Skadden Foundation Fellowship

Skadden Foundation

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Predicted deadline: Sep 14, 2021

Grant amount: Unspecified amount

Fields of work: Law Legal Services

Applicant type: Graduate Student

Funding uses: Fellowship

Location of project: United States

Location of residency: United States

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About this funder:



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 2020 law school graduates, outgoing judicial law clerks, and LL.M. candidates who want to work in the public interest. The FAQs and key dates below provide general information about the Skadden Fellowship and our application process. Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions or would like to discuss your specific project proposal.

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


  •  You may apply during the fall of your 3L year, an LL.M., a clerkship, or the final year of a graduate program in which you were enrolled concurrently with your law degree.
  • You may still apply during an LL.M. or a clerkship even if you worked as an attorney between graduating from law school and starting the LL.M. or clerkship. 
  • A Fellow’s project must be located in the United States, its territories, or an American Indian, Alaska Native, or Native Hawaiian community.


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


This page was last reviewed September 01, 2020 and last updated September 01, 2020