IJ 2021 Summer Student Programs

The Institute for Justice (IJ) is pleased to offer our acclaimed Law Student Conference and Legal Intensive events again this year.  The Law Student Conference is an annual tradition of nearly thirty years, drawing law students from across the country (as well as our summer Dave Kennedy Fellows) to our headquarters in Arlington, Virginia for an immersive weekend experience to learn about IJ and public interest law.  More recently, we’ve introduced Legal Intensives which allow students to learn about public interest law in a one-day format virtually or in other cities around the country.

Both events teach what law school often does not – how to find and litigate public interest cases in the real world.  We’ll share our public interest strategies, our current areas of litigation, and how we put together a case from start to finish.  And most importantly, our clients will share their stories and explain what it means to team up with IJ and fight against government abuse.

We recognize the need to offer students flexible options while continuing to provide inspirational, informative and hands-on learning about public interest law that goes beyond what students learn in law school.  This year, IJ’s Law Student Conference is currently anticipated to run for two days, June 5 and 6, at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.  Our Legal Intensive will be held virtually on Saturday, June 5.  Both groups of students will learn together on Saturday and the Law Student Conference students will continue on Sunday with additional hands-on sessions.

While we hope that conditions allow us to offer the in-person experience to a small group of students, we are closely monitoring all available data and guidance. We will alert the students who’ve been accepted to the in-person Law Student Conference if an all-virtual format becomes necessary by late April.


Josh House
Past Conference Faculty
IJ Attorney

How do I decide which event is right for me?

Law Student Conference Legal Intensive
Date Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6 Saturday, June 5
Location In person at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, VA Virtual
Best For Students who are looking forward to a full weekend of public interest law. This year, the smaller group size allows us to offer some new opportunities to get to know our students and help them develop practical skills for public interest litigation. As we hope to host this event in person, students should be comfortable traveling and working together (masked, in a small group and socially distanced) in our recently renovated and expanded headquarters office in Arlington, Virginia. IJ will cover each student’s travel and accommodations. Students who are interested in learning what a career in public interest law is really like – and who are looking for a one-day, immersive experience to check it out. The energy at a Legal Intensive is palpable. Students should be prepared to dive in, ask questions, and actively participate in the virtual discussion. While this group is slightly larger than the Law Student Conference, we still cap attendance to ensure that we can see and talk with everyone throughout the day.

What to Expect

Students at both events will get hands-on, practical training.  They’ll learn what it’s like to be a public interest lawyer – and hear from IJ clients exactly what they should want to be a public interest lawyer.  Here’s what we’ll cover with both groups of students:

  • Litigation Strategies for Effective Public Interest Law
  • Advancing a Litigation Strategy in the Real World
  • Learn about IJ’s Pillar Areas: Economic Liberty, First Amendment, Property Rights and Educational Choice
  • Public Interest Litigation Skills in the Real World
  • Thinking Like an IJ Lawyer: Your Turn to Vet a Potential Case
  • IJ Client Panel

Anya Bidwell
Conference Faculty
IJ Attorney

IJ Attorney and Legal Intensive Instructor Anya Bidwell

We hope to host a small group of students in person for the full Law Student Conference – which incorporates some of the highlights of the traditional law student conference as well as some additional sessions that are possible in a small-group setting.  Here’s what we hope to offer:

  • Small group discussions with IJ attorneys and staff during meals and in between sessions
  • If possible, we’d love to host our Law Student Conference students on a cruise on the Potomac which will include dinner and opportunities to talk with IJ attorneys and former students.
  • Outdoor breakfast and mixer with IJ leadership and Law and Liberty Fellows.
  • A hands-on session about writing in public interest law and how we approach it differently than other types of law
  • Breaking out into even smaller groups for discussions about active case areas and litigation strategies
  • A live recording of IJ’s podcast Short Circuit

While some of these sessions aren’t a fit for the larger virtual experience of the Legal Intensive, we hope to offer similar opportunities to Legal Intensive students who are excited to continue their relationships with IJ.  If we’re not able to accommodate you at the Law Student Conference but you’re interested in such programming, please let us know!

Registration for these events are now closed.


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