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South African Legal Fellows Program

2014/2015 program starting in September 2014


The Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice of the New York City Bar is seeking applications from lawyers to participate in the South African Legal Fellows Program.  The Legal Fellows Program, which the Vance Center administers in partnership with the Law Society of South Africa, arranges for lawyers from historically disadvantaged backgrounds in South Africa to participate in working fellowships at corporate law firms and corporate legal departments in New York City (and possibly other international financial capitals) for one-year terms. 
Participants in the program are called Vance Fellows.  The 2014/2015 program year will begin in September 2014.  

Criteria for participation
To be eligible to participate in the Program an individual must

  • be a member of a historically disadvantaged group in South Africa;
  • have a distinguished academic background;
  • be a practicing lawyer at a law firm in South Africa and have a minimum of two years of corporate legal practice experience (beyond articles) and a record of having performed high-quality work at a junior level;
  • have a record of involvement in and commitment to community or pro bono work;
  • have strong references; and
  • have a demonstrated plan to return to South Africa after the fellowship and to share the skills he or she acquired through the fellowship with others.

Required submissions
Applicants are requested to provide the following information:

  • a curriculum vitae;
  • a law school transcript;
  • a written statement by a lawyer familiar with the applicant’s work describing his or her capacity to work well at the junior level in a commercial transaction; and
  • a cover letter that includes
    (i) an explanation of how the applicant’s professional experience to date will contribute to his or her success in New York,
    (ii) a description of his or her record of community and pro bono work; and
    (iii) an explanation of how participation in the Program will promote his or her further professional development and of how he or she will share the skills he or she acquires in New York with others upon returning to South Africa. 

Fellows receive transportation and initial housing expenses and an annual fellowship stipend of U.S. $115,000 along with health benefits, all provided by the firms and/or legal departments at which they are placed.  After the initial two-week period Fellows pay their own housing expenses.

Lawyers who wish to apply should send the required materials by email to both
Kris Devan at the Law Society of South Africa,, and
Valerie Jean-Charles at the Vance Center,  

The deadline for submission is 14 March 2014. 
Candidates who are selected for interviews will be notified in mid-April, with interviews to take place in Johannesburg in May 2014.



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