Cornell University, Law School

Position ID:Cornell-Law School-CYCPF [#14896]
Position Title: Craig Yankwitt Capital Punishment Fellow
Position Type:Fellowship or award
Position Location:Columbia, South Carolina 29201, United States [map]
Subject Area: Law
Appl Deadline:2019/11/15 11:59PMhelp popup finished (2019/10/01, finished 2020/03/25, listed until 2019/11/15)
Position Description:    

*** this position has been closed. ***

Justice 360 in Columbia, South Carolina, and the Cornell Death Penalty Project of Cornell Law School are pleased to announce the 2020 Craig N. Yankwitt Fellowship for Death Penalty Advocacy for law school graduates beginning in fall 2020.

The purpose of the fellowship is to honor and preserve the memory of Craig N. Yankwitt (CLS Class of 2002) who died in 2016. While a student at Cornell Law School, Craig participated for several semesters in the Capital Punishment and Capital Appeals Clinics and worked closely with Professors Sheri Johnson and John Blume. He was an integral part of a team that ultimately was able to vacate the conviction and secure the freedom of Sterling Spann, a person who had been on death row in South Carolina for more than a decade. Participation in the clinics had a profound impact on Craig and he continued to support the work of the clinic in numerous ways following his graduation from Cornell Law. While Craig ultimately pursued a private practice, he used the skills he developed in the Cornell clinical program to help individuals who had been harmed.

This fellowship will fund a graduating third-year law student or recent law school graduate for a two-year fellowship at Justice 360 in Columbia, South Carolina. Justice 360 is a non-profit organization working to reform policies and practices in capital proceedings. Applicants can learn more about the mission and work of Justice 360 at Applicants can review the mission of the Cornell Death Penalty Project at

The Yankwitt Fellow will be involved in all aspects of Justice 360’s work, including direct representation of death-sentenced individuals, advocacy efforts, and creating resources for other capital defense attorneys. The Yankwitt Fellow will also work on litigation and academic projects with Cornell Law School Professors Johnson and Blume.

Minimum Requirements for the Yankwitt Fellowship:
  • Applicants must have a J.D. from an ABA accredited American Law School or have a J.D. granted by June 2020.
  • Applicants must be eligible to be admitted in South Carolina (UBE jurisdiction) or eligible to take the South Carolina bar in July 2020.
  • It is highly preferred that applicants have participated in a Capital Punishment/Death Penalty Clinic in law school or have completed an internship/externship at a non-profit, federal, or state defender office dedicated to capital and/or criminal defense.
  • Must hold a valid driver’s license and be willing to travel throughout South Carolina.
Related Skills and Knowledge Desired:
  • Superior analytical skills and an ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively.
  • Self-motivation with the ability to take the initiative and follow through on projects to completion.
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team. • A demonstrated commitment to indigent defense and criminal justice reform.
The Yankwitt Fellow will be an employee of Justice 360, and will receive a salary of $50,000 a year plus benefits.

How to Apply:
Applications must be submitted by November 15, 2019 to the Yankwitt Capital Defense Fellowship Selection Committee at, and must include:
  • A resume.
  • A cover letter (addressed to the Yankwitt Capital Defense Fellowship Selection Committee).
  • A law school transcript (an unofficial transcript will suffice for the initial application).
  • Two letters of recommendation (letters can be from professors, former employers or both.
Both Justice 360 and Cornell Law School have a strong commitment to diversity and encourage people historically underrepresented in the practice of law to apply.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

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