Tracy Jo Figueroa Mathis '13 received her first not guilty verdict as an attorney at the Connecticut Public Defender Office in Stamford in November 2013.

"It felt really good to be up on my feet in court. The Bridge to Practice Fellowship has given me this incredible opportunity, and I feel that Cardozo has prepared me incredibly well for my career."

Applications for the David Rudenstine Postgraduate Fellowship for the class of 2019 are now open.

Cardozo's David Rudenstine Postgraduate Fellowship provides one student from each year's graduating class funding to pursue work in public interest law for one year. Made possible by a generous grant from Susan Halpern, the Fellowship gives recent graduates support as they begin careers in public service.


  • One David Rudenstine Fellow will be selected from each year's graduating class. The Fellow will be selected by members of the Cardozo administration and/or faculty.
  • Fellows will commit to working for one calendar year (12 months), beginning in the fall after graduation.
  • Fellows must have a host organization in the United States--a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization--that will commit to hosting them for the duration of their fellowship, including providing them with training, supervision, and workspace. The host organization must also agree to provide the Fellow with one month off from the fellowship to prepare for the February bar examination if the Fellow takes and does not pass the July bar examination after graduation.
  • The Fellow must be supervised by an attorney.
  • Fellows must have a specific project in mind for their year-long Fellowship to address an identified need that they will execute at the host organization. However, the project does not have to be "novel" in that it can involve a continuation of work that the host organization is already performing. While the Fellowship work is not required to involve litigation, it must be substantive work appropriate for a law graduate.
  • The David Rudenstine Fellowship will provide the Fellow with a salary of $50,000. The funds will be given directly to the host organization to administer to the Fellow. Host organizations are encouraged to provide candidates with health and other employee benefits.
  • The Fellow will provide the selection committee with periodic updates on the progress of their Fellowship project--one 1,000-word report midway through the fellowship and a second 1,000-word report at the end of the fellowship. If the Fellow does not complete the full Fellowship year, they will forfeit the remainder of the fellowship salary, which the host organization will return to Cardozo.

Application Requirements

Applications are due by Tuesday, October 25, 2019. They should be submitted to Alissa Bernstein at as 1 PDF document containing the following:

  1. Completed Application Form
  2. Candidate’s resume
  3. Candidate’s unofficial transcript (note: Grades will not be a major component of evaluating candidates; the committee will primarily look at transcripts to see the candidate’s choice of courses)
  4. A list of 3 references including contact information and an explanation of their relationship to the candidate
  5. A commitment letter from the candidate’s proposed host organization with* (a) a statement affirming that the organization is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; (b) a description of the organization’s mission, current programs, and staff; (c) a description of the training, supervision, and mentorship that the candidate would receive as a Fellow, including the name of the attorney who would supervise the Fellow, a statement affirming that they are an attorney, and a brief description of their relevant experience; (d) a description of how the candidate’s work would support the organization’s mission; and (e) a statement of whether the organization will provide the candidate with health insurance and affirming that the organization will provide the candidate with a one-month break from the fellowship to study for the February bar examination if the candidate takes and does not pass the July bar examination following graduation. *Note: Host organizations will be asked to complete a more formal agreement with the law school upon selection of the Fellow.
  6. Optional: 1 or more letters of recommendation

Selection Process and Criteria

Candidates may be required to interview with the selection committee. The committee will consider such factors as the candidate’s demonstrated commitment to public service, the candidate’s relevant experience, the strength of the candidate’s proposed project, the appropriateness of the candidate’s proposed host organization, and how the fellowship will advance the candidate’s overall career goals. A decision regarding the selection of the Fellow is anticipated by the end of November 2019.