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ABOUT

IfRFA’s mission is to provide financial support and career opportunities to people from backgrounds that are traditionally underrepresented in First Amendment law. The primary way that we do that is through our fellowship program, which funds law students to spend a summer diving into the nitty-gritty of freedom of expression work. 

 

We are particularly interested in supporting students of color, queer and trans students, and students with disabilities. Within those categories, we prioritize funding students who are at the intersection of multiple axes of marginalization, and students who may find it difficult to obtain summer public interest funding without IfRFA.

 

IfRFA was founded at a clinic, and we believe that clinics are uniquely well positioned to provide students with training. That’s why we require our fellows to spend at least part of their summer at a clinic within our broader network.

What do fellows get?

  • $10,000 stipend, primarily to cover living expenses for summer 2022. (The stipend will be paid in two parts - half in April, half in June.)

  • Assistance with placement in a law school clinic doing First Amendment or freedom of expression work for summer 2022. (We have not yet determined if placements will be in-person or remote.)

  • A remote, weekly, externship-style seminar that combines clinical reflection with cutting edge freedom of expression issues, running for the full summer of 2022.

  • The opportunity to participate in an IfRFA gathering of practitioners, academics, and fellows on topical issues, with one currently scheduled for March 2022.

  • Mentorship and connection with IfRFA’s advisory board and network.

  • A warm, supportive environment to engage in First Amendment issues.

 

You’re eligible if...

  • You’re a 1L or 2L in a U.S. law school.

  • You can spend at least 6 weeks working at a legal clinic over summer 2022. (We’ll work with you to find the right clinic for you, though, so no need to stress about that!)

  • You can commit to attending an in-person convening on March 24 and March 25, 2022. (Travel arrangements will be made by IfRFA. We will be monitoring COVID-19 guidance from the CDC.)

  • You self-identify as a person from a background underrepresented in First Amendment law. 

  • You do not need to be a U.S. citizen or green card holder - we are happy to work with students regarding their visa status, although we cannot sponsor visas.

 

What are we looking for?

  • Passion. Experience isn’t necessary, but you must have an interest in learning more about free expression and First Amendment issues.

  • Connection. No, we’re not saying you need to be well-connected already! Rather, we want to hear from you about how freedom of expression connects to your life and/or the work you want to do.

  • Commitment. IfRFA is a one and a half year commitment, followed by the opportunity to participate in a broader network post-fellowship. We are committing to you - we want you to be committed to us!

  • Need. We hope to fund students for whom a summer doing public interest work might not be in reach if not for IfRFA. Although we will consider applications from schools with funding opportunities for summer work, we hope you’ll understand if we prioritize folks who need the money.

 

Timeline

  • We will be accepting applications from December 2, 2021 - January 10, 2022. All applications will be reviewed after January 10th, so take your time to recover from finals! For your perusal, the application questions can be found here. The link to the application is here.

  • In mid to late January, we will reach out to candidates that we want to hear more from for interviews.

  • Fellowship decisions will be made in early February.

  • Clinic placements will be made in March.

  • Current and former fellows attend an in-person workshop on March 24, 2022, and March 25, 2022. (Travel arrangements to be made by IfRFA.)

Do you have questions about any of this? Reach out to jkaur@law.harvard.edu.