Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship Scholarship Program

Purpose of Taft 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 of serving our clients to the highest standards of professional excellence. Additionally, a diverse and inclusive culture benefits our professionals as well: it fosters 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.

Taft is pleased to offer an academic Fellowship program for qualifying first-year law school students.


Each year, Taft awards up to eight 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 eight offices (Chicago, Ill.; Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio; Detroit/Southfield, Mich.; Indianapolis, Ind.; Minneapolis, Minn.) following the completion of their first year of law school. Salaries for the 10-week summer program are as follows:

  • Chicago: $39,420.
  • Cincinnati: $31,730.
  • Cleveland: $33,650.
  • Columbus: $31,730.
  • Dayton: $31,730.
  • Detroit: $31,730.
  • Indianapolis: $31,730.
  • Minneapolis: $36,530.

Assuming satisfactory performance during the first-year summer program, 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 $10,000 signing bonus, paid to the student, upon acceptance of the offer.

Application Process

Applicants for Taft’s Fellowship must be enrolled in a J.D. program at an accredited U.S. law school as a first-year law student. Applications will be accepted beginning Dec. 1 each year, but final decisions will not be made until first semester grades are received.

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

Application materials must be received by Jan. 31, in order to be considered. The following materials should be submitted:

  1. Completed application form.
  2. Cover letter.
  3. Resume.
  4. Law school transcript — the transcript does not need to be official, but does need to be complete.
  5. A typed essay — no more than one page, double-spaced and not to exceed 500 words — addressing one of the following topics:
    1. Describe an accomplishment you have been recognized for and its influence on 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?

Selection Process

Recipients of the Summer Program Fellowship will be selected based on careful review of the application materials provided. All Fellowship applicants will be notified of the firm’s decision by March 1. Payment of the Fellowship awards will be made in accordance with the Taft Fellowship program guidelines.


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

Lisa Watson

Lisa Watson
Chief Recruiting Officer
(317) 713-3502