PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP

WHAT WE'RE LOOKING FOR



Public Rights Project will consider the following criteria in assessing fellowship applications:

  • Enthusiasm for Public Service: Lawyers who are committed to upholding civil, economic, and environmental rights, especially on behalf of vulnerable and underserved communities. We’re looking for attorneys who are passionate about the power of government to improve people’s lives, and who want to use the law to make positive change in their communities.

  • Ability to Navigate Complex Organizations: Candidates who are able to quickly understand the intricacies of local and state governments and work collaboratively, both inside the organization and with outside stakeholders, in order to solve problems and seize opportunities.

  • Legal Research and Writing Skills: Attorneys with stellar research and writing skills, and a passion for learning.

  • Litigation Experience: Candidates with litigation experience so that they can hit the ground running on small enforcement teams. Plaintiff-side or affirmative litigation experience is especially beneficial.

  • Entrepreneurial and Creative Thinking: Problem-solvers who are innovative in their approach to legal work and curious about a wide variety of substantive areas of law and policy.

  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills: Teammates who are able to bring together a diverse set of stakeholders and build trusting relationships both inside and outside the agency.

  • Effective Advocates: People with a track record of effectively managing projects and deadlines and who have shown the ability to successfully complete complex projects within deadlines and with resource constraints.

PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP LOCATIONS



Locations

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

In Cook County, our Public Rights Project fellow is assigned to the Civil Actions Bureau of the State's Attorney's Office and works on the following priorities:

  • Litigating enforcement actions designed to recoup for citizens of Cook County tax revenue wrongly withheld by corporate residents;

  • Reviewing, investigating, and filing suit against predatory lenders and financial service providers;

  • Taking targeted action to address wage theft;

  • Protecting the rights of Cook County residents from financial crimes and fraud;

  • Forming intergovernmental partnerships to ensure the fair and equitable application of laws designed to protect Cook County residents; and

  • Developing a program to utilize the civil arm of the State’s Attorney’s Office to further criminal justice reform and increase the public safety of residents of Cook County.

Click here for more information about this placement.

Detroit Mayor’s Office

In Detroit, our Public Rights Project fellow will be placed in the Mayor’s Office and has the opportunity to:

  • Take targeted action to address blight and other economic justice challenges that disproportionately affect low-income communities of color;

  • Combat fraud and discrimination against immigrants, communities of color, and low-income residents;

  • Address public health and environmental justice, including the opioid crisis and environmental hazards that affect residents in their neighborhoods; and

  • Maximize resources available to the City for affirmative rights enforcement by building lasting partnerships with surrounding institutions.

Click here for more information about this placement.

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

In Massachusetts, our Public Rights Project Fellow is assigned to the Public Protection & Advocacy Bureau and has the opportunity to:

  • Combat fraud and abuse in student lending, including for-profit schools, loan servicers, and so-called student debt relief companies;

  • Fight against wage theft, particularly when it affects low-income and immigrant workers in the construction, restaurant, and other hard-hit industries; 

  • Confront fraud and scams perpetrated against immigrant communities, including real estate scams, tax-relief schemes, consumer fraud, and notario fraud; and

  • Partner with law enforcement and local organizations to confront bias-motivated incidents and combat hate crimes in our communities.

Oakland City Attorney’s Office
Our Public Rights Project fellows at the Oakland City Attorney’s Office are placed within the Community Lawyering & Civil Rights Unit of the Affirmative Litigation, Innovation & Enforcement Division and have the opportunity to:

  • Take targeted action to address public health and other environmental justice hazards that endanger city residents; 

  • Combat consumer fraud, wage theft, and discrimination against immigrants, communities of color, women, and low-income residents;

  • Convene other local governments that engage in similar policy-forward civil rights enforcement and building lasting partnerships with those localities; and

  • Be an integral part of the office’s strategic decision-making, not just regarding ongoing cases, but also in deciding which impact cases to bring.

Click here for more information.

Wisconsin Department of Justice

Our Public Rights Project fellow at the Wisconsin Department of Justice will be assigned to projects in any of the Department’s following units: Special Litigation and Appeals; Consumer Protection & Antitrust; Medicaid Fraud Control & Elder Abuse; and Environmental Protection. Our fellow Fellow works on matters in a variety of topic areas, including:

  • Enforcement actions and related litigation concerning violations of Wisconsin’s consumer and Medicaid fraud statutes;

  • Enforcement and litigation of antitrust laws;

  • Investigation and prosecution of elder abuse;

  • Multistate investigations, including ongoing matters relating to the prescription opioids industry; and,

  • Other targeted actions to enforce Wisconsin’s environmental protection laws.

Click here for more information about this placement.

PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS



How does a Public Rights Project Fellow advance public rights?

States and cities are on the front lines of protecting 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 and equitable in 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 2019 application for the Public Rights Project Fellowship is now closed. The application will reopen for the 2020-2022 cycle in early 2020. If you would like to receive a notification when the application reopens, please visit our Apply page and fill out our Interest form. We also recommend you check our website periodically for updates. 

How long is the fellowship, and what are the start and end dates?

The fellowship runs for two years. The next fellowship will start in September 2020 and end in August 2022.

Who is eligible for the program?

Public Rights Project looks for attorneys with an active bar membership in a U.S. state, with approximately 3-5 years or more of legal experience, who have a deep interest in public service and government. 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.

Where are the fellows based?

Placement locations vary from year to year. Locations for the 2020-2022 cycle will be announced in early 2020. Our fellows are currently working in the following offices:

  • Cook County State’s Attorney

  • Detroit Mayor’s Office

  • Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office

  • Oakland City Attorney’s Office

  • Wisconsin Department of Justice

Where can I learn more about the fellowship?

During the 2019 application cycle, Public Rights Project hosted informational webinars for attorneys interested in learning more about the Public Rights Project You can find the link to those recorded webinars here. Please note that the fellowship placement locations vary each cycle. 

During the application process for our 2020-2022 fellowship class, we will have multiple opportunities to learn about our program, including webinars and virtual office hours with current fellows.

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:

  • Strong desire to work in public service

  • 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?

The Public Rights Project Fellowship application process includes a written application and a series of interviews. We will also speak to professional references and request writing samples from finalist candidates. Below is an overview of our application schedule. The precise dates will be announced when our 2020-2022 application opens in early 2020.   

March - Application Opens

May - Application Closes

June - Semi-Finalist Candidate Video Interviews

July - Finalist Candidate In-person Interviews

Late July - Fellowships Offered

September - Fellowship Orientation

When will I meet the other fellows?

Right away! 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

What are typical responsibilities of a fellow?

Fellows will work alongside government colleagues 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 include exclusively affirmative work, defined as either:

  • 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

  • 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 or comment on proposed rulemaking that impacts the host office’s ability to enforce the law and protect its community.

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.

How will my work vary depending on my fellowship placement?

In all offices, fellows will pursue affirmative work and will be an integral part of strategic decision-making, not just regarding ongoing cases, but also in deciding which impact cases to bring. Locations for the 2020-2022 cycle will be announced in early 2020.

Who will I report to?

Fellows will report directly to their placement supervisor in the host government office. In addition to their day-to-day management, fellows will have monthly conference calls with PRP staff and will be paired with a mentor.

How does PRP prioritize diversity and inclusion?

Public Rights Project is committed to the principles and practices of equal employment opportunity. 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. We encourage applications from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences. These values are core to our application process, the PRP Fellowship, and the work that we do to support equitable enforcement at the state and local level.

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.

PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP

NOMINATE A FELLOW



Do you know an attorney who is passionate about public service and would make a great fellow? You can nominate them WITH THE FORM BELOW! While we place high value on referrals, we cannot guarantee admission into our fellowship program. Thank you.

PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWSHIP

APPLY



The 2019 Public Rights Project Fellowship Application is now closed. Please fill out the form below to receive a notification when the Public Rights Project Fellowship application reopens in early 2020 for the 2020-2022 cycle.


process & deadlines

Below are the key steps in our application process and the general timeline. Please stay tuned for specific dates and instructions for next year’s application.

March Application Opens

May Application Closes

June Semi-Finalist Candidate Video Interviews

July Finalist Candidate In-person Interviews

Late-July Fellowships Offered

September Fellowship Orientation


application requirements

Applicants will be required to submit a resume, a writing sample, and three short essay responses. At a later stage of our selection process, you may be asked to provide three professional references. At that stage, only one academic reference will permitted; the other two should be from the workplace. More details about our application, including opportunities to learn more about our selection process, will be available in early 2020.


GENERAL INQUIRIES

Please email fellows@publicrightsproject.org

 

MEET THE PUBLIC RIGHTS PROJECT FELLOWS


2019 FELLOWS


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NICK DEFIESTA

OAKLAND CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE,

COMMUNITY LAWYERING & CIVIL RIGHTS UNIT

Nick DeFiesta is a Public Rights Project and Stanford Law School Public Interest Fellow working in the Oakland City Attorney's Office. During his fellowship, Nick will collaborate with Oakland’s Community Lawyering and Civil Rights Unit and work on projects to promote racial justice and LGBTQ+ rights. During law school, he pursued litigation on behalf of the labor movement at Altshuler Berzon and represented members of minority faiths in anti-discrimination lawsuits as part of Stanford’s Religious Liberties Clinic. Prior to law school, Nick was a fellow at Connecticut Voices for Children, where he conducted policy research and legislative advocacy.

