Career Development Office
100 Law Center
Houston, Texas 77204-6060
The purpose of our fellowship is to help graduates increase their marketability while providing a valuable community service through working with government or non-profit legal organizations. The goal is to work with an organization that will expand a graduate's experience/resume and increase their connections in the legal market while also engaging in our bi-weekly career coaching & counseling program. The fellowship program helps graduates productively bridge the time between sitting for a bar exam and receiving bar results.
Fellows agree to use their education and talents to serve the public interest organization while waiting for bar results by working at least 20 hours a week for 10 weeks beginning the last week of August and ending the first week of November. The exact schedule is to be negotiated between the school, the graduate and the organization. The fellowship award is up to $4,000 for this ten week period. Graduates must also participate in our bi-weekly fellowship career coaching & counseling program.
The application is a three-step process:
(1) Prior to arranging placement, schedule a Graduate Fellowship meeting with the Public Interest Advisor, Bhavika Shah by April 26, 2013 (schedule appointments here). You will meet with the Public Interest Advisor and your 3L Counselor, in Career Development to discuss placement options relevant to your career goals.
(2) Secure an internship and have your organization submit an agency Agreement by May 17, 2013.
(3) Email your application and resume to Bhavika Shah and Anna Julia in the Career Development Office by May 17, 2013.
What criteria are considered for selection of fellows?
While we expect to award up to fifty fellowships, please know that there are always limits to funding. A timely application with a placement in line with the fellowship purpose increases your likelihood of receiving an award. The following criteria are considered:
1. Applicant's need for employment.
2. Applicant's legal and other work experience and how the fellowship will enhance applicant's legal skills and resume.
3. Applicant's articulated career and first job goals as compared to the placement secured. An explanation of how this program/placement will help prepare applicant to embark on their career is most helpful.
4. Applicant's interest in serving the community (whether for this period of time or as a career). A lack of previous community service should not deter a graduate from submitting an application.
5. Quality and seriousness of application.
In line with the program purpose, graduates select only placement where they have not previously interned/worked. Most non-profit and state or local government offices involved in the legal system will qualify. Work to be performed must be of a substantive legal nature and must be supervised by a licensed attorney. Visit with the career development office to discuss options.
I'm already working with an eligible organization, why can't I stay with them for the fellowship?
One of the primary purposes of the program is to help graduates increase their marketability which includes adding a new experience to the resume and building new connections in the legal community. As such, a graduate needs to seek placement with an organization where they have not previously worked/interned and that will help further their career goals. Visit with the career office about placement options.
Applications are reviewed and applicants will be notified of decisions via email before the end of May 2013.
To be eligible for payment, fellows must:
(1) Begin working and every two weeks provide a summary of work and hours and projects by completing the electronic form
(2) Complete commitment of hours to the agency and all reporting requirements for the fellowship program; and
(3) Attend bi-weekly career counseling/coaching and/or networking events as scheduled by the Career Development Office.
(4) Maintain contact with the Law Center and respond to post-fellowship evaluation and employment survey requests.
Important note: The first fellowship payments will not be processed until after the first timesheets are submitted. Payment processing usually takes 4-6 weeks. Thus, payment will not begin until early to mid- October.
As indicated, a primary purpose of the program is increasing a graduate's marketability. Thus in addition to the valuable legal experience a fellow gains, they will also participate in bi-weekly career coaching/counseling and job search related assignments/events. This could include meetings on campus in a group setting and individual counseling sessions. If you will be relocating 100 miles or more from Houston for your fellowship, career coaching/counseling will be via telephone or Skype. Exact schedule will be determined in August.
The participating organizations are extremely busy and have made special arrangements to accommodate/arrange work for our fellows. We ask that you make every effort to fulfill your commitment to them prior to embarking on another path. If you receive/accept a full time job, please notify Bhavika Shah immediately, and the Law Center will try and fill your spot with another eligible candidate. However, once you have received the fellowship funds, the expectation is that you will complete the fellowship. If you cannot complete your obligation, you must return the funding to the Law Center. Please keep in contact with Bhavika Shah and let her know of any concerns, employment offers, and other life-changing events which may impact your fellowship.
Each individual should check with their own tax advisor. The fellowship is an educational opportunity closely akin to a scholarship, however the University may issue a 1099 for funds released. Taxes owed would depend upon a number of factors, so again, each individual should check with their own tax advisor.