Project-based fellowships are funded by foundations that provide support for a recent law graduate to carry out a project in conjunction with an existing non-profit organization ("host organization"). Fellows typically propose to expand the scope of the host organization's existing legal services, often by developing a new advocacy strategy or reaching a new target population. Each foundation that funds project-based fellowships has its own criteria governing the types of projects it will support and the eligibility of applicants and host organizations.
Application deadlines for most project-based fellowships are in the fall preceding the year in which the fellowship will commence. Usually, this means that the application will be due in fall of your 3L year or the year during which you are clerking. These applications require significant preparatory work in advance of the application deadline. It is often helpful to work as an intern or extern with your host organization prior to applying for a fellowship. Doing so helps you learn about the type of work the organization does, identify project ideas, and ensure that you and the organization are a good fit. It also demonstrates to funders that you and the organization are committed to one another.