Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship

Taft is pleased to offer an academic diversity and inclusion fellowship program for qualifying law school students.


Each year, Taft awards up to 6 fellowships to highly motivated, first-year law students who are members of historically underrepresented ethnic and/or racial minority groups.

Fellows receive paid summer associate positions in one of the firm’s six offices (Chicago, IL; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton, OH; Indianapolis, IN) following the completion of their first year of law school. Salaries for the 10-week summer program are as follows:

  • Chicago $30,700
  • Cincinnati  $23,000
  • Cleveland $24,000
  • Columbus $23,000
  • Dayton $23,000
  • Indianapolis $23,000

Assuming satisfactory performance during the 1L summer fellowship, fellows have the option to return as second-year summer associates.

Those awarded fellowships will participate in our 10-week summer program between their first and second years of law school. It is our goal to provide every summer associate with a realistic experience of what it is like to practice law at Taft. Summer associates work on a variety of actual client matters and attend depositions, hearings, closings, conferences and trials as well as perform the careful research expected of all our lawyers. Summer associates are evaluated throughout the summer on an informal basis, and will also have formal mid-summer and end-of-summer reviews.

Students selected for the fellowship, and who accept an offer to return to Taft as a second year summer associate, will be awarded a one-time $5,000 signing bonus, paid to the student, upon acceptance of the offer.

Application Process

Applicants for the diversity and inclusion fellowship must be enrolled in a J.D. program at an accredited U.S. law school as a first-year law student. Applications are accepted beginning Dec. 1 each year. 

Interested law students should apply to Taft’s Chief Recruiting Officer, Lisa Watson, at lwatson@taftlaw.com

Application materials must be received by Feb. 10 to be considered. All materials should be submitted at one time, including a complete first semester transcript and a letter of reference or recommendation. The following materials should be submitted:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Resume.
  3. Law school transcript (the transcript does not need to be official but does need to be complete).
  4. A typed essay (no more than one page, double-spaced and not exceeding 500 words) addressing one of the following topics:
    1. Describe an accomplishment for which you have been recognized and how it has influenced you.
    2. Who has been most influential in your life and why?
    3. Why do you want to be a summer associate at Taft?
    4. What are your career aspirations and why?
  5. One letter of reference or recommendation from a teacher, coach or other adult who is not an immediate relative. The letter should be sent as part of your application materials. 

Selection Process

Recipients of the Summer Program fellowship will be selected based on careful review of application materials provided. All fellowship applicants are notified of the firm’s decision by March 10. Payment of the fellowship award is made in accordance with the Taft diversity and inclusion fellowship program guidelines.

Purpose of Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship

At Taft, we are committed to creating an inclusive culture of individuals from diverse backgrounds. This commitment allows us to fulfill our primary mission — serving our clients to the highest standards of professional excellence. Additionally, a diverse and inclusive culture benefits our professionals by fostering teamwork and opportunities for professional growth and personal satisfaction.

Also, Taft’s pipeline programs help us meet our responsibility and our commitment to being active in the communities where we live and work. We understand that we have an obligation to help develop a diverse group of leaders, both at Taft and in the world at large.


If you have questions or need further information, please contact:

Lisa Watson

Lisa Watson
Chief Recruiting Officer
(317) 713-3502