Update, 1 March 2013: The first cohort of the Ford Foundation Law School Public Interest Fellowship Program has been selected and notified by their respective law schools. The exceptional and dedicated students selected for participation in this inaugural year will work with Ford grantees around the world during the summer of 2013. See the full list of fellows.

Launched today by the Ford Foundation, a new fellowship program will offer some of the nation’s highest achieving law students an unprecedented chance to gain experience on the frontlines of public interest law around the world.

Providing up to 100 fellowships in its inaugural year, the Ford Foundation Law School Fellowship Program will connect highly motivated and accomplished law students to substantive, ten-week placements with the foundation’s grantee organizations around the world, which are working to improve the lives of others through legal analysis, litigation and public policy advocacy.

“This program opens up a new pathway for law students to gain practical and transformative experience working on many of the defining social justice issues of our age,” said Luis Ubiñas, president of the Ford Foundation. “We believe it will offer them invaluable knowledge and understanding that will inform their careers, whether public or private, while bringing fresh talent to organizations working to advance fairness and freedom.”

The fellowship is currently open to high performing first and second year law students from an initial group of four partner institutions—Harvard Law School, New York University School of Law, Stanford Law School and Yale Law School—that have a long track record of partnership with the foundation and a commitment to public service. The foundation has made an initial commitment of up to $1.75 million for the fellowships in the first year.

“Investing in the next generation of leaders is central to the Ford Foundation’s mission,” added Ubiñas. “Higher education will shape our future. This effort continues the expansion of our work with leading academic institutions in the United States and worldwide.”

Those selected for the fellowship will receive $15,000; the first class of students will begin their fellowships in the summer of 2013. Working closely with lawyers and advocates, the students will be exposed to a variety of diverse settings and gain insight into social justice issues.

“This new fellowship proudly builds on the success of the foundation’s 50 years of dedicated support for higher education,” said Darren Walker, vice president of the foundation’s Education, Creativity and Free Expression program. “We believe the opportunities these grants will provide can connect the next generation of rights defenders to the visionary work on social justice being done globally.”

Participating Grantee Organizations

About Harvard Law School

Harvard Law School (www.law.harvard.edu) is one of the preeminent centers of legal education in the world. Led by a diverse and dedicated group of faculty and legal scholars, HLS provides unmatched opportunities to study law and related disciplines in a rigorous and collaborative environment. The school’s curriculum is unparalleled in its breadth and depth, with more than 400 courses, and nearly 30 clinics that make up the largest clinical department in the country. Harvard Law School supports a wide array of research programs, and offers students and alumni resources supporting both public and private careers. The school’s network of distinguished alumni spans the globe, and its diverse student body is drawn from every U.S. state and more than 70 countries.

About New York University School of Law

Founded in 1835, New York University School of Law (www.law.nyu.edu) has a record of academic excellence and national scholarly influence. NYU Law has been a leader in areas such as law and business, clinical education, public service, interdisciplinary colloquia and global studies, with faculty members who argue before the Supreme Court and produce cutting-edge legal scholarship.

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School (www.law.stanford.edu) is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

About Yale Law School

Yale Law School (www.law.yale.edu) is one of the premier institutions for legal education in the world. Located in the city of New Haven, Connecticut, on the Yale University campus, the Law School is an extraordinary community with a rich and vibrant history dating back to the early 1800s. It offers an unmatched environment of excellence and educational intimacy in the form of world renowned faculty, small classes, limitless opportunities for clinical training, and strong encouragement of public service. Among its alumni are U.S. Presidents and Supreme Court Justices, industry CEOs, entrepreneurs, dedicated public servants, and distinguished deans and faculty members at law schools throughout the world.

The Ford Foundation

The Ford Foundation is an independent organization working to address inequality and build a future grounded in justice. For more than 85 years, it has supported visionaries on the frontlines of social change worldwide, guided by its mission to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation, and advance human achievement. Today, with an endowment of $16 billion, the foundation has headquarters in New York and 10 regional offices across Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.

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