Wayne Morse Law Fellows FAQ

Are these fellowships or summer jobs? 

Both! Fellowships begin with paid full-time summer positions in Washington, D.C., Portland, and Salem. During the academic year, fellows are invited to participate in the life of the Wayne Morse Center, which includes public lectures and panels, lunches and receptions with speakers, and the opportunity for one-on-one mentoring.  

Who is eligible for a Wayne Morse Law Fellowship? 

All current UO Law 1Ls and 2Ls pursuing a JD may apply, including those who are earning a concurrent degree. If a fellowship is only open to 2Ls, it will say so in the job description. 

Can students apply for more than one fellowship? 


What does the application process look like? 

  1. For each fellowship, email a single PDF document that includes a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, and list of three references to the Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics (WMC) at waynemorsecenter@uoregon.edu. The job description for each fellowship includes information on how to address the cover letter. Please do not submit additional materials. 
  2. WMC staff will confirm receipt of applications. This may take a day or two based on workflow; it is not an automated response. 
  3. Host offices interview finalists and extend fellowship offers. 
  4. The Wayne Morse Center will notify other applicants as soon as possible once a fellowship offer has been accepted. 

What are we looking for in an applicant? 

We seek candidates from a diversity of backgrounds and lived experience with a demonstrated commitment to working in the public interest. Wayne Morse Law Fellowships are competitive, but students should not count themselves out if they have earned some Bs or a C or two.  
In legal and policy work, accuracy and strong writing skills are important. So, too, with Wayne Morse Law Fellowships. We encourage students to have cover letters reviewed by the law school’s Career Center before applying. This can take three or four days depending on their workload. If time is short, consider asking a friend to proofread for typos, grammatical errors, and tone. 
Host offices are looking for candidates with a demonstrated interest in or experience with the type of work they do or issues they focus on. This includes relevant: 
    •    internships, volunteerism, jobs, grassroots organizing, and active participation in student and/or community groups. 
    •    research, writing, and field work. 
    •    community college and college concentrations, majors, and minors. 
    •    law school coursework providing skills or knowledge applicable to the work of the host office. 
    •    life experience that has created a foundation of understanding or knowledge connected to the work of the host office 
For example - A host office might lean toward a candidate who has one or more of the following qualities:  
    •    familiarity with the legislative process or has interned with a government entity
    •    experience in movement politics and social justice  
    •    has taken or is taking a course that provides knowledge key to that summer position, such as administrative law
    •    has helped with intake of clients marginalized by the system
    •    grew up in a farming community and understands water politics as a result 
    •    has volunteered with efforts to expand voting access 
    •    is from a part of Oregon or a community that is under-represented on Capitol Hill or in Salem 
Knowledge of a particular area of law or policy is often helpful. But a host office’s policy focus and needs can change from year to year based on what legislation is moving through Congress, what cases are on their docket, or what special research project they need done. As a result, it is hard to predict who will receive a fellowship offer. 
Sometimes applicants who care deeply about people and the public interest have devoted their energy to service work. They may have volunteered at a soup kitchen, helped coach athletes in the Special Olympics, participated in beach cleanups, raised money for a cause. That type of service work is much needed and incredibly important, but it is not as relevant to host offices, which focus on policy and legal work. 

What if I don’t have a lot of relevant experience to put on my resume?  

We understand that some students have had to earn money to put themselves through college and law school and may not have been able to do unpaid internships or participate in student groups. And some first-generation college students may not have had guidance on accessing opportunities that would build their professional resumes. Applicants with this type of life experience should mention it in their cover letters. The UO Law Career Center can offer suggestions on how to convey the value of the skills you have developed in your life. First-year students interested in a Wayne Morse Law Fellowship or in policy work who have focused their free time on activities unconnected to policy, law, government, or social justice should look for opportunities over the next year to gain experience in those areas. 

What’s the history of the Law Fellowship program? 

For more than two decades, UO’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics has provided yearlong fellowships to UO Law students who have demonstrated a commitment to serve the public interest. In the beginning, Wayne Morse Law Fellows received a monetary award during the academic year and helped staff the Center’s events on campus. Seeing a need for paid public interest opportunities for law students, the Wayne Morse Center shifted its approach, partnering with congressional offices, government agencies, and legal advocacy groups to provide meaningful legal or policy work for our fellows.  

If you have questions about the Wayne Morse Law Fellows program that were not addressed above, email Wayne Morse Center Co-director Rebecca Dinwoodie, JD, at rcd@uoregon.edu.