Opportunities for elite law, graduate and undergraduate students

The Institute for Justice offers opportunities for 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 application for the 2024 Dave Kennedy Fellowship is now closed.

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.

The fellowship is a paid opportunity, now offering a newly increased $8,000 stipend for the 10-week program, and generally runs from the last week of May through early August.

Applications are generally accepted from October to early February each year. When the application is open, you can learn more about our Fellowship program and apply by visiting the employment opportunities page. Positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to Kat Wrench at [email protected].

IJ’s signature summer event brings law students from across the country together for an immersive weekend experience. Students learn about IJ and public interest law. This annual tradition of nearly thirty years takes place in our Arlington, VA headquarters office. Our 2024 event will be on Saturday, June 8th and Sunday, June 9th. Applications for attendance are being accepted through April 19th. Click here to apply. Questions may be directed to Kat Wrench at [email protected].

The Premier One-Day Public Interest Law Program

IJ is proud to have hosted six Legal Intensives at various law schools across the country. Our next event will be on Saturday, March 23rd in Austin, TX. Visit https://ij.org/event/law-student-event-spring-2024-legal-intensive/ to learn more and apply.

Questions may be directed to Kat Wrench at [email protected].

The Institute for Justice’s Semester Clerkship program provides an unparalleled opportunity for select law students to substantively contribute to IJ’s cutting-edge civil-rights litigation. Clerks conduct legal research; help develop litigation strategies for active and potential cases; and help draft discovery requests, motions, and briefs filed in both state and federal court. Clerks have been involved in projects as diverse as: 

  • Researching appellate court treatment of FTCA actions to support United States Supreme Court merits briefing on application of the FTCA’s judgment bar in a police brutality case. 
  • 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. 
  • Helping prepare motions to exclude expert witness testimony and reports. 
  • Drafting portions of opposition briefs for motions to dismiss and for summary judgment in both state and federal court. 

IJ’s Semester Clerkship program is highly competitive. Paid opportunities are available to students who wish to work in our Virginia, Texas, Florida, or Arizona offices. Although we’re not able to offer paid opportunities to students who live and work in other states, we will happily host remote students for unpaid clerkships, and we often work with those students to help them receive course credit according to their schools’ externship policies. The program generally runs for 12 weeks and is part-time to accommodate class schedules.

IJ hires on a rolling basis. If you are interested in being considered for a semester clerkship, please check our employment opportunities page. Questions may be directed to Kat Wrench at [email protected].

Undergraduate Students

Arthur D. Hellman Fellowship in Public Interest Law

The application for the 2024Hellman Fellowship is now closed. To learn more about this program please see below. Applications are generally accepted through the end of February.

The Institute for Justice seeks highly motivated rising junior and senior undergraduate students interested in the legal field to intern at IJ as Arthur D. Hellman Fellows in Public Interest Law. This program is named after Arthur D. Hellman, Professor Emeritus at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and one of the nation’s leading academic authorities on the federal courts as well as an expert and author on the First Amendment. We are honored to bestow his name on the next generation of litigators for liberty.

The Arthur D. Hellman Fellowship in Public Interest Law is an unparalleled opportunity to gain exposure to the inner workings of a leading national public interest law firm before entering law school. Fellows receive substantive projects throughout their time at IJ and work full time alongside our summer law students at IJ’s headquarters in Arlington, VA. Fellows are invited to participate in all of the summer programming and activities offered to the law students.

Past Fellows have worked on a variety of assignments in support of IJ’s litigation. Past assignments have included:

  • Assisting with searches for potential cases to challenge unjust occupational licenses in various states.
  • Contacting customers of “Tiny Homes” manufacturers to see if they’ve been prevented from building their home and using their land as they wish due to unconstitutional zoning regulations and minimum square footage requirements.
  • Conducting research and writing memos for the attorneys on state laws that allow police to conduct warrantless searches on private property simply because it’s not right next to a house.
  • Collaborating with attorneys on sending Freedom of Information requests when government agencies fail to come clean on how they enforce laws against citizens.

