Harold Oaklander Public Interest Summer Fellowships

To Advance Justice and Public Policy Against Persistent Unemployment

An endowment established by Dr. Harold Oaklander ILR '52 provides for up to eight summer fellowships annually for law students to work with non-profit host organizations dedicated to assisting the unemployed and under-employed. Application information for summer 2017 fellowships will be available in January.

List of past fellows and their non-profit employer hosts
Abstracts of fellows' research projects (summers 2014 and 2015)
Information for potential non-profit employer hosts

Fellowship Description

  • Represent low-income clients under the supervision of experienced practitioner
  • Participate in special U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) events
  • Develop substantive legal writing samples

Additionally, the Fellowship includes the opportunity to interact with Cornell faculty and other leading experts at these events:

  • A pre-Fellowship on-campus orientation session in April.
  • A post-Fellowship de-briefing dinner meeting in September where Fellows will present Field Reports written during the course of the Fellowship. Selected Reports will be archived in the Law School Library.


Students eligible for work-study funding will receive a maximum $5,000 grant, paid at an hourly rate of $15.63 throughout the summer through Cornell's payroll system. Students not eligible for work-study funding will receive a lump sum payment of $1,600. Additionally, a $300 prize will be awarded as appropriate to one Fellow who shows outstanding dedication to serving the unemployed. The prize winner will be recognized at the Law School's annual Public Interest Awards Ceremony at the New York City Bar Association in February.

Fellowship Term

Eight weeks during the general time period of mid-May to mid-August. Exact dates to be determined by agreement between selected students and host organizations.

Fellowship Details

  • The bulk of the Fellows' summers will be spent assisting host attorneys with legal work relating to unemployment issues - research, writing, client counseling, administrative hearings, and the like.
  • Fellows will begin their Fellowship with a one-day orientation at a DOL One-Stop Job Center. A representative from the host organization will be encouraged to attend as well.
  • Fellows will be available throughout the summer, where applicable, to participate in special DOL events*. These events will allow Fellows to be face-to-face with the unemployment system's primary actors.
  • During the course of the summer, Fellows will develop a Field Report on an unemployment-related topic of their choosing. This 15- to 20-page Report will be inspired by and influenced by the legal service work they do, or by one particular special DOL event. Fellows are requested to assemble a 4- to 5-page Event Report on each of the other special events not discussed in the Field Report. Event Reports will be due within a week of the event's occurrence. Field Reports will be due before the commencement of the fall semester. Fellows will receive detailed guidance on these Reports and will have an opportunity to ask questions at the April orientation session.