How Can I Get Credit for a Public Interest Fellowship I Did?

( 3 votes, average: 3.6 out of 5)
What do you think about this article? Rate it using the stars above and let us know what you think in the comments below.

I graduated with honors from a top law school. I had the good fortune of receiving a number of offers for my second summer and ended up choosing a large New York firm. I spent my first year after graduating in a competitive public interest litigation fellowship in New York, during which I wrote numerous briefs and argued in court. I am currently finishing a federal district clerkship and next year will be doing a federal circuit clerkship.

The firm where I summered, while holding open an offer to return, has indicated to me that I would only receive class credit for the two clerkship years but not for the fellowship year. Although I understand that I will have been away for a while, I obviously want to receive (and think that the experience warrants receiving) credit for my fellowship year.

My question is how would you recommend negotiating the issue both with my old firm and with other firms that I plan on contacting this fall? Do you think that any firm would be likely to give me credit for the year and, if so, could either accept that offer or use it as leverage?


Congratulations on an incredibly impressive background! You should be very proud and I suspect you have a wonderful legal career looming in front of you. But you may not like my take on your situation.

The firm where you summered is very generous in their offer. I think they are being very fair when they tell you that they are going to give you credit for both of your clerkships.

Believe it or not, there are some firms - including some of the major firms - that would only give you credit for one of your clerkships and there are even a few firms out there that would not give you any credit at all.

I understand that your fellowship was competitive and that you were involved in writing briefs and arguing in court. However, it is clear that the law firms do not look upon your public interest litigation experience as being as relevant to their practice as your federal clerkships.

I am not optimistic that any firm would be likely to give you credit for that year but, even if one did, I do not think that you would be able to use it as leverage to get the other firms to change their guidelines. However, if you did get such an offer I would caution you to examine it very carefully before accepting it. You would be making a big mistake if you accepted an offer simply because they gave you credit for an extra class year. That is not something on which to base your decision about where you want to begin your career.

Summary: Sometimes law firms don't give you credit for some or all of your clerkships or fellowships. Learn how you can get credit for the things you did.

Featured Testimonials

I really like the site. It was very useful in providing exactly the types of positions I was looking for.


LawCrossing Fact #164: Use our “My Hotlist” tool to save a job and apply for it later!

Let's Do It!

Only LawCrossing consolidates every job it can find in the legal industry and puts all of the job listings it locates in one place.

  • We have more than 25 times as many legal jobs as any other job board.
  • We list jobs you will not find elsewhere that are hidden in small regional publications and employer websites.
  • We collect jobs from more than 250,000 websites and post them on our site.
  • Increase your chances of being seen! Employers on public job boards get flooded with applications. Our private job boards ensure that only members can apply to our job postings.

Success Stories

LawCrossing is great at picking up all of the legal listings everywhere across the internet. I could have gone to three different sites to search, but you had them all on your site. That was extremely helpful. LawCrossing is a one stop shop!
  • Eileen Baca-Penner New Mexico