Our summer internship program is a paid opportunity, offering a $7,000 stipend for the 10-week program, and generally runs from early June through early August.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. Positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume, cover letter and three professional references. Questions may be directed to Kat Wrench at [email protected]. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Strategic Research – Summer 2024

The application period for our Strategic Research internship has now open. Please see below to learn more about this program.

The Institute for Justice seeks a highly motivated and detail-oriented undergraduate student or recent graduate with an interest in social science and policy research to join us at IJ’s Arlington, VA office as a paid strategic research intern for this upcoming summer. IJ’s strategic research program is a unique initiative combining high-quality social science and policy research with IJ’s cutting-edge litigation. Past interns have worked on reports such as Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture and Too Many Licenses?: Government “Sunrise” Reviews Cast Doubt on Barriers to Work and have gone on to careers in academia and public policy. 

The ideal candidate has facility in exploring 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 nonprofit agencies. Candidates should also have an interest in assisting with research on occupational licensing, civil asset forfeiture, zoning, and other issues related to IJ’s core areas of economic liberty, property rights, educational choice, and free speech. Previous experience coding documents to turn complex records into numerical data is a plus. The strategic research internship is a full-time, temporary position for a total of 10 weeks and is not eligible for benefits. Interns are paid up to a total of $7,000 for 10 weeks of work paid in semi-monthly payments subject to applicable federal and state taxes. The 10-week program generally runs from late May through early August, though exact start and end dates are flexible to fit the intern’s academic calendar.

Types of past assignments have included: 

  • Finding and reviewing literature. 
  • Finding and cleaning data. 
  • Coding information from documents to create datasets for later analysis.
  • Fact-checking, proofing, and sourcing reports. 
  • Reviewing statutes and other government documents, such as agency reports. 
  • Writing memos on literature and data sources. 
  • Filing and managing public records requests. 

How to Apply
We require a resume, a cover letter describing why you are a strong candidate for this position, and a writing sample. We hire on a rolling basis and will accept applications through February 28th, 2024.  

Cover letters can be addressed to David Warren, Senior Research Analyst. 

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. Positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to Dave Warren at [email protected].

Development – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter Semesters

The Institute for Justice—the National Law Firm for Liberty—seeks a trustworthy, detail-oriented intern to assist with a variety of fundraising tasks for the summer season.

In this position, interns assist in fighting government abuse and overreach by helping our team engage with our donors via thank you letters, cultivate new donors through online research, and help maintain our database and in-house files.

Interns are compensated and scheduling is flexible although we do require availability of at least 15 hours/week. This internship also requires interns to work at IJ’s headquarters office in Arlington, VA. The internship has flexible start and end dates beginning in mid-May and ending on or around June 30th. An extension of the internship work period through the year is also available for the right candidate.

Interns will get an inside look at how a nonprofit manages a $30+ million fundraising operation, as well as gain valuable experience in a fun, fast-paced office environment that fights to protect Americans’ civil liberties every single day.

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. Positions can be found under the “Development” heading. Questions may be directed to Robert Cook at [email protected]. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Activism Fellowships

IJ is seeking candidates for its highly selective Activism Fellowship program. Fellows work closely with IJ’s activism and coalitions team, which fights to change the world at the grassroots through outreach, community organizing, training, coalition building, legislative advocacy, and public demonstrations—a unique brand of activism that reaches vulnerable communities that are subject to the government’s abuse of power.  

This growing team specializes in innovative responses to local needs—and we get results. Whether it’s navigating legislative or regulatory hurdles, hosting fun community events to generate support, building coalitions that span the political and philosophical spectrum, writing in-depth reports or drafting postcards, canvassing door-to-door, or leading demonstrations–helping our activists with their real-world problems is at the heart of everything we do every single day.

Fellows assist with exciting outreach projects and research, help track controversies and legislation across the country, and provide valuable support to staff on activism campaigns. Fellows will gain unique experience on the front lines of the fight for liberty with experienced activists and litigators, and have the opportunity to travel for key events with team members to experience IJ activism on the ground

Opportunities include:

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

How to Apply

To apply, please visit the employment opportunities page. Positions can be found under the “Activism” heading. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

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