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 2021. (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 2021.

  • A remote, biweekly, externship-style seminar that combines clinical reflection with cutting edge freedom of expression issues, running for the full summer of 2021.

  • The opportunity to participate in two IfRFA gatherings of practitioners, academics, and fellows on topical issues, one in March 2021 and one in 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 2021. (We’ll work with you find the right clinic for you, though, so no need to stress about that!)

  • You can commit to attending a virtual convening on March 25th and 26th, 2021, as well as a similar event in March 2022.

  • 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.


  • We will be accepting applications from December 2, 2020 - January 11, 2021. All applications will be reviewed after January 11th.

  • 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.



  • PAST (December 8, 2020): IfRFA 2020 Reflections
    Jafet Martinez-Molina and Korica Simon spoke to Kendra Albert about their experience participating in the 2020 IfRFA Fellowship.














  • PAST (January 6, 2021): A More Representative First Amendment?              Professors Khaled Beydoun and Justin Hansford joined IfRFA Director Kendra Albert for a               discussion of the way in which First Amendment work could better engage with critical race theory. This event highlighted Professor Beydoun’s work on surveillance of Muslims, Justin Hansford’s work on the freedom of assembly as a racial project, as well as how the Initiative for a Representative First Amendment creates a space for these conversations (and more!).







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

Initiative for a Representative First Amendment

Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic

Suite 5018

1585 Massachusetts Avenue

Cambridge, MA 02138

Header image is Justice, by Diana K. Moore, from outside the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Courthouse in Newark, New Jersey. You can read more about the sculpture here.


The Initiative for a Representative First Amendment is a project of the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University and the Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic. We're proudly funded by the Legal Clinics fund.