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Edward Coles Fellowship

Program Overview

The Edward Coles Fellowship is an internship program for second- and third-year law students interested in civil rights and administrative law.  The fellowship is named in honor of Edward Coles, the second Governor of Illinois (1822-1826).  Coles was an early abolitionist who was primarily responsible for keeping Illinois a free state prior to the Civil War.

The Illinois Human Rights Commission is the adjudicatory agency that holds hearings and issues decisions on complaints alleging violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act.  The fellowship provides law students with hands-on experience in government.  Coles Fellows assist the Administrative Law Section and the Office of the General Counsel with the quasi-judicial and educational functions of the Commission.  They conduct legal research, analyze records, draft memorandums and orders, and perform other case-related work.  Coles Fellows also have the opportunity to observe public hearings and settlement conferences, participate in public outreach events, develop continuing legal education training materials, and work on special projects and initiatives designed to inform the public about the Commission.

Application Process

Qualified applicants must be enrolled in an accredited law school and have completed at least one year of legal research and writing coursework prior to starting the fellowship. Applicants also must possess the ability to communicate and work with attorneys and other professional staff, demonstrate excellent oral and written communication skills, and show a commitment to upholding the civil rights protected under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Because the fellowship is unpaid, interested applicants should contact their law school for information about obtaining work study funding or academic credit.  

Application process is now closed.