2021-22 Fellowship and Grant Applications

The Davis Polk Leadership Initiative Fellowship and Innovation Grant applications are now open. Applications will close on Friday, September 17th at 12:00pm EST. We look forward to connecting with you soon!

Click here to apply. 

Columbia University makes every effort to accommodate individuals with disabilities. If you require accommodations to apply, please contact: leadershipinitiative@law.columbia.edu


Frequently Asked Questions for Applicants

What does the Leadership Initiative mean when it talks about Leadership? 

The Davis Polk Leadership Initiative conceptualizes leadership as existing along three dimensions (Leading Self, Leading Others, and Leading Change) and five domains (Vision and Strategy, Management and Teamwork, Problem Solving, Cultural Literacy, and Learning and Improvement).  For more information, see this matrix.

What does the Fellowship look for in applicants?

The Fellowship is designed to bring together a cohort of JD and LLM students who are committed to acting as stewards of leadership for the Columbia Law School community and beyond.  The cohort will be selected to bring together a diverse set of backgrounds, interests, career focuses, and perspectives.  Fellows should show strong engagement with and capacity for leadership, broadly defined.  They should have a demonstrated track record of academic excellence and a compelling project proposal that seeks to expand the leadership capacities of others in the CLS community as an integral component, as well.  

What do the Innovation Grants look for in applicants?  

The Innovation Grants are designed to be microgrants to kickstart ideas from individuals or groups of students, staff, or faculty at CLS that seek to effectuate positive change inside the Law School or beyond.  Innovation Grant recipients should show strong engagement with and capacity for leadership, a demonstrated track record of academic (or professional, faculty/staff) excellence, and a compelling project proposal.

What is the time commitment for the Fellowship and Innovation Grants respectively?

Fellows should expect to spend 1-2 hours per week in fellowship-related training, meetings, check-ins, and the like.  Fellows will spend additional time on their project-related efforts, though that time commitment will depend upon the nature of the project.  And, fellows will spend time toward the end of the year planning a leadership-related symposium, though the time commitment there will depend on the cohort’s conceptualization of the symposium.

Innovation Grant recipients should expect to spend 4-6 hours toward the start of the semester on grant-related training, meetings, and the like.  After that, additional time will depend upon the nature of the project, though intermittent check-ins with the Initiative will be required.

Fellows and Innovation Grant Recipients may be asked to help build interest in the program throughout the CLS community by identifying other leaders who may be interested in applying or by participating in information sessions. Participation in such work would be optional. 

Are Public Interest/Public Service Fellows eligible to apply? 


I'm applying for an Innovation Grant with a group.  What should we know about the group application process?

Your group should plan to collaborate on the application, just as you would collaborate on your project if selected to receive an Innovation Grant.  Note: the application allows you to upload as many as 10 CV/resumes and as many as 10 unofficial transcripts so that each member of your team can include their relevant documents.  JD/LLM students should submit their transcripts; faculty/staff members are not required to complete this field.

I just submitted my application. Now what?

Applications will be reviewed after the application deadline.  Those selected to proceed to the next round will be contacted to schedule an interview via Zoom.  After those interviews, deliberations will occur and selections will be made.  

I have a great, timely idea for a project, but I’ve missed the application deadline.  Is there anything I can do?

Yes!  The Initiative sets aside a small portion of its funding for ad hoc Innovation Grants that arise based on current events, unforeseeable circumstances, and the like.  If you’re interested in applying for an off-cycle Innovation Grant, contact leadershipinitiative@law.columbia.edu to learn more.