The Institute for Justice offers a variety of opportunities for elite law, graduate and undergraduate students to contribute to IJ’s cutting-edge constitutional litigation and advocacy work throughout the year. Read below to find out how you can contribute to IJ’s mission to expand individual liberty while gaining unparalleled professional experience.

Law Students

The Institute for Justice selects only the brightest liberty-minded law students from across the country to participate in its summer, fall and spring semester programs. IJ offers an unparalleled opportunity for law students to engage in cutting-edge constitutional litigation. Through IJ’s student programs, law students have the opportunity to substantively contribute to active litigation, work closely with leading constitutional litigators and help IJ prepare for future ground-breaking litigation.

Dave Kennedy Fellowship

The Institute for Justice is pleased to announce that our summer program participants are now called Dave Kennedy Fellows. Dave Kennedy has been an indispensable part of IJ’s growth and success as the longtime Chairman of IJ’s Board of Directors, and now Chairman Emeritus.  We are excited to bestow his name on the next generation of litigators for liberty.

The Institute for Justice recruits only the most talented law students from across the country for its summer fellowship program. The program offers an unparalleled professional opportunity to substantively contribute to active and future strategic litigation in both state and federal courts. During their summers, law students work closely with IJ attorneys to develop litigation strategies and assist in the nuts and bolts of cutting-edge civil rights litigation, including propounding and responding to discovery requests, drafting motions and briefs, and preparing for hearings.

Past assignments have included:

  • Researching and preparing a United States Supreme Court cert. petition regarding just compensation in an eminent domain action;
  • Participating in moots for dispositive-motion hearings in a challenge to protectionist mobile vending regulations;
  • Analyzing discovery objections in a civil forfeiture class action lawsuit;
  • Assessing how to certify a new class and add new plaintiffs to an existing class action;
  • Developing litigation strategies for potential challenges to licensing requirements in several states across the country.

IJ is committed to ensuring that law students get the most out of their summers and leave IJ better prepared for their legal careers. Attorneys will work closely with law students to set and achieve goals for the summer, including working on specific projects and cases. Through IJ’s mentorship program, law students will receive both feedback and guidance on their work.

In addition to participating in IJ’s cutting-edge constitutional litigation, IJ fellows benefit from a summer packed with valuable opportunities to network with and learn from the country’s leading liberty advocates, policymakers and practitioners through IJ’s Summer Speakers Series and annual Law Student Conference, the latter of which is an all-expenses paid weekend dedicated to training future liberty litigators.

IJ also hosts a number of social events throughout the summer that give fellows the opportunity to bond with one another and IJ attorneys and staff. Activities vary from office to office but have included monthly in-house happy hours, bowling nights, local Major League Baseball games, visits to local breweries and distilleries, and a tour of the United States Supreme Court.

How to Apply

To apply, please click on the “Apply Now” link below or go to the employment opportunities page. We require a resume, cover letter, and writing sample. Questions may be directed to IJ’s Student Programs Coordinator, Lainey Carlton, at training@ij.org. Applications for the summer of 2020 will open this fall and are reviewed on a rolling basis.

Dave Kennedy Fellows are paid $7000 for the 10 week program.

IJ accepts summer fellows at each of its office locations. To learn more about each office, click on the different office locations below.

Semester Clerkships

Students in law schools near our offices are encouraged to take advantage of our semester clerkships. We accept applications on a rolling basis and conduct interviews in August for the fall semester and throughout November and December for the following spring semester.

My summer at the Institute for Justice offered substantive work experience, incredible opportunities for mentorship, and a stimulating environment filled with passionate, ideas-driven people. Over the course of the summer, I honed my legal research and writing skills while working on a variety of projects under each of IJ’s four pillars. The IJ Student Conference was a particular highlight, providing a deeper understanding of the principles that shape IJ and the courage and tenacity of the clients it serves.

Jenna Adamson

University of Virginia

Working as a summer law clerk at IJ was a once in a lifetime opportunity: Not only did I participate in furthering the cause of liberty, but I also worked with leading legal practitioners, listened to lectures from renowned scholars, and gained substantive legal experience.

Shawn Rexroad

George Washington Law

Public Interest Law Student Conference

Law Student Conference

The Institute for Justice holds its acclaimed all-expenses paid public interest law student conference in Arlington, Virginia, each summer. A select group of top law students, in addition to all of IJ’s summer law fellows, take part in this two-and-a-half-day conference on changing the world through IJ’s brand of public interest litigation.

The annual conference covers the IJ’s four litigation pillars: First Amendment, Educational Choice, Economic Liberty and Private Property. Hands-on training and presentations led by IJ attorneys, IJ’s award winning communications and strategic research teams, and leading thinkers in the liberty movement provide a blueprint for law students who want to advance liberty through strategic litigation. The conference’s keynote speaker is always a distinguished jurist or practitioner, who offers their own view of public interest law. Past keynote speakers have included 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diane Sykes, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Don Willett and Alan Gura, who argued District of Columbia v. Heller and is now in private practice. After attending this intensive introduction to IJ’s trailblazing strategic litigation, which IJ supporters and clients know as the IJ Way, participants are better prepared to recognize and seize public interest opportunities in the future.

