The Youth Advocacy Fellows Program is a program of the Youth Advocacy & Policy Lab (Y-Lab). The Fellows Program is an intensive and immersive educational program for second- and third-year Harvard Law School students wishing to gain deep expertise in the field of youth advocacy with a focus on socioeconomic and racial justice. The goal of the Program is to prepare law students for careers as leaders and change-makers in system transformation efforts on behalf of young people. By focusing your legal education on experiential and academic offerings related to children, you will have the opportunity to build your own comprehensive and multi-faceted training, based on your interests and goals. The Program faculty will partner with you to design your path at HLS through intensive individualized 1:1 advising and mentoring. You will have the flexibility to customize your individual learning experience, whether you want depth in a particular system or issue area or want the opportunity to explore the breadth of topics and legal issues that affect youth. Faculty will support you to explore the variety of tools relevant to advocacy for children and youth: litigation, legislation, coalition-building, public education, community organizing, etc.
In addition to formal learning opportunities, the Program will foster a vibrant social community for law students interested in youth advocacy through events, lunches, and other social and networking opportunities. Over time, the program will seek to cultivate robust relationships with HLS alumni who have pursued careers in the field so that you can develop your professional network. Our goal is that, by the end of your education at HLS, you will have knowledge of the complex and intersecting harms that result from inequitable youth-facing legal and social systems and the skills necessary to launch your career prepared to transform or create new systems that enable the full potential of young people to learn, heal and thrive.
Those who successfully complete the program will leave law school with:
- A community of students and faculty who will be a support system, group of advisors, and professional network during your time at HLS and beyond.
- A range of experiential learning opportunities that will serve to prepare you for real-world practice, including immersive experiences in how youth-facing systems function and how you might engage in system transformation.
- A sophisticated knowledge of the three primary youth-facing legal systems (education, child welfare, and the juvenile legal system) and how they interact.
- Knowledge, skills, experiences, and opportunities for self-reflection that will prepare you for holistic legal advocacy.
- Individualized curriculum advising and mentoring around summer jobs, fellowships, and post-graduate jobs.
- A capstone project that will synthesize your learning and practice experiences and that may serve as a launching pad for post-graduate employment, fellowship proposals, and future advocacy projects.