellows assist OPIA in developing public interest career resources. Prior to their campus visit, each Fellow provides OPIA with the following:
- A bio
- A 1-2 page description of a “typical” workday
- A list of key organizations in their field, as well as lesser-known organizations conducting similar or related work and networking contacts at those organizations
- Any additional resources OPIA staff should be aware of when advising students interested in their field
Fellows typically offer a 45-minute discussion about their work and career path to students, either as a lunchtime event or as part of a meeting with interested student groups.
Three-Day Wasserstein Fellows
Each Three-Day Fellow receives an honorarium of $1,000 in addition to reimbursement for travel, hotel, and other expenses related to their visit.
Week-Long Wasserstein Fellows
Week-Long Fellows receives an honorarium of $1,200 in addition to reimbursement for travel, hotel, and other expenses related to their visit.
Eligibility and Selection Criteria
All Wasserstein Fellows
We aim to select a group of Fellows who reflect the diversity and breadth of public interest experiences, areas of expertise, and geographic locations. In addition, the programs look for Fellows who work in practice settings and substantive areas of law that are of particular interest to our current students. Most importantly, the programs seek Fellows who will enjoy meeting individually with a diverse group of students and who possess interpersonal qualities that will enable them to be effective career advisors.
Three-day Fellow applicants should primarily be focused on US domestic issues and be based in the US.
Week-long Fellow applicants should be international law practitioners. While applicants who have either a JD or LLM degree from a US law school tend to resonate more with HLS students, applicants with exclusively foreign law degrees are also welcome to apply. If you have questions about which program to apply for, please contact Jillian Tuck with a copy of your resume and/or a link to LinkedIn profile.
Most Wasserstein Fellows have had at least five years of post-law-school public interest experience at a nonprofit, public defender or prosecutor’s office, government agency, intergovernmental organization, or private public interest firm. On occasion, the program will select early career Fellows, who have three to six years of experience.
Previous Wasserstein Fellows are not eligible to apply a second time.
Judges and attorneys practicing primarily in an academic setting are not eligible for the program.
All Wasserstein Fellows must have substantial flexibility in their availability to commit to three to five days of advising during the fall semester of the year they are applying.
Wasserstein Fellows are selected by a small committee of Harvard Law School faculty and OPIA staff. In a typical year, we receive about 180 applications. We anticipate selecting 10-12 domestic Fellows and three international Fellows for the 2023-24 application cycle.
Application Materials and Instructions
The deadline for the 2023-2024 application cycle is April 03, 2023.
- A brief personal statement (1-3 pages) discussing your interest in becoming a Fellow and highlighting any previous mentorship or career advising experience
- A resume
- Two letters of recommendation. We welcome letters of recommendation from law student and/or early career mentees, in addition to those who can speak to your commitment to public service (colleagues, supervisors, collaborators).
If you wish to resubmit a prior Wasserstein Fellowship application, simply fill out the required fields on the Wasserstein Fellow Application with any updates and indicate that you are reapplying with the year(s) of your prior application(s) as your personal statement document.
Questions about the application process may be sent to OPIA Associate Director, Jillian Tuck. Applicants can expect to be notified of the final status of their application by mid-June.
Apply to be a Wasserstein Fellow. The deadline for the 2023-2024 application cycle is Monday, April 3, 2023.
Nominate a Wasserstein Fellow
If you know of someone who would make a fantastic Wasserstein Fellow, send us their name and email address and we will invite them to apply.