The Public Rights Project Fellowship aims to:

  • Catalyze local and state agencies’ efforts to expand affirmative litigation, community engagement, and innovative strategies to enforce their residents’ legal rights.

  • Establish a pipeline to develop experienced, diverse, talented leaders in state and local government.

The fellowship

Public Rights Project helps talented attorneys find pathways into rewarding public service careers. We place skilled, public interest-minded fellows into state or local government law offices -- City Attorneys, District Attorneys, or Attorneys General -- for two years. Fellows have the opportunity to work on a range of civil rights, economic justice, and environmental justice issues that directly impact vulnerable populations locally and across the country.

Fellows will work collaboratively alongside government colleagues on affirmative litigation, coalition building and community engagement, policy research, and other enforcement projects developed with their placement offices. They will help develop new cases and generate new ideas for their office to expand public rights enforcement.

Fellows will also publish at least one blog post, article, or policy paper with Public Rights Project 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.


Public Rights Project is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. We aim to assemble an applicant pool that 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. We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for the fellowship without regard to their race, religion, ancestry, national origin, ethnicity, sex, gender (including pregnancy and gender identity or expression), sexual orientation, color, age, mental or physical disability, marital status, veteran status, genetic information, medical condition, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.

Professional Development

Fellows begin with a multi-day orientation with Public Rights Project, 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 inclusion

  • Stakeholder engagement and partnership

Throughout the program, fellows will participate in monthly check-in calls with other fellows and Public Rights Project staff. Fellows will also receive periodic professional development opportunities from Public Rights Project staff and partners.


The fellowship pays a yearly stipend calculated based on the fellow’s legal experience, cost of living in the fellow’s placement city, and the average pay of other attorneys in the fellow’s placement office. Generally, the stipend will range from $60,000-85,000.


Fellows must have an active bar membership in a U.S. state and a passion for public service. The fellowship is likely to be ideally suited for attorneys with 3-5 years of legal experience after law school, and a background in litigation.


Locations for the 2020-2022 cycle will be announced in early 2020. Please check back for more information about these opportunities in the coming months. Our fellows are currently working in the following offices:

  • Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office

  • Detroit Mayor’s Office

  • Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

  • Oakland City Attorney’s Office

  • Wisconsin Department of Justice