IJ’s Legal Intensive

The Premier One-Day Public Interest Law Program

IJ Attorney Anya Bidwell at the Los Angeles Legal Intensive

Please join us for the Institute for Justice’s Legal Intensive – the premier one-day public interest litigation training program for law students. For over 25 years, IJ has hosted an annual law student conference with law students from across the country near our headquarters office in Arlington, Virginia. We are now thrilled to offer an opportunity for students to participate in an immersive, practical day of learning right in their own backyards!

This program is intended to supplement the legal theory and skills that students learn in the classroom. The experts at IJ will teach students about public interest law and how to take what they’ve learned thus far in law school and turn it into action.

What to Expect

  • IJ attorneys will guide students through informative and interactive sessions on public interest law vs. private practice, litigation strategies, how to develop a case from beginning to end, and more! Students will walk away with behind-the-scenes insight on how to advance a cause all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and what steps to take when they see something in the headlines that they want to change through litigation.
  • Senior Director of Communications Justin Wilson will teach students how to litigate in the court of public opinion through exercises focusing on crafting headlines and messaging for the media.
  • We’ll host a debate on a hot legal issue that will be debated by IJ attorneys. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and discuss the issue with knowledgeable practitioners.
  • Students will meet clients from IJ cases, hear their stories first-hand, and see the true impact public interest cases have on Americans fighting against government abuse.
  • Students will learn how to advance important ideas and change the law – regardless of their chosen careers.

Get Started With Your Application

Use this form to get started with your application. Space is limited, so you may be asked to describe your interest in attending the Legal Intensive to help us evaluate your application. The application deadline is February 21st and all applicants will be notified if they have been chosen to attend the Intensive by February 28th. Some travel scholarships are available for those not in the immediate DMV area. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Institute for Justice Senior Attorneys Michael Bindas speaks with National Public Radio’s U.S. Supreme Court Correspondent Nina Totenberg. They are joined by Institute for Justice Attorney Anya Bidwell (second from left) and Doug and Mary Ketchum. The Ketchums challenged Tennessee’s anticompetitive licensing law that blocks their ability to own a liquor store because they are newcomers to the state.

Event Details

Opening reception: Friday, March 27th at 5:30 pm
Programming: Saturday, March 28th from 9:00 am – 6:30 pm

IJ Headquarters in Arlington, VA

Lainey Carlton – Student Training Manager & Recruiter
Email: lcarlton@ij.org


Friday Evening

5:30 – 7:30 pm Welcome Reception
Join us for drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and opening remarks by IJ HAN Member and Partner at Latham & Watkins: Andrew Prins.


8:30 – 9:00 am Arrival and Breakfast
9:00 – 9:45 am Learning to Swim in the Deep End: Challenges and Opportunities for a Young IJ Lawyer
To kick off the day, hear from IJ attorneys Rob Frommer and Anya Bidwell as they discuss the differences between IJ’s public-interest work and private practice, focusing on the opportunities and challenges a young IJ litigator can expect. As you will see, public-interest law is not for the fainthearted, but it is the most rewarding kind of work you can do as a lawyer!
9:50 – 10:40 am Principles and Pillars: IJ’s Mission and Our SCOTUS Strategy for Achieving It (Session 1)
Learn about IJ’s primary areas of litigation: property rights and free speech. Rob and Anya will highlight IJ’s past successes and continuing efforts to vindicate these four pillars of a free society in the highest court in the land.
10:40 – 10:50 am Snack Break
10:50 – 11:40 am Principles and Pillars: IJ’s Mission and Our SCOTUS Strategy for Achieving It (Session 2)
Learn about IJ’s primary areas of litigation: economic liberty and educational choice. Rob and Anya will highlight IJ’s past successes and continuing efforts to vindicate these four pillars of a free society in the highest court in the land.
11:40 – 11:45 am Snack Break
11:45 – 12:45 pm Making the Case for Your Case in the Court of Public Opinion
To cap off the morning, we’ll talk about putting the “public” in public interest law. From developing cases and finding clients, to turning a brief into a blog post, the process of litigating in the court of public opinion boils down to three key concepts: Personalize, Humanize, and Dramatize. We’ll talk about the nuts and bolts of taking a case to the public.
12:45 – 1:45 pm Lunch
Do you have any burning questions about IJ or constitutional legal issues?  Eat lunch with IJ attorneys and staff who look forward to sharing their war stories and insights.
1:45 – 3:00 pm Advancing a Legal Strategy in the Real World
Now that you have this foundation, we’ll teach you what it takes to change the law – from putting together the first case to strategically developing a string of cases to create a circuit split and hopefully convince the Supreme Court to accept review. Learn how to find cases and clients, advance cutting-edge legal doctrines, and how—whether or not you win in court—you can achieve real world results that help everyday Americans enjoy more freedoms.
3:00 – 3:05 pm Snack Break
3:05 – 4:20 pm Your Turn: Crafting an IJ Case in Real Time
Get your creative juices flowing! Rob, Anya, and Justin will facilitate an interactive session where you’ll take a current issue ripped straight from the headlines and turn it into action using the tools and skills that you’ve learned throughout the day.
4:20 – 5:00 pm Qualified Immunity Discussion
Anya and Rob will be joined by the Legal Co-Director of the ACLU-DC, Scott Michelman, for an in-depth and behind-the-scenes discussion on IJ’s newest initiative: Qualified Immunity.
5:00 – 6:30 pm Client Panel and Dinner
During dinner, you’ll hear directly from IJ clients as they tell their story and answer your questions about being part of a public interest case.


Find out more about IJ’s other student opportunities.

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