Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Jose Siderman Human Rights Fellowship for Argentine Lawyers

Fulbright LogoIn an effort to promote the training of young Argentine lawyers in civil liberties and human rights, the family of Jose Siderman and the Fulbright Commission in Argentina have established the Jose Siderman-Fulbright Human Rights Fellowship at Southwestern. The Fellowship brings an Argentine law graduate to Los Angeles to complete an LL.M. degree in Civil Liberties and Human Rights or Advocacy at the law school, including an externship with a civil rights organization. The program complements the association Southwestern has maintained for many years with Argentina through summer programs, judicial externships and exchange programs in Buenos Aires.

The Fellowship is named for Jose Siderman, a successful businessman who was a victim of Argentina's "dirty war" and suffered kidnapping, torture and exile during the 1970's and 80's at the hands of that country's military dictatorship. In a landmark human rights case heard in federal court in Los Angeles in 1996, the government of Argentina agreed to settle damage claims by Mr. Siderman and his family after a 14-year legal battle led by the American Civil Liberties Union. Mr. Siderman's family felt a fellowship in human rights law would be a fitting tribute to him and would contribute to the future protection of human rights in Argentina.

The Fulbright Commission in Argentina will select one Siderman Fellowship recipient per year as part of its regular grant competition. The program involves nine months of study at Southwestern and a three-month externship. Applicants must be law graduates from an accredited Argentine law school and will be selected on the basis of their academic ability, English language fluency and potential for furthering human rights and social justice in Argentina. The fellowship provides funds for living expenses, books, health insurance, and round-trip airfare from Argentina.

Click on the names below to read about past Siderman Fellows:

Siderman Fellowship Program Overview

  • The Fellowship recipient will be selected by the Fulbright Commission in Argentina. There will be one fellowship per year.

  • Fellowship applicants must be law graduates from an accredited Argentine law school and will be selected on the basis of their academic ability, English language fluency, and likely future contribution to human rights and social justice in Argentina. Once selected by Fulbright, Fellowship recipients will also be required to complete all requirements for admission to the Southwestern LLM program. Absent exceptional circumstances, all Fellowship recipients will be expected to have received a score of 600 or better on the paper-based TOEFL examination or an equivalent score on any of the TOEFL's other formats.

  • Funding will be provided for a twelve-month stay in the United States that will involve nine months of study at Southwestern and a three-month externship at a U.S. civil liberties or public interest law organization.

  • Studies at Southwestern will be toward an LLM in Civil Liberties and Human Rights, unless the Fellowship recipient has a strong criminal law orientation that makes an LLM in Advocacy more appropriate. Southwestern awards an LLM degree on the basis of 26 units of credit, and students will be permitted to take up to 15 units of classes each semester at Southwestern.

  • The three-month externship at a civil liberties or public interest law organization will focus on legal skills as well as on organization building skills, including NGO management, fundraising, relationships between staff and membership, use of volunteers and community outreach. In some cases, students may begin their work at the organization during the regular semester as part of their legal skills development and continue their work during the summer with a focus primarily on organization-building skills.

  • Fellowship recipients will receive free tuition at Southwestern and a monthly living-expense stipend of $ 2,200 per month for twelve months, for a total amount of $26,400, and an additional book stipend of $1,250 to be paid in the amount of $625 at the start of each semester.

  • The Fulbright Commission will pay for the Fellowship recipient's air travel between Argentina and Los Angeles and it will provide the same Health Insurance it gives to all the Fulbright grantees. Fulbright will handle all visa requirements, with Fellowship recipients traveling to the United States on a J-1 visa that will obligate them to return to Argentina for at least two years upon completion of their training.

  • The administration of the program will be carried out in adherence with the Policies of the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, and the Fulbright Board will make final selection of all grantees.