The Robert B. Fiske, Jr. Fellowship
Program for Government Service
The Fiske Fellowship Program annually recognizes up to four exceptional Michigan Law graduates who serve as government lawyers. The duration of the Fellowship is three years. In recognition of their selection as Fiske Fellows, and as long as the Fiske Fellows continue to meet eligibility criteria, the graduates will receive a $5,000 first-year cash stipend and debt repayment assistance to cover all required annual payments for all educational loans, and not merely with respect to law school loans.
The Fiske Fellowship comes from a gift by Michigan Law alum, Robert Fiske '55. Mr. Fiske understood the importance of retaining well trained lawyers in government service. From his years as U.S. Attorney S.D. N.Y. and as Independent Counsel, Bob Fiske understood that having a government service experience early in a professional career is a fulfilling path to pursue and wanted to help Michigan Law students have that experience.
Current and former Fiske Fellows are listed on the MLS Recent Public Service Fellowship Recipients page.
To apply for a Fiske Fellowship, submit the application form (2015 application available soon), an unofficial Law School transcript, and a resume on Symplicity. A letter of recommendation from a Law School professor or former employer is also required and should be emailed directly to Katie Ulivi, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Application materials and letters of recommendation for the 2015 Fiske Fellowship must be received by the Office of Career Planning by 12:00pm EST on Tuesday, November 3, 2015.
Frequently Asked Questions
A special Law School committee appointed by the Dean selects the Fellows. Selection is based on the applicant's demonstrated commitment to public service, academic achievements, and the nature and quality of the proposed government position.
Federal positions, especially in the executive branch, are highly preferred. State and county offices or prosecutors' offices may be chosen in some instances. The position must be legal in nature.
Who is eligible?
- Third-year law students
- Graduates serving in clerkships immediately following graduation who will be seeking government employment.
- Graduates in their first (post-grad) year of government employment (not including clerkships) are eligible to apply.
In exceptional circumstances, the committee may determine that an applicant falling slightly outside of these boundaries can apply. A person is not eligible if they have had other permanent employment after law school.
Do I have to have a government job before I can apply?
No. The Committee understands some students will be applying before they have received or accepted their proposed positions. The award will be contingent on their doing so. In addition, students may list more than one proposed position. The award will be contingent on the student accepting one of the proposed positions that the Committee specifically designates and on his/her continued employment in that position. Note: because some selected candidates may not embark on one of their designated positions, the Committee shall designate two alternate Fellows.
If I am selected as a Fellow, will I continue to receive the Fellowship if I switch government positions within the three year term of the Fellowship?
If a Fiske Fellow switches government positions within the relevant 3-year period of his/her Fellowship, it is within the discretion of the Law School Dean and the Office of Career Planning to decide whether the Fellow still qualifies for the Fiske Fellowship and receive the benefits. The Fellow must notify the Office of Career Planning of an impending job change to begin the review process.
What are the financial benefits of a Fiske Fellowship?
In addition to being a prestigious award, the Fiske Fellowship provides considerable financial benefits. The Fellowship pays you for your monthly educational loans (federal and private, law school and undergraduate loans) for the 3 year term of the Fellowship. In addition, Fiske Fellows receive a $5,000 cash stipend upon being awarded the Fellowship.
Below are two scenarios illustrating how a Fiske Fellowship pays for the student loans of the awardee - one showing the savings when there is a small outstanding loan and the other showing a higher level of debt.
Scenario 1: Student loans of $55,500
If you will have federal student loans of $55,500 when you graduate from law school, your monthly repayment will be about $580/month (assuming a 10 year repayment at current rates). The Fiske Fellowship would pay that monthly balance for 3 years (36 months). When your fellowship ends after 3 years, the Fellowship will have paid $20,880 of your loans.
Scenario 2: Student loans of $95,000
If you will have student loans of $95,000 when you graduate from law school, your monthly repayment will be $860/month (this assumes $55,500 of your total debt is on a 10 year repayment schedule and the remaining $39,500 is on a 20 year schedule at current rates). The Fiske Fellowship pays that monthly balance for 3 years. At the end of the 3 years, the Fellowship will have paid $30,960 of your loans.
If you are awarded a Fiske Fellowship, we suggest you make an additional loan payment each month out of your income on top of the payment coming out of your Fiske Fellowship - even if you aren't making a full payment. This will substantially reduce the term of your loan and the amount of interest you pay during the life of the loan. You could also pay the $5,000 stipend toward the principal of your loan which will further reduce the interest you will have to pay. If you never had it, you won't miss it when it goes straight to pay off student loans!