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Clara Belfield and Henry Bates Overseas Fellowships

  • DEADLINE:  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis for Academic Year 2020-2021

Decisions will be rendered no later than one month after your application is complete. Please time your requests accordingly.

(See PowerPoint Slides from October 2, 2018 Information Meeting)

Due to the generosity of Helen Bates Van Tyne, the Law School has an endowment for assisting recent Michigan Law graduates or law students with two or more years of legal study to travel abroad for study or work experience that exposes them to legal and political institutions overseas. Students may apply for grants to enable them to pursue professional internships with international or government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, or other legal or political institutions in foreign countries. Although less common, applications may be considered for the pursuit of legal studies abroad, including independently designed research projects.  Proposals are accepted for design-your-own projects/study as a 3L or post-graduation.  This means projects can take place during a student's second summer, immediately after graduation, post-clerkship, etc.  Proposals for projects of various types and requiring various lengths of time are welcome. However, students may not seek Bates Fellowships for externships or study abroad programs for academic credit toward the student's JD. Fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis; an award is not guaranteed.

Examples of previous fellowship awards have included support for internships with international agencies, human rights organizations and law offices in foreign countries; and comparative legal study and teaching assistantships at universities throughout the world. Some projects have lasted up to a year. Most have involved an opportunity abroad for three to six months between the bar examination and the beginning of a permanent job. Still others have been short-term visits of six weeks, for example, to enable a student to complete an already well-developed research project. These examples are intended simply for illustration. We anticipate that students will develop their own opportunities to meet their individual goals, not simply replicate a prior internship, unless a previous internship is particularly well suited to the applicant's goals.  Normally awards are not made to fund work at private law firms.

Application Process

Interested students should submit a proposal; resume; a current unofficial Law School transcript (showing courses currently under way, if applicable); at least one letter of recommendation from a member of the Law School faculty; and an invitation letter from the internship agency, academic institution, research supervisor or equivalent (if available) in one single PDF document to Elizabeth Snook (

Please be sure the following items are submitted electronically to Elizabeth Snook (

1. Please use the Bates Overseas Fellowship Application Cover Sheet and submit it in one single PDF document accompanied by the following items:

1a. Your proposal (Please also include a list of your recommender(s) so that we will know when we have receieved all letters.)

1b. Resume

1c. Transcript

1d. Letter of Invitation from internship agency, academic institution, research supervisor, or equivalent (if available)

2. Have your recommender(s) email their letter(s) directly to Elizabeth Snook ( Your application will not be considered complete until your listed recommendation(s) has been received directly from your recommender(s).

What should your proposal include?

The proposal should include a complete description of the student's proposed project or internship abroad; the exact dates of the proposed visit; relevant study and work experience; relevant language skills; and other relevant information. It should be sufficiently detailed to permit the selection committee to evaluate the quality and feasibility of the proposed project or program. Students do not need to have a track record of experience abroad to be considered. However, the proposal should describe how the project or program will contribute to the student's professional development.

If the student is proposing an internship, the proposal should include a description of the agency and a detailed description of the nature of the work the student will be performing. In addition, the proposal should include the amount of fellowship requested, an estimate of expenses necessary for the proposal, including a detailed line-item budget for living expenses and round-trip travel to the program's location (based on the most economical fares), and a list of other fellowships applied for or received. The Bates Fellowship is intended to help cover travel, housing, and subsistence (e.g., food and basic living expenses).  Bates Fellows are required to purchase U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance. The student should include the cost of this required insurance in his/her line-item budget. If other expenses are included in the budget, the applicant should explain why they are necessary.

The proposal should mention the employment the applicant will pursue immediately following the Bates Fellowship, if known. If not yet known, the proposal should describe the type of post-Bates employment the applicant is seeking.

The fellowships are awarded in varying amounts. They have varied in size from several hundred dollars to approximately $12,000. Fellowships do not always cover the full project expenses of those applicants who receive awards. Therefore, all applicants are encouraged to apply simultaneously for alternative sources of funding. Students should know that Bates Fellowship Awards are taxable income. NOTE: If you are classified as a non-resident alien, your award is subject to a 14% tax, unless your country of citizenship has a tax treaty provision with the United States. Please refer to this list of countries with whom we have a tax treaty, available on the University's Finance page.

Per list in section above, your proposal should list clearly at the bottom who has agreed to recommend you so that we know when we should consider your application to be complete.



Bates Fellows must comply with the University of Michigan International Travel Policy.  Students are responsible for reading the web site and full compliance.  Three/four main requirements follow:
1)  Travel must be registered in the U-M Travel Registry.  The Registry supports emergency communications and access to University-approved travel abroad health insurance.  In the event of an emergency, the Travel Registry will help the University get in touch with the student and will support the student's ability to reach the University for urgent health, safety and security-related information.
2)  The student is required to sign a Student International Travel Release. 
3)  As mentioned above, the student is required to purchase U-M Travel Abroad Health Insurance at $1.19/day plus a $5 administrative fee.  (U-M contracts with GeoBlue Worldwide, a leader in international travel health insurance, to provide this coverage.)  Purchase of the low-cost insurance should be done through the U-M Travel Registry.   
4)  If a University Travel Warning or University Travel Restriction is in effect for the destination to which the student plans to travel, the student needs to comply with and satisfy the University's procedures and requirements for a University Travel Warning or University Travel Restriction Destination as a condition to receipt of a Bates Fellowship.
It is the student's responsibility to determine and comply with the legal requirements for entry.  Students should consult with the closest consulate of the country where their project is located to take the necessary steps required by the government for entry (i.e. if obtaining a visa is necessary, etc.)
There is also a wealth of information to assist the student in planning his/her travel on the University of Michigan's Global Michigan web site.
For questions concerning the fellowship or your proposed project, contact Theresa Kaiser-Jarvis, Assistant Dean for International Affairs, at or 734.764.5269. Her office is located in 212 Hutchins Hall.


Examples of Bates Overseas Fellowship Awards

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