Fellowship Program

The Cleary Gottlieb Fellowship Program places associates at legal services or nonprofit organizations for one year, providing critically needed legal work to underserved communities.

Our inaugural cohort of Fellows, who began their fellowships in 2020 and 2021, includes associates across a range of substantive practice areas and seniorities. Beginning with the fall 2021 cohort, the Fellowship Program will be open only to incoming New York first-year associates.  Throughout the application process, applicants work closely with Cleary’s pro bono practice leadership to identify host organizations that match their interests and skills.

What Do Fellows Do?

Cleary Fellows work in a broad range of practice areas, including immigration (direct representation, impact litigation, and policy), criminal defense (public defender, criminal trials, appeals and post-conviction, and policy), civil rights (environmental and racial justice), international human rights (assisting post-conflict states, assisting the wrongfully detained and/or convicted), civil work (benefits, employment, economic justice), corporate and transactional (nonprofits and small businesses), and family law (domestic violence, orders of protection, and custody/visitation issues).

Fellows have worked at host organizations including ACLU-NJ, Acumen, The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, the Clooney Foundation for Justice, Everytown for Gun Safety, Federal Defenders of New York, the International Refugee Assistance Project, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, The Legal Aid Society, Legal Services NYC, New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, the Office of the Appellate Defender, the Public International Law & Policy Group, Sanctuary for Families, Start Small Think Big and the Vera Institute for Justice.

The range of work is incredibly diverse, and applicants are encouraged to think actively about the type of host organization that would be a good fit.

Are Fellows Still Part of Cleary?

Fellows are employed by the firm but work at their host organizations for one year doing work only for the host organization.

Fellows stay connected to the Cleary community throughout their fellowship through CLEs, social and professional networking events, and our ongoing Cleary Fellowship Speaker Series.

What Happens After a Fellowship Ends?

At the end of the one-year placement, Fellows rejoin their associate class with respect to salary and seniority.

Learn more about Cleary’s pro bono practice here.