Stanford Law School Deane F. Johnson Public Interest Fellowship

Stanford Law School’s Levin Center for Public Service and Public Interest Law offers postgraduate Public Interest Fellowships which enable our graduates to work full-time for a year in a law-related endeavor designed to further the public interest. These include both international general postgraduate Stanford Law School fellowships on any public interest issue and those targeting specific substantive areas (e.g., international, criminal defense, criminal justice, and environmental law, education law, or youth law).

The subject of this page is the Deane F. Johnson Public Interest Fellowship. There are slightly different eligibility requirements for each program, but there will be one joint application process for these fellowships. Finalists will be invited to an interview with the selection committee.

With deep gratitude to Deane F. Johnson, JD ’42, a generous supporter of many initiatives at Stanford Law School who gave the largest gift in the history of the law school at the time, this fellowship supports two alumni to work in environmental, education, or youth law. Note that Stanford University entities (e.g., clinics, programs, and centers) are ineligible to host a Deane F. Johnson Fellow.

Please review the FAQ on our Fellowship Program and direct any questions regarding the fellowship to Levin Center staff.


2 available.

All members of the current graduating SLS JD class and the prior two classes who have not previously been awarded a postgraduate legal fellowship or government honors/new attorney program position are eligible to apply for this fellowship. Current students must be in good standing to be eligible.

This fellowship program is intended to support alumni to work in environmental, education, or youth law. Stanford University entities (e.g., clinics, programs, and centers) are ineligible to host an SLS Civitas Fellow.

Application Process

The 2024-2025 application is due Monday, February 5, 2024 and interviews will be held in early March. Interview slots will be available on Saturday, March 2 as well as some weekday afternoons (between 4-6 pm PST) the week of March 4. The Fellows will be selected by the end of March 2024.

2024-2025 Application

Please address all questions regarding the fellowship to Shannon Al-Wakeel.

Each applicant should also request that their host organization submit a commitment letter. We provide one sample here:
Domestic fellowship host organization’s commitment letter

After the Fellows are selected and before payment can be disbursed, each host agency is also expected to sign a Memorandum of Understanding outlining each party’s responsibilities. International or governmental hosts who cannot accept the funds from Stanford would sign this Memorandum of Understanding, which grants the funds directly to the Fellow.

The Selection Committee will include members of the faculty and alumni who previously served as an SLS Fellow. Selection will occur by the end of March each year.

In reviewing each application, the committee will consider several factors, including:

  • the applicant’s commitment to a career in public interest law,
  • the applicant’s capacity to maximize the fellowship opportunity,
  • the applicant’s contributions to the public interest community at SLS,
  • the potential impact of the applicant’s work, and
  • the capacity of the sponsoring organization to provide meaningful supervision to the fellow.

In evaluating these factors, the committee will look to the application and accompanying essays, law school record, recommendations, and organizational letter of support. All letters of recommendation and support should be specific to your candidacy for this fellowship. All information provided will be used only for the purpose of considering your candidacy for the Fellowship.

The fellowship will last for one year, starting after September 1 with some flexibility for later start dates.

Current and Previous Fellows

The 2024-2025 Deane F. Johnson Fellows are Charlotte Finegold, JD ’24, and Alisa Hoban, JD ’24. Charlotte will work in Human Rights Watch’s Environment & Human Rights Division, where she’ll help expand legal protections for communities forced by climate hazards to relocate, so that communities can instead migrate on their own terms. Alisa will join the Juvenile Law Center to prevent the over-policing and over-incarceration of Black and Brown low-income youth through impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community organizing.

The 2023-2024 Deane F. Johnson Fellows were Kerry Guerin, JD ’23, and Josh Kirmsse, JD ’23. Kerry returned to Communities for a Better Environment where they supported Richmond residents to fight for environmental justice and a Just Transition, including the decommissioning of the Chevron Refinery, through legal work and organizing. Josh joined the Center for Biological Diversity to advance energy justice and fight utility resistance to a distributed, democratic, and renewable energy economy that eradicates energy poverty and inequality.

The 2022-2023 Deane F. Johnson Fellows were Taylor Chambers, JD ’22, and Chris Middleton, JD ’21. Taylor worked for the National Center for Youth Law and ensured children received the mental health supports necessary to successfully engage in school, by working in partnership with communities, developing resources, and producing policy proposals. Chris pursued impact litigation and policy advocacy opportunities to improve the provision of care to California’s queer youth in foster care, congregate care, and juvenile detention as a Fellow with the Youth Law Center.