FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



How does a Public Rights Project Fellow advance public rights?
States and cities are on the front lines of defending their residents against discrimination, fraud, and disenfranchisement. PRP fellows work with chronically under-resourced government law offices to expand enforcement efforts, protect their residents, and grow the impact of a city or state’s legal work. Their work will include developing new legal theories and enforcement strategies for 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?

  • Leverage your unique background and legal experience for innovative work at the city and state government level.

  • Become a leader in your community and gain access to leadership opportunities in city and state government.

  • Develop groundbreaking impact litigation to advance justice for underserved communities.

  • Bolster your hands-on litigation experience working alongside experienced litigators and leaders.

  • During and after the fellowship, connect to a rich network of PRP staff, board members and affiliates to assist you in continuing your public service career.

When is the application deadline?
The application will open in March 15, 2018. The deadline to submit all parts of the application is May 15, 2018 at 11:59pm PDT.

How long is the fellowship, and what are the start and end dates?
The fellowship runs for two years, starting in September 2018 and ending in August 2020.

Who is eligible for the program? 
Public Rights Project looks for attorneys with an active bar membership in a US state, with approximately 3-5 years or more of legal experience, who have a deep interest in public service and government. CA bar membership (for the Oakland placement) or MA bar membership or eligibility (for the MA placement) is strongly preferred, but not required. Attorneys with at least five years of experience may be eligible to be admitted to the MA bar by motion. Please see below for additional criteria we’ll consider in evaluating your application.

What are the pay and benefits in the program?
Fellows are paid an annual stipend to cover living expenses. Please note that stipends will vary by location and are calculated based on cost of living and the placement office’s average salaries. The average range is $60,000-$80,000. PRP also provides an additional stipend to cover fellows’ healthcare.

Where are the fellows based?
Fellows are placed in city and state government agencies across the country.  Placement locations vary from year to year, and the application indicates the upcoming year’s placement availability. Click here for more information on locations.

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 includes:

  • Strong desire to work in public service

  • Approximately 3-5 years of lawyering experience

  • Litigation experience (any plaintiff-side litigation experience is a bonus)

  • Wide-ranging interests in multiple areas of law

  • Stellar research and writing skills

  • Ability to understand, navigate, and achieve results in complex governmental organizations

  • Commitment to building entrepreneurial atmosphere in state and local government

  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills

  • Demonstrated ability to achieve outcomes and results within deadlines and resource constraints

What is the application process?

March 15, 2018 - Application Opens

May 15, 2018 - Application Closes

June 2018 - Candidate Interviews

July 2018 - Fellowships Offered

July 2018 - Fellows Announced

September 2018 - Fellowships Start

When will I meet the other fellows?
Fellows begin with a multi-day orientation at Public Rights Project in Oakland, CA, followed by onboarding with their placement offices. Orientation consists of in-depth training and workshops on topics pertinent to the fellowship, including:

  • City and state government structure

  • Successful models for affirmative litigation

  • Leadership in government

  • Diversity, equity, and inclusiveness

What are typical responsibilities of a fellow?
Fellows will work alongside colleagues in their government offices on affirmative litigation (including new case generation and ongoing affirmative litigation), coalition building and community engagement, policy research, and other projects developed with their placement offices as needed. A fellow’s litigation docket will only include affirmative work, defined as either: (1) litigation, potential litigation, or other enforcement strategies in a proactive capacity, in which the agency is the plaintiff, potential plaintiff, or amici on the plaintiff’s side; or (2) litigation or potential litigation in which the agency is the defendant or amici on the defendant’s side, but in which the agency is defending proactive policy choices that protect and/or expand the civil, economic, or environmental rights of residents. For example, if a city is sued by someone challenging an anti-discrimination city ordinance, the fellow may work on defending the city in that litigation. In some circumstances, fellows may also help draft legislation.

Fellows will also publish at least one blog post, article or policy paper with PRP during their fellowship on a topic related to their work. For example, a fellow working on predatory lending may publish an issue brief identifying strategies and legal theories other state and local governments may wish to use to address the problem in their communities.

Who would I report to?
Fellows will report directly to their placement supervisor in the host government office. In addition, fellows will have monthly conference calls with PRP staff.

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.

Do I need to be a U.S. Citizen to apply?
No, U.S. citizenship is not a requirement. All Fellows must be authorized to work in the U.S. Public Rights Project welcomes and encourages people of all backgrounds to apply to the fellowship.

Other questions? We're here to help. Email fellows@publicrightsproject.org with further inquiries.