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Catalyst Grant Program

Launching global and government public interest careers.

Penn Law’s postgraduate fellowship program has been highly successful in launching the public interest careers of recent graduates. Since 2009, Penn Law has supported 12 fellows, all of whom either remained employed by their original host organization or secured public interest positions in the same field.

The new Catalyst Grant Program will support those seeking government positions and those seeking to engage in human rights and rule of law work at the grassroots level abroad.  The Catalyst Grant Program can give students an opportunity to work as full-time staff attorneys on the ground in order to gain the experience and establish a reputation that will make them even stronger candidates for long-term positions when funding becomes available.


Graduating JD students seeking funding for unpaid positions with federal, state, and local governments, or with public defender offices, NGOs, and international/intergovernmental organizations may apply.

Application Process & Deadlines

Applications for both Project-based Fellowships and Catalyst Grants are due on Thursday, March 20th, 2014. Applicants who are eligible for both sources of funding may apply for both, and should note that on the application cover page. Applying for both sources of funding will not impact the selection process.Applications will be reviewed by the Toll Public Interest Center Advisory Board Fellowship Selection Committee. Applicants will be notified no later than Friday, March 21st if they will be interviewed by the selection committee. Interviews will take place during the week of March 31st. There is a strong preference for in-person interviews, but arrangements can be made via Skype if absolutely essential. Decisions will be communicated to all applicants on Friday, April 4th. An announcement will be shared with the law school community during the week of Monday, April 7th and funding recipients will be invited to be recognized at the annual public interest recognition event on Wednesday, April 9th.

Students may apply for funding before they have secured a placement. To those students, conditional award letters will be provided in order to help them secure a commitment from prospective placements.

One original and ten (10) printed copies of your complete application packet must be received by the Toll Public Interest Center no later than 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 20, 2014. Late applications will not be considered. Letters of recommendation may be mailed directly to the Toll Public Interest Center by recommenders who wish to keep their letters private.

Mailing Address for application materials:

University of Pennsylvania Law School
Attention: Toll Public Interest Center Postgraduate Fellowship & Catalyst Grant Program
3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6204


Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis. Funding will be a stipend of up to $25,000 for up to one year of full-time volunteer employment with an eligible organization. No benefits or additional costs will be covered. Grant recipients may be eligible for TolLRAP while they are a part of this program.


Questions about the application process may be directed to Arlene Rivera Finkelstein, Associate Dean and Executive Director of Toll Public Interest Center, at: (215) 898-0459 or

Application Forms


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