The Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics at the Maurice A. Deane School of Law established the “Freedman Social Justice Fellowship Program” in 2016. This unique Fellowship was created to train law students throughout their three years to become skilled, thoughtful counselors and leaders who will be effective advocates to promote social justice and the public interest.
The comprehensive program exposes students to significant and exciting issues in public interest law through active engagement in a range of events, from informal luncheons with students and faculty to Hofstra Law programs and conferences. Freedman Social Justice Fellows are expected to take an active role in developing, organizing, and participating in the Freedman Institute’s sponsored events, drawing on the unique interests and expertise they bring to law school. As important as any of these events, the program seeks to create and nurture a strong community within Hofstra Law for those dedicated to social justice and public service. Fellows are paired with faculty and alumni mentors who will provide academic and career guidance throughout the three years of the Fellowship Program and support development of each Fellow’s individual leadership skills.
Freedman Fellows attend events that provide them with an informal opportunity to meet and engage with distinguished guest speakers, public service advocates and movement lawyers from outside Hofstra Law; faculty with public service experience; alumni; and other students. These events serve to introduce Fellows to public service opportunities at Hofstra and beyond and to explore current social justice and public service issues. Freedman Fellows also develop programs for the larger Hofstra University community in conjunction with the Institute Director. These experiences provide Fellows with the unique opportunity to meet and work with lawyers and judges.
In the second and third year, Fellows create projects in conjunction with the Institute Director or others at Hofstra Law who are engaged in pro bono or public interest projects. These projects range from movement lawyering to working with the judiciary and bar association groups to improve the quality of justice. Academic credit may be available for this work. Opportunities to hone academic and professional writing and presentation skills in connection with these projects is encouraged.
Mentoring and Community Building
The Fellowship provides a helpful support system throughout the three years at Hofstra Law. First-year Fellows are matched with an upper-class Freedman Fellow mentor. This relationship helps ease the transition of the first year of law school and fosters a supportive, collegial program. Fellows are also matched with faculty, staff and alumni mentors who provide guidance and support. The special network of alumni become part of a support system that also provides great opportunities for social events and informal job counseling. All Freedman Fellows are invited to an annual dinner where, in an intimate setting, selected faculty and guests discuss emerging social justice issues with prominent public service professionals.
Freedman Fellows are offered assistance in securing internships in the public sector following their first and second years at Hofstra Law. This includes work in a variety of governmental and nongovernmental settings including judicial chambers; public interest and legal services organizations; federal, state and local agencies; nongovernmental organizations (NGOs); as well as civil rights, immigration, environmental, criminal defense and family organizations and firms committed to the provision of pro bono legal services. Funding for public sector summer internships is available for all 1L and 2L students. In addition, Freedman Fellows are expected to participate in the Law School’s annual Public Justice Foundation fundraising effort each spring.
Professor Ellen Yaroshefsky, Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics and Executive Director of the Monroe H. Freedman Institute for the Study of Legal Ethics, takes part in program activities and serves as an inspiring advisor to all Freedman Social Justice Fellows.
Compensation and Time Requirements
- Fellowship awards include a one-time $500 stipend to be paid in equal installments during the first year of acceptance into the “Freedman Social Justice Fellowship Program” (August-May).
- Time requirements include approximately 10 hours per month during each academic year. Requirements include: attending monthly Fellowship meetings, developing programs and participating in sponsored events. During 2L and 3L years, Fellows are expected to provide a leadership and mentoring role to new Fellows who are accepted into the program.
Interested students who have been admitted to Hofstra Law are eligible to apply to the “Freedman Social Justice Fellowship Program.” Selection into the program is highly competitive. Ten (10) Fellows will be selected for the 2019-20 academic year based on the following criteria:
- academic achievement;
- demonstrated commitment to social justice and public service;
- diverse background and interests; and
- prior experience in public interest organizations, nonprofits and/or government work.
Application and Selection Process
- Applications for the “Freedman Social Justice Fellowship Program” will be available Monday, June 3, 2019. All completed applications are due by 5 p.m., Monday, July 1, 2019.
- All applicants will be notified of the status of their application by Monday, July 15, 2019.
- Applications are to be submitted via the Hofstra Law Admitted Student Portal and must include:
- A Personal Statement essay, no longer than two double-spaced pages, discussing the student’s interest in social justice and public interest law; and
- Previously submitted documents from the applicant’s official Hofstra Law Admissions records; documents to be reviewed include the following (no need to re-submit):
- current resume;
- current academic transcript;
- letters of recommendations; and
- LSAT and GPA.
Please feel free to contact the Freedman Institute:
Debbie Grattan, Legal Ethics Coordinator
Koppelman Hall, Room 201
Phone: 516-463-5748 Email: Deborah.J.Grattan@hofstra.edu