A graduate of Stanford Law School and Yale College, he was the Senior Development Editor of Stanford Law Review and the co-president of OutLaw, Stanford Public Interest Law Foundation, and Stanford Law School’s student government.

 
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LAUREN MILLER

COOK COUNTY STATE’S ATTORNEY’S OFFICE,

CIVIL ACTIONS BUREAU

A 2018 law school graduate, Lauren clerked for the Honorable John R. Blakey in the Northern District of Illinois following graduation. During law school, she worked with New Haven Legal Assistance Association to represent individuals in wage theft actions and immigration proceedings. She also worked with organizations such as the National Women’s Law Center, the DOJ Civil Rights Division’s Immigrant and Employee Rights Section, and the ACLU Women’s Rights Project on employment issues ranging from equal pay to pregnancy accommodations and national origin-based discrimination. Lauren earned her J.D. from Yale Law School and her B.A. from Stanford University.

 
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COLIN STROUD

WISCONSIN DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

Colin Stroud was born and raised in Madison, and is thrilled to return home to serve the citizens of Wisconsin. Colin began his legal career as a law clerk for United States Magistrate Judge James C. Francis, IV, in the Southern District of New York. Following his clerkship, Colin joined the Civil Rights Division at the U.S. Department of Justice in October 2016 through the Attorney General's Honors Program. As a trial attorney in the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section, Colin handled investigations and enforcement actions, including pattern or practice litigation, under the Fair Housing Act, the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, and other federal civil rights statutes.

Colin is a graduate of Colorado College and the New York University School of Law.

 
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HALLAM STANTON

DETROIT MAYOR’S OFFICE

Hallam is a Detroit-based attorney with an interest in affirmative litigation at the state and local levels. Prior to joining the fellowship, Hallam clerked for the Honorable Judith E. Levy of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. There, his caseload included the class actions and individual lawsuits that arose from the Flint Water Crisis, giving him the opportunity to observe the repercussions of poor decision making in government and the potential for litigation to remedy the impact of those decisions. Hallam has also demonstrated an interest in public service internationally as an intern at the Rule of Law and Democracy Section of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva.

Hallam is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, where he was a contributing editor of the Michigan Law Review and a Dean’s Public Service Fellow. He obtained his undergraduate degree from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.

 
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KARUN TILAK

OAKLAND CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE,

COMMUNITY LAWYERING & CIVIL RIGHTS UNIT

Karun joins the fellowship after 3 years as an associate at Covington & Burling LLP. At Covington, Karun litigated several notable public interest cases, including successfully challenging the Trump administration's decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census and representing individuals harmed by President Trump's travel ban executive order. Karun also represented the State of Minnesota in a natural resources damages lawsuit against the 3M Company, which resulted in a landmark $850 million settlement.

Karun is a graduate of the Yale Law School, and clerked for Judge Jerome A. Holmes on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and Judge Anita B. Brody of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.


2018 FELLOWS


 
 
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David UREÑa

Massachusetts attorney general's office,

civil rights division

David is an experienced attorney with a background in litigation and advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers. David began his career as a Staff Attorney in the Workers’ Justice Project of Mobilization for Justice (formerly MFY Legal Services), where he provided direct legal services to hundreds of low-wage workers in New York City. He went on to join the Workers’ Rights Practice of the Community Development Project at the Urban Justice Center as a Staff Attorney. At the Community Development Project, David worked with low-wage workers, in partnership with New York City-based grassroots workers’ centers and community groups organizing for systemic workplace change, and provided representation in state and federal court litigation to vindicate their rights.

David is a graduate of Fordham Law School, where he was a Stein Scholar for Public Interest Law and Ethics, and the University of Pennsylvania.

 
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callie wilson

oakland city attorney's office,

community lawyering & civil rights unit 

We have partnered with Justice Catalyst to host an additional fellow in the Oakland City Attorney's office on a one-year fellowship. As a PRP/Justice Catalyst Fellow, Callie will collaborate with Oakland’s Community Lawyering and Civil Rights Unit and work on projects to promote gender equity. During law school, she collaborated with the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office to litigate issues ranging from housing rights to gender equity and climate change. Prior to law school, she served as the Communications Director for Assembly Member Daniel O’Donnell, the first openly gay man elected to the New York State Assembly. In that capacity she helped further legislation to combat in-school bullying and facilitate the involvement of parents of ESL students in advisory positions with the New York City Board of Education.

A graduate of Yale Law School and Barnard College, she was a co-Editor-in-Chief of the Yale Journal of Law & Feminism.