Law students who are passionate about liberty and seek to gain more knowledge about public interest law litigated the IJ Way are invited to apply. Applications for our 2020 Law Student Conference will open in the spring of 2020.

Legal Intensive

The Institute for Justice is proud to announce the first IJ Legal Intensive – the premier one-day public interest litigation training program – which will be held November 9th, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

With this new one-day program, IJ is thrilled to offer this opportunity for students to participate in an immersive, practical day of learning right in their own backyards!

IJ Attorney and Legal Intensive Instructor Anya Bidwell

The Legal Intensive will teach students litigation strategies, how to develop a case from beginning to end, how to advance a cause all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court, and how to litigate in the court of public opinion. The day will also provide students with an opportunity to network with leading practitioners in the field and meet IJ clients – hearing their stories first-hand and seeing the true impact public interest cases have on Americans.

Interested students can learn more, view the full agenda, and submit their application here. The application deadline is October 11thand students will be notified of their acceptance by October 18th. Limited travel scholarships are available for students not in the immediate Los Angeles area.

The work I did at IJ was invaluable to my growth as an aspiring attorney. I learned new aspects of the law every day, became a better writer under the guidance of top-notch lawyers, and had a blast helping great clients resist government bullies. The attorneys and staff at IJ clearly worked hard to make the experience substantive, valuable, and fun for all of us.

David Deerson


Undergraduate Students

Litigation – Summer Semester

The Institute for Justice seeks highly motivated undergraduate students interested in the legal field to join IJ as litigation interns. The litigation internship is an unparalleled opportunity to gain exposure to the inner workings of a leading national public interest law firm before you have even entered law school. Litigation interns receive substantive projects throughout their time at IJ. Most are accepted for the summer semester, during which they work full time alongside the summer law clerks at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia, and are invited to participate in all of the summer programming and activities offered to the law clerks.

Past litigation interns have worked on a variety of assignments, all aiding the litigation team or the student programs assistant. Types of past assignments completed have included:

  • Research projects for potential cases.
  • Data collection and input for upcoming litigation and special projects.
  • Research for ongoing cases as directed by the case team or attorneys.
  • Memo writing.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to IJ’s Student Programs Coordinator at training@ij.org. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Strategic Research – Summer Semester

The Institute for Justice seeks highly motivated undergraduate students with an interest in social science and policy research to join IJ as paid strategic research interns. IJ’s strategic research program is a unique initiative combining high-quality social science and policy research with IJ’s cutting-edge litigation. The ideal candidate has facility in mining online databases and data sources, the ability to create and manipulate spreadsheets, and persistence and good judgment in soliciting information and data from state and non-profit agencies.

Types of past assignments completed have included:

  • Finding and reviewing literature.
  • Finding and cleaning data.
  • Fact-checking and sourcing reports.
  • Reviewing statutes and other government documents, such as agency reports.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to IJ’s Student Programs Coordinator at training@ij.org. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Development – Spring, Summer, and Fall Semesters

The Institute for Justice seeks a trustworthy, detail-oriented intern to assist with a variety of fundraising tasks. Main responsibilities will include assisting in processing donations and sending acknowledgment letters, as well as conducting donor research, writing various materials associated with IJ’s mission, and more. Interns will not only get an inside look at how a nonprofit manages a $25 million fundraising operation, but gain valuable experience in a fun, fast-paced office environment that protects Americans’ civil liberties. Interns will be compensated and scheduling is flexible. We ask that all interns plan to commit to at least three months of work. The development internship is only located at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. We require a resume and cover letter. Questions may be directed to IJ’s Student Programs Coordinator at training@ij.org. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Recent Undergraduates

Maffucci Fellowships

The Institute for Justice seeks paid interns for its Maffucci Fellowship program, which offers unique experience on the front lines of the fight for liberty. Fellows work closely with IJ’s activism and coalitions team, assisting with exciting research projects, helping track controversies and legislation across the country, and providing valuable administrative support to staff on a variety of tasks.

Opportunities include:

  • Access to attorneys, activists and researchers engaging in cutting-edge constitutional advocacy.
  • Travel to assist with select activism trainings and public demonstrations.
  • Media publication.
  • Writing mentorship.
  • On-camera communications training.
  • Networking opportunities.

The duration of the Maffucci Fellowship is flexible, although preference is given to applicants seeking a year-long opportunity. Shorter terms are considered on a case-by-case basis, with a minimum of three months required. Undergraduates should attempt to obtain academic credit for their work. Recent graduates are encouraged to apply.

Candidates should possess exceptional writing skills, be attentive to detail and have a strong commitment to individual freedom, as well as an interest in property rights, free speech issues, educational choice and economic liberty.

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