Center for International Legal Studies
International Legal Practice Internships
Law Students placed in over 50 countriesInternational and foreign laws affect more and more aspects of life and demand lawyers prepared to handle anything from a contract for a client's business with China to researching Spain's tax laws, from defending a political asylum seeker to understanding Egyptian child-custody rules. One way to better comprehend the transnational legal world is to spend some time immersed in it. This program offers an experience similar to that of a legal trainee or summer associate in the foreign host organisation. Internships are available with law firms, company legal departments and NGOs in all regions of the world lasting 3 to 10 weeks (usually 5 to 6 weeks). The Center for International Legal Studies (CILS) conducted the first International Legal Practice Internship Program in 1976. Since 2004, CILS has partnered with Suffolk University School of Law to facilitate credit for international internships in accordance with ABA Guidelines. CILS is now also able to make these opportunities available directly to students from other US law schools.
FinancesCompensation - Internships are NOT paid positions. American Bar Association (ABA) guidelines prohibit compensation for internships that result in credit toward the juris doctorate degree of an ABA accredited law school. Hosts should not bill clients for an unpaid intern's work product. Federal loans and financial aid may be available for some students. Please contact your law school's financial aid office for eligibility and application procedures. Each intern is responsible for her or his own travel, lodging, and health coverage during the internship.
Workload and Assignments
Interns should be involved full-time in the firm's activities to be as productive as possible in client matters on the host's behalf. A new intern should be introduced to the firm members who all should be made aware of the program goals. Assignments can be given to the intern from several directions, assuring a sufficient amount of activity during the intern's stay. An intern will benefit not only from substantive independent assignments suitable to the intern's abilities, but also from the opportunity to observe members of the firm at work in client interviewing, conferences, and court.
Each intern must keep daily time-sheets for supervising attorney(s) to sign and submit these to CILS at the end of the internship (sample). Each intern must also submit a 1500-3000 word reflective essay on his or her experience (may be waived if the intern is not seeking law school credit or the CILS Certificate in International Legal Practice).
A 5-8 week internship may typically earn 3 credits. Each student's law school may require a relevant course (e.g. international legal practice, international business transactions, international law, comparative law, etc), before or after the internship, or a research paper related to the internship to satisfy ABA guidelines (especially Standard 305). Students seeking academic credit may also need to pay their law school's per credit tuition rate.
A US $250 application fee must accompany each internship application.
A US $400 placement fee is due within 14 days of CILS notifying a placement to the student.
The application fee is refundable ONLY if CILS fails to place the student in accordance with the application on which the student was admitted. The placement fee is non-refundable.
Students who have a focus or desired region for an internship may submit a No-Fee Enquiry to learn what's available and feasible before applying.
Application completed at least 3 months before proposed start of internship (allow 2 additional weeks if New Year falls during this period). CILS notifies each applicant of admission within 10 days of receiving the completed application including application fee.
Admitted applicants are placed within 2 months of admission.
Eligibility - Law students who have completed at least one third of their professional degree requirements before the placement commences with good grades (GPA 2.67/4.00 or higher) and recent law graduates may participate in the program.
Fluency in a language (other than English) relevant to the proposed destination is helpful, sometimes essential.
Documents: Completed application form + 1) Curriculum vitae (résumé); 2) statement of interest (in English and in any language in which the applicant claims proficiency); 3) Law transcript (student copy suffices); 4) Letter of recommendation (from a law professor or law-related work, e.g. paralegal, domestic internship); and 5) Legal writing sample.