Skadden Foundation Grant

Skadden Foundation


Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Deadline: Sep 17, 2018

Applicant type: Graduate Student Nonprofit

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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Overview:

About the Foundation

The Skadden Fellowship Program, described as "a legal Peace Corps" by The Los Angeles Times, was established in 1988 to commemorate the firm's 40th anniversary, in recognition of the dire need for greater funding for graduating law students who wish to devote their professional lives to providing legal services to the poor (including the working poor), the elderly, the homeless and the disabled, as well as those deprived of their civil or human rights. The aim of the program is to give Fellows the freedom to pursue public interest work; thus, the Fellows create their own projects at public interest organizations with at least two lawyers on staff before they apply.

Fellowships are awarded for two years. Skadden provides each Fellow with a salary and pays all fringe benefits to which an employee of the sponsoring organization would be entitled. For those Fellows not covered by a law school low-income protection plan, the firm will pay a Fellow's law school debt service for the tuition part of the loan for the duration of the Fellowship. The 2018 class of Fellows brings to 820 the number of academically outstanding law school graduates and judicial clerks the foundation has funded to work full-time for legal and advocacy organizations.

In its 2010 "US Innovative Lawyers" report, the Financial Times ranked our firm in the top tier in the Responsible Business category in connection with the Fellowship Program, highlighting that it "ensures some of the brightest legal talent goes into public life."

We wish to note that the Fellowship Program is not a substitute for Skadden's considerable pro bono efforts. As a charter signatory of the American Bar Association's Law Firm Pro Bono Challenge, Skadden pledges to commit time equivalent to at least 3 percent of the firm's annual billable hours to work on pro bono matters. Our attorneys are engaged in a range of pro bono and community activities. The foundation and Fellowship Program were created to complement these efforts, as we believe there is no substitute for full-time public interest work.

It is the firm's hope that, through their efforts and their example, Skadden Fellows will increase and improve the legal services available to the less fortunate in our society. Indeed, there is the expectation that the members of this cadre of new public interest lawyers will, individually and collectively over the course of their careers, have a profound effect on the quality and delivery of legal services. Since the inception of the program, almost 90 percent of the Fellows have remained in public interest or public sector work.

Our commitment does not stop when Fellowship funding ends — the Fellowship is just the beginning. We have undertaken a series of regional reunion symposia for former Fellows and extend to all Fellows a monthly newsletter and webinars.

Application Process

The foundation will award two-year fellowships for 2019 law school graduates and outgoing judicial law clerks who want to work in the public interest. Grants are made to organizations only, not to individuals. Therefore, before the application date of September 17, all applicants must identify a sponsoring public interest organization. The sponsor must be a 501(c)(3) organization that provides civil legal services to the poor, including the working poor, the elderly, the disabled or those deprived of their civil or human rights.

An Advisory Committee, comprised of a dozen partners from all of Skadden's U.S. offices, works closely with Susan Butler Plum, director of the Fellowship Program, to administer the program and select each year's fellows. Selection is based on a variety of factors, including the qualifications of the applicant (competency, academic performance, character and demonstrated commitment to the public interest), the demonstrated effectiveness of the sponsoring organization, the quality of the proposed project and the worthiness of the project's goals.

From the large number of applications, we identify approximately 100 semifinalists, each of whom will be invited for an in-person interview. From this group, 56 finalists are presented in mid November to the selection trustees: seven individuals from outside the firm, Skadden's executive partner, two of counsel to the firm and one second-year fellow. Those applicants receiving a fellowship will be notified by November 16.

Finalists will be announced on October 17, 2018. After that date, if any finalist is presented with another opportunity or receives a fellowship offer from another organization, we encourage you to contact us. The Skadden Foundation is committed to the complete transparency of the application process. 

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.

Eligibility:

  • Grants are made to organizations only, not to individuals.
  • Therefore, before the application date, all applicants must identify a sponsoring public interest organization.
  • The sponsor must be a 501(c)(3) organization that provides civil legal services to the poor, including the working poor, the elderly, the disabled or those deprived of their civil or human rights.

Ineligibility:

  • Skadden fellows, once awarded a fellowship, cannot receive any other fellowship funds or prize monies for the two-year duration of the Skadden fellowship.


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