Young Academics Fund

About the Fund

The Harvard Women’s Law Association (WLA) invites you to apply to the WLA Young Academics Fund. Legal academia remains one of the most disproportionately male-dominated institutions in this country.  Justice Elena Kagan, while Dean of Harvard Law School, expressed concern about this issue in her Leslie Arps Lecture at Yale. In recognition of this continuing disparity, the WLA is creating a Young Academics Fund to support its members and recent HLS alumnae pursing careers in legal academia.

More specifically, the WLA believes that the best way to promote women’s access to and advancement in legal academia is to bring young academics to the conferences where relevant work is presented and critical connections are made in the hiring process.  As such, the Fund will cover the cost of attending up to two academic conferences each year for up to three of its members or recent alumnae.  Although it is not required, those applicants who have been selected to present their work at a conference will be given a slight preference in the funding process.  However, as a sign of encouragement, all WLA members who can demonstrate a strong commitment to legal scholarship or teaching are eligible to apply.  We are also including recent alumnae in the application process because we believe the years immediately following law school are the precise time when graduates are most in need of funding and access to networking opportunities.

We expect that women who are selected for sponsorship will mentor younger law students interested in pursuing academic careers. In addition, we’re asking that YAF recipients post two HERsay blog posts within a week of the conference, on one of any (or several) of the following topics:

  • Topic intro: Why is it important to you, why this conference?
  • What you did to prepare for the conference
  • What you learned
  • What do you wish you had done differently
  • What kind of connections did you make
  • Anything else relevant to the WLA audience

Recipients can substitute the blog posts for one letter to the editor or op-ed submission to any paper, if that is more valuable to the student/alumna.

Details on the application process are below.  Interested applicants can contact the WLA with questions or concerns at

Application Form

The deadline for the 2012-2013 fund is rolling – limited number of students are sponsored each semester.
In addition to copy of this form, applications should include the following attachments in PDF or Word format:
  • An unofficial HLS transcript
  • Resume or curriculum vitae
  • Name and details of conference(s) that you propose to attend.  (Conference should be within four months of the submission of application materials.)
  • Statement of not more than 500 words describing how this conference will further your academic and professional goals.  In particular, please describe your commitment to legal academia or teaching and what you hope to achieve by participating in a particular conference.
  •  If appropriate, please include the title and abstract for the paper you will be presenting and submit documentation of acceptance of your paper or invitation to present.