• Practicing attorneys: Licensed state or local government attorneys of all experience levels who are seeking to develop or deepen their affirmative litigation skills. Candidates may have between 3 and 20+ years of experience. For example, some participants might be skilled prosecutors or general counsel seeking to transition to civil litigation. Others might be experienced civil litigators transitioning to plaintiff-side work or moving into government for the first time from the private or nonprofit sectors.

  • Supportive offices: Offices and supervisors who support an applicant’s participation in the Fellowship and the development or expansion of the office’s affirmative litigation practice.

  • Passion about power of government to improve residents’ lives: Lawyers who want to use the law to proactively make positive change in their communities.

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills: Team players who are able to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders and build trusting relationships both inside and outside their agencies.

  • Results-driven advocates: Public servants with the ability to achieve outcomes and results within deadlines and resource constraints.

  • Ability to navigate complex organizations: Candidates with a track record of being able to navigate the intricacies of government organizations and work collaboratively, both inside their offices and with outside stakeholders to solve problems and seize opportunities.

  • Litigation experience: Candidates with litigation experience so they can build upon it to develop an affirmative litigation practice.



How does an Affirmative Leaders Fellow advance public rights?

States and cities are on the front lines of defending their residents against discrimination, fraud, and disenfranchisement. Affirmative Leaders Fellows receive training and support to help them work to expand enforcement efforts, protect their residents, and grow the impact of a city or state’s legal work. They develop and hone the skills to advance new legal theories and enforcement strategies for their offices to be more proactive using the law to address their communities’ needs. Their work is also aimed at helping city, county, and state law enforcement agencies work more collaboratively on complex problems.

What are the advantages of becoming a Fellow?

During the year-long program, Affirmative Leaders Fellows will participate in a series of in-person and remote trainings and workshops focused on developing and improving their affirmative investigation and litigation skills. Fellows will grow their skill set and enrich themselves as public lawyers. They will also enhance their ability to serve their communities by taking proactive steps to advance public rights using litigation tools.

Specifically, Affirmative Leaders Fellows will:

  • Participate in a multi-day orientation, where they will meet their fellows cohort, learn from leaders in public affirmative litigation, and set goals and plan for the year.

  • Join at least 2 other in-person convenings to learn concrete skills necessary to be an effective government plaintiff, like initiating and managing investigations, taking testimony, negotiating settlements with a government client, leveraging your influence through amicus work, and interpersonal skills like leadership development.

  • Connect by video conference monthly to receive coaching and additional learning opportunities.

  • Receive one-on-one mentoring focused on developing an affirmative litigation practice.

  • Carry out affirmative work in their offices that gives them a chance to apply their skills and improves the lives of vulnerable residents in their communities.

Professional development and public lawyering does not fit neatly into a one-year time-frame. Accordingly, Affirmative Leaders Fellowship alumni will continue to benefit from having participated in the program. As alumni of the program, former fellows will:

  • Continue to have access to Public Rights Project’s network of public impact litigators.

  • Receive discounts on and access to ongoing training and professional development opportunities.

What are the advantages to offices for having their staff participate in the Affirmative Leaders Fellowship?

Offices will receive low-cost professional development for their attorneys focused on practical approaches to developing and deepening their affirmative litigation proficiency. Offices will be able to initiate and pursue more effective affirmative cases relying on this enhanced skill set. The Fellowship is intended to provide a foundation for prosecuting affirmative civil cases for offices that have never engaged in this type of work before and also serve as a professional bootcamp for attorneys in offices with more experience but who have not themselves participated in this type of work. By providing this foundation for staff members, offices will be able to conduct more impactful work on behalf of their communities.

When is the application deadline?
The application is now open and can be found here. The deadline to submit all parts of the application is March 8, 2019 at 11:59pm Pacific Time.

How does an applicant submit a letter of support?

To complete your application, you must submit a letter of support from your employer indicating support for your participation in the fellowship and the development or expansion of the office’s litigation practice. Please use the template to fulfill this component of your application.

How long is the fellowship, and what are the start and end dates?
The fellowship runs for one year, starting in May 2019 and ending in April 2020.

Who is eligible for the program? 
Fellows must be current employees of a state or local government law office with an active bar membership in the jurisdiction where their office is located. At least part of their job description should include or will include affirmative litigation. The fellowship is likely best suited for attorneys who have newly joined a government office or who have recently moved within government to a new or expanded affirmative litigation role.

What is the cost of the program?
The estimated value of the fellowship is $20,000. The majority of Public Rights Project’s costs to run the program are covered with generous support from foundations and charitable donations.

Fellows, through their offices, are asked to contribute a participation fee of $4,750, which includes travel and lodging for in-person sessions. This fee may be discounted or waived upon request, depending on the needs of individual offices. Interested applicants and offices are encouraged to reach out to us for more information about these discounts, and to submit an application regardless of ability to pay.

Where are the fellows based?
Public Rights Project is a national organization and seeks applicants from state and local public law offices - like city attorney, county counsel, district attorney and state attorney general offices - across the United States. Fellows remain employed by and stationed at their offices throughout the fellowship, with the exception of travel for the in-person convenings.

How are fellows selected?
Fellows are selected by a committee that includes Public Rights Project staff, board members, partners, and placement staff.

What are we looking for in our fellows?
Fellows are selected using criteria that include:

  • Practicing attorneys

  • Supportive offices

  • Passion about the power of government to improve people's lives

  • Effective advocacy

  • Interpersonal and communication skills

  • Ability to navigate complex organizations

  • Litigation Experience

What is the application process?

January 28, 2019 - Application Opens

March 8, 2019 - Application Closes

March 25-29, 2019 - Candidate Video Interviews

April 2019 - Fellowships Offered

May 22-23, 2019 - Fellowship Orientation

When will I meet the other fellows?
Right away! We believe fellows will learn a great deal from each other. The Fellowship will begin with a multi-day orientation at Public Rights Project in Oakland, CA, during which fellows will meet their cohort, learn from leaders in public affirmative litigation, set goals, and plan for the year.

Where will the programs take place?

Orientation for the Fellowship will take place in Oakland, CA. The other in-person convenings will take place in other locations, to be announced.

How does PRP prioritize diversity and inclusion?
We aim to assemble an applicant pool that adequately represents the face of the world we live in. We believe that a variety of perspectives enrich the efficacy of the work of local and state governments.

Other questions?

We're here to help. Email with further inquiries.



Do you know an attorney who is passionate about public service and would make a great Affirmative Leaders Fellow?

You can nominate them using the form below. We will reach out to all nominees to encourage them to apply. While we value your recommendation, we cannot guarantee admission into our fellowship program. Thank you

Affirmative Leaders Fellowship


We are interested in learning more about you, your current work, and the value you believe this training will provide to your office’s ability to serve its community. Please answer to the best of your ability. We look forward to hearing from you! 


The deadline to apply is march 8th, 2019 at 11:59PM Pacific time

Questions? Please email