Illinois Academic Fellowship Program

The Illinois Academic Fellowship Program helps new legal academics place into tenure-stream positions at U.S. law schools.

In recent years, our fellows have obtained tenure-stream positions at law schools that include the University of California-Irvine, Indiana University-Bloomington, University of Alabama, and Pennsylvania State University.

Fellows spend one or two years in residence at the College of Law researching and writing under the close mentorship of Illinois faculty, teaching one course per semester, and fully participating in the College’s famously rich intellectual environment. Fellows are treated like tenure-stream faculty although with a light teaching load and no administrative responsibilities. Fellows are provided with the support and counseling necessary to the development of a serious scholarly portfolio. By the end of the program, we expect fellows to be competitive for tenure-track positions at leading law schools.

Fellows are appointed as a visiting assistant professor of law and also carry the title of Ribstein Fellow in honor of the late Professor Larry Ribstein.

Selection Criteria

Applications for the Illinois Academic Fellowship Program are invited from law school graduates as well as Ph.D. recipients or candidates in any field who have a sustained academic interest in law’s interaction with their discipline. Applicants may be in the final stage of a doctoral program, recent graduates, or persons with several years of law practice experience. Fellows will be chosen on the basis of an assessment of their potential, with appropriate support and mentoring, to obtain a tenure-track position at a leading law school.

The number of new fellows varies from year to year but is typically no more than two. Applications are welcome from potential fellows in all subject matter areas and methodological approaches. The University of Illinois is an Affirmative Action, Equal Opportunity employer.

Scholarship and Teaching

Fellows will teach one class per semester. Depending on the interests of the fellow, the course may include traditional law school courses across the full range of the curriculum and seminars that focus on the research interests of the fellow. Each fellow’s teaching package will be designed to provide meaningful preparation for the academic job market and to complement the current writing projects of the fellow, subject to the curricular needs of the College of Law. The exact courses assigned is ultimately in the discretion of the dean of the College of Law.

Most importantly, fellows will receive substantial faculty assistance with their research projects; the opportunity to present works in progress to the faculty in a workshop setting; the opportunity to attend and participate in lectures, colloquia, symposia, roundtables, and faculty workshops; faculty advice and assistance in preparing for the academic job market; and, where appropriate, pairing with a faculty mentor. Assisting fellows in preparing a substantial piece of scholarship, with an emphasis on the “job talk” paper, is a primary goal of the Illinois Academic Fellowship Program.

The number of fellows will be limited to insure that each fellow will have substantial opportunities for direct interaction with senior and junior members of the faculty. The College of Law offers a rich intellectual environment with numerous faculty workshops and specialized speaker programs.

Fellows will be full participants in faculty workshops and similar programs.

Compensation and Benefits

Illinois Academic Fellows receive a salary and full benefits, including health insurance. Salaries will be competitive with those offered by similar programs at major research universities. Fellows also receive a regular faculty office and administrative and secretarial support. Fellowships are not tenure-stream positions. The University of Illinois College of Law is located in Champaign-Urbana, which offers a variety of affordable housing options in a college-town environment with rich cultural offerings.


The College of Law is not currently accepting applications for fellowship positions.

The University of Illinois is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action employer. Minorities, women, veterans and individuals with disabilities are encouraged to apply. For more information, visit To learn more about the University’s commitment to diversity, please visit