Vanderbilt Law School Background Image

The George Barrett Social Justice Fellowship

Photo of renowned civil rights attorney George "The Citizen" Barrett '57The Barrett Social Justice Fellowship honors the legacy of renowned Nashville civil rights attorney George "The Citizen" Barrett '57 by enabling a Vanderbilt Law graduate to carry out a one-year public interest project under the supervision and sponsorship of a host organization. The law school will provide funding to enable the Fellow to receive a $40,000 salary and health insurance from the host organization.

 

Applicant requirements: Applicants must apply in the spring prior to their graduation from Vanderbilt. Fellowship terms will begin the fall after graduation. Applicants should have a demonstrated commitment to public interest work and must secure a sponsorship commitment from a host organization. Together, the applicant and the host organization should develop a project proposal that will address unmet legal needs or advance the rights of underserved populations.

Host organization requirements: The host organization must be a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization or public defender's office with at least one attorney on staff. The host organization must be willing to employ the fellow during the one-year fellowship term and allow the fellow to enroll in its health insurance plan. The host organization must also commit to providing the fellow with the legal supervision and support needed to complete the project successfully.

Project requirements: The project must involve legal advocacy on behalf of underserved individuals or populations. The project may be civil or criminal in focus, though projects in the area of indigent defense should involve an innovative approach to systemic issues instead of routine individual representation.

How to apply:

The George Barrett Social Justice Fellowship application involves a two-step process:

Step 1: Any student interested in applying for the George Barrett Social Justice Fellowship must send an e-mail with a one-paragraph description of the proposed project and possible host organization to the Public Interest Office by February 14, 2021. Applicants whose proposed projects meet the fellowship criteria will be invited to submit a full application, described in Step 2.

Step 2: Final application packets, including all the components described below, must be submitted by April 4, 2021 to the Public Interest Office:

  • An essay describing your commitment to public interest work and your career aspirations (no more than two double spaced pages);
  • A project proposal, including a statement of need, project goals, and an explanation of how your project will reach those goals (no more than two double spaced pages);
  • A commitment letter from your host organization indicating its willingness to employ you, enroll you in its health insurance plan, and provide the legal supervision and support necessary to complete the proposed project successfully;
  • Resume;
  • Law school transcript, and
  • Two letters of recommendation from professors or employers.