Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship

Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship

General Information

Notre Dame Law School is offering two public service fellowships for students graduating with a J.D. in 2016 to fund the beginning stage of careers in public service. Each Fellow will work for two years in a non-profit 501( c )( 3 ) organization that works for social justice by providing direct legal services to low-income or other under-represented populations or by engaging in legal advocacy on important issues of public policy. The employment must directly use the skills and knowledge gained from the graduate’s legal education. The Fellowship must begin no later than December 31, 2016. Fellows will be employed by their host agency and will be paid annual salaries of $46,000 by their host agency plus be eligible for the same benefits as regular employees of the host agency. Notre Dame Law School will reimburse the host agencies for the salaries and cost of benefits provided to the Fellows. Fellows and their host agencies are required to make a two-year commitment, subject to a review at the end of the first year to ensure that the Fellowship is meeting the needs and expectations of all parties. Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship does not provide any loan repayment assistance. However, Fellows will be eligible to apply for loan repayment assistance through the law school’s separate Loan Repayment Assistance Program or through any other loan repayment assistance program for which they might be eligible.

A commitment of this nature requires a willing and capable host agency. Therefore, applicants must identify a host agency before the application deadline and also identify the work they will perform at the host agency. An applicant’s proposal must include a plan to address an issue currently unmet by the host agency. A host agency must be a 501 ( c )( 3 ) organization that offers either direct legal services or legal advocacy on public policy issues.

Application Process

All applications must be received by September 14, 2015. Students wishing to apply must submit the Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship Application Packet, consisting of the following:

1. Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship 2015 Application
2. Official Law School Transcript
3. A Letter of Recommendation from a Professor
4. A Letter of Recommendation from a Former Employer
5. Resume (including Undergraduate GPA)
6. Signed Fellow Agreement, with explanation of the type of work the applicant anticipates performing and the name and address of the host agency
7. Signed Host Agency Agreement, identifying the work the applicant would be engaged to perform, and accompanied by documentation that confirms the host agency’s 501( c )(3) status

Application packets are available in the Notre Dame Law School Career Development Office. Completed application packets should be submitted to the Notre Dame Law School Career Development Office by September 14, 2015.

Applications will be reviewed by the Thomas L. Shaffer Public Interest Fellowship Committee (“the Committee”), which may include faculty, staff members, and alumni from Notre Dame Law School. The Committee will select a limited number of applicants for a personal interview. Interviews will be conducted on February 18 and 19. The Fellows will be selected no later than March 15, 2016. Fellows are required to begin working with their host agency during the 2016 calendar year.

Factors the Committee will consider when selecting the Fellows include: (1) the applicant’s demonstrated dedication to public service and the law, including whether the applicant has applied to EJW, Skadden, and other fellowships (2) the applicant’s competency to serve clients successfully during the proposed fellowship, (3) the applicant’s long-term career goals, (4) the quality and feasibility of the proposed fellowship, and (5) the proposed fellowship ability to further the mission of Notre Dame Law School.


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