James E. Tolan Human Rights Fellowship

James E. Tolan Human Rights Fellowship

The Leitner Center is currently accepting applications for the 2018-2019 Tolan Fellowship. The Fellowship will support one or more graduating Fordham Law School students who design an international human rights program in coordination with a host organization. The Fellowship is awarded to individuals with a demonstrated commitment to pursuing a career in international human rights law and will enable them to gain practical work experience, while providing a modest salary for one year. The Fellowship is named in honor of James E. Tolan ’62, a long-time supporter of the human rights program at Fordham Law School.


Graduating Class of 2018 J.D. students from Fordham Law School are eligible for the Tolan Fellowship. Note that the Selection Committee is not required to award any fellowships in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.

Funding Details

The Tolan Fellowship provides a one-year stipend of $40,000. Fellows must make a commitment to work at their sponsoring organization full time for one full calendar year. Fordham University will send fellowship funding to the sponsoring organization and the sponsoring organization will pay the fellow according to their own employee pay schedule. Fellows are not considered employees of Fordham Law School or Fordham University. Fordham Law School cannot pay for health insurance or other benefits. It is possible that arrangements may be made to receive health insurance and other benefits through the sponsoring organization, but the ability of the sponsoring organization to provide these will vary from organization to organization.

Application Requirements and Instructions

Applicants are invited to design projects that draw on their legal education and experience at Fordham Law School and engage timely issues in countries where their efforts are most needed and where there are insufficient resources for human rights protection. Fellowship proposals based anywhere in the world will be considered. Fellowships based outside of the United States will be the most competitive.

Applicants should submit the materials below in a single, complete pdf application packet to LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu

Applicants are encouraged to develop their projects in coordination with an appropriate sponsoring organization. Projects may address human rights, development, and justice issues across the globe. Project proposals should be as detailed as possible. Applicants are strongly encourage to work closely with Leitner Center staff to plan their proposals, including host organization arrangements. Again, inquiries can be sent to Program Associate Christine ElDabh at celdabh@law.fordham.edu.

Application packages must include:

  1. Curriculum vitae, including information about classes, work and extracurricular activities in public interest and human rights;
  2. A personal statement (500 words maximum) about the applicant’s relevant experience, interest, and future aspirations with respect to human rights work. The statement should include a discussion of the place of the fellowship in the applicant’s career plans;
  3. Project proposal including:(1) a description of the sponsoring organization and of its work in the local and international context; and (2) a discussion of the project and its relation to the work of the organization;
  4. A letter from the sponsoring organization detailing their purpose, function and interest in the work of the applicant; the supervision they will provide for the project; and how the Fellow’s project will further the human rights work of the organization;
  5. Two or three letters of recommendation, including at least one from a Fordham Law School professor;
  6. Fordham Law School transcript.

Selection Process

The Tolan Fellowship Selection Committee will consider the applicant’s relevant human rights experience and academic performance, the value and potential impact of the proposed project, the capacity of the proposed organization to host the applicant and the relevance of the project for the career plans of the applicant.

The Selection Committee is not required to award any fellowships in the absence of sufficiently qualified applicants.

Interviews may be required for finalists.

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Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
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New York, NY 10023 USA

Email: LeitnerCenter@law.fordham.edu
Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Gay McDougall
Distinguished Scholar-in-Residence

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