(Notes from presentation by Professor Nekima Levy-Pounds)
- It best to start looking for fellowships early on, narrow down your areas of interest and seek fellowships available in those areas.
- Look for ways to gain experience, through volunteer work, clinic, mentor program, CLE’s, etc. Make yourself a valuable candidate; be able to exhibit substantive experience and passion. You also need to be building relationships with potential references.
- Read the Comprehensive Fellowship Guide (available at CPD and online) and Guerilla Tactics for Getting the Legal Job of Your Dreams.
- Once you have found fellowship opportunities for which you would like to apply read and re-read the posting: memorize all requirements, make sure you are interested, qualified, and that you think it will be a good fit.
- Research the sponsoring organization or firm on the internet: read about past fellows, their qualifications, experiences, etc. Learn about areas of practice or focus issues. Read any news articles on the firm's/organization's work.
- Use research for filling out the application and tailoring your resume and cover letter to the specifications or requirements of the application; if possible use the terms/language directly from the application.
- experience that is directly relevant
- experience that is related to the fellowship (i.e., skills that are transferable to fellowship)
- send the impression that you are competent and capable of surviving in the legal world
- pull key skill words from the application and highlight them on your resume (assuming you've demonstrated such skills in the past, of course)
- Cover letter: capture the magnitude of your skills
- crafted specifically to the organization/firm
- make yourself, skills, experiences stand out show your passion
- do not regurgitate information included in your resume highlight things which are not readily apparent
- try to start with something unique about yourself your background, passion, etc. Express to the organization/firm who you are and why you are a good fit for the position.
- Does the application include a project proposal?
- Brainstorm what you would like to do with the resources provided.
- Make your proposal unique but feasible
- Find a professor who may be able to advise you in that area
- Tailor the proposal to a specific practice area or area of focus of the firm/organization.
- Do more research: contact past fellows if possible; obtain available information on who will be interviewing you learn all you can about them.
- Have someone look over the entire package before sending it off check for typos, grammar, etc.
- Prepare, prepare, prepare.
- Do extensive research on the organization or firm that you will be interviewing with, attorneys or employees who work there and past fellows. Often past (or present) fellows are more then willing to discuss their experiences and can give great insider tips on who will be interviewing you.
- Review CPD's Interviewing Tips
- Participate in mock interviews, go over previous research, think of questions to ask, be confident, relaxed, comfortable.
- Be sure to send thank you notes after the interview.
- References often are a decisive factor in whether or not you receive the fellowship. Thus, it is crucial that you have glowing, positive references.
- Inform your references early on of the fellowship you are applying for, and provide them with a copy of your resume, cover letter and application.
- Be sure they are well equipped to speak on your behalf, and that they know you well and are willing to give a great recommendation.