Programs for Law Students, Grad Students and Undergraduates

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Clerkships and Internships

summer-clerks-2014The Institute for Justice employs law clerks and both undergraduate and graduate interns during the school year and throughout the summer. Clerks and interns participate in the day-to-day activities that make up the Institute's fast-paced litigation docket. IJ's legal staff draws upon clerk and intern talent for assistance with legal research, brief writing, client interviewing, drafting affidavits, op-ed writing, and a host of other key litigation responsibilities.

Summer clerkships are highly competitive and usually run from the beginning of June through mid-August. The application will be linked from this page beginning in October. Most IJ law clerks arrange their own funding from law school public interest fellowships or other outside sources, but a limited number of paid clerkships are available. Students are also encouraged to seek academic credit or participate in semester externships. In addition, IJ has individual research projects that can be completed by students nationwide, either to fulfill mandatory pro bono assignments or on a volunteer basis.

If you have any questions about IJ's clerkship and internship program, email IJ's student program coordinator at


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 for the following spring. To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume and writing sample to your desired location below:

Arlington, Virginia (Headquarters)-
Tempe, Arizona-
Miami, Florida-
Minneapolis, Minnesota-
Austin, Texas-
Bellevue, Washington-








Opportunities for Undergrad Students

IJ is always looking for highly-motivated undergraduates to join our team in the Arlington, Virginia Headquarters office. Litigation and strategic research interns work alongside our clerks and gain valuable experience in their chosen fields. We hire on a rolling basis with most interviews in August for the fall semester, in November for spring semester, and in February for summer internships. Semester interns work 15-20 hours per week depending on their class schedules; summer interns work full time hours.

To apply for an internship, please send us a cover letter, resume and writing sample. Litigation intern applicants should direct questions and materials to Those interested in strategic research internships should email

Applications for 2015 litigation internships are now closed.

Maffucci Fellowship

The Institute for Justice is seeking interns for its Maffucci Fellowship program. Fellows work closely with IJ’s activism and coalitions team, and assist with exciting research projects, help track controversies and legislation across the country, and provide valuable administrative support to staff on a variety of tasks. Fellows gain unique experience on the front lines of the fight for liberty.

The Maffucci Fellowships are full-time and the duration is flexible, with a minimum commitment of three months. Fellows receive a monthly stipend of $1,500 that increases to $2,000 with a longer-term commitment of six months or more. Undergraduates are encouraged to attempt to obtain academic credit for their work. Recent graduates are also welcome to apply. Law students should apply to our clerkship program (see below).

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, school choice, and economic liberty.

Applicants are required to submit a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and two personal references. The writing sample must be between 400-600 words. Use Liberty in Action blog posts as a guide. Please send the materials in a single PDF to:

Now accepting applications for Fall 2015.

Garrett Atherton
Outreach Coordinator
Institute for Justice







Opportunities for Graduate Students in the Social Sciences

The Institute for Justice’s strategic research program is always looking for motivated graduate students in the social sciences to join our team in the Arlington, Virginia office. Strategic research interns gain valuable experience working alongside IJ’s research team and attorneys developing original research on topics relevant to IJ litigation. Fall and spring interns work about 20 hours per week around class schedules, while summer interns work full-time hours. To apply, send a cover letter, resume and writing sample to

New in 2014, the Institute for Justice began inviting select Ph.D. and master’s students in the social sciences to our acclaimed weekend conference for law students, the Public Interest Boot Camp. The annual conference covers IJ’s four litigation pillars—First Amendment rights, school choice, economic liberty and private property rights—as well as natural rights theory, cutting-edge constitutional theories and media skills. For students of the social sciences, the conference will offer an opportunity to explore legal perspectives on major social issues with IJ attorneys and leading legal experts, such as Randy Barnett, Roger Pilon and Todd Zywicki. Separate breakout sessions for graduate students, presented by IJ and social science scholars, will address the intersection of the law and social sciences and how to apply the tools of research to vital legal questions.




IJ's Public Interest Boot Camp 

“Conservatives and libertarians who think [legal] clinics promote liberal politics rather than serve the public have begun a small-scale option. Each year, the Institute for Justice brings two dozen students to Washington for training in cases that reflect free-market principles and property rights.”
— U.S. News & World Report

The Institute for Justice holds its acclaimed boot camp in Washington, D.C. each summer.  A select group of top law students and graduate students in the social sciences take part in this three-day conference on shaping the world through the IJ way of public interest litigation.

The annual conference covers the Institute for Justice’s four litigation pillars: First Amendment rights, school choice, economic liberty and private property rights.  These topics are taught alongside others rarely discussed in law school or graduate programs, such as: natural rights theory, public interest litigation tactics, cutting-edge constitutional theories, media skills, and the use of social science research. The faculty combines IJ attorneys and staff members with leading law professors and legal experts including Randy Barnett, Roger Pilon, and Todd Zywicki. In breakout sessions, social science students will learn from IJ and other leading researchers about how to apply the tools of social science research to vital legal questions.The conference's keynote speaker is always a distinguished jurist, who offers a view of public interest law from the bench. After attending this crash course in public interest law, the IJ Way, participants are able to recognize and seize public interest opportunities in the future.

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How do we fit all of this into a weekend?  Check out the sample weekend agenda








Human Action Network

Alumni of the Institute for Justice’s law student conference and clerk and intern programs comprise a group of uniquely trained legal advocates known as the Human Action Network (HAN). HAN is now a nationwide talent bank, comprised of hundreds of IJ alumni who volunteer whenever opportunities arise to protect individual liberties. Members of HAN support IJ by assisting with numerous litigation and non-litigation activities including identifying and researching potential cases, serving as local counsel, authoring amicus briefs on our behalf, filing amicus briefs supporting IJ cases and litigating cases IJ is unable to litigate. HAN membership gives attorneys who are interested in IJ’s mission an outlet to help advance the rule of law in which individuals have control over their own destinies.






“The office has real energy-a very special sense of purpose pursued by professionals who share a mission as well as friendship.”
Summer Clerk


“My experience as a law clerk has shown me that even a relatively small group can challenge the status quo, dare lawmakers, courts and individuals to think differently, and have a profound impact on the law.”
— Fall Clerk


“Nothing brings home the importance of liberty and choice as much as hearing the individual stories of IJ's clients. Participating in their struggle is the best motivation to pursue a legal career.”
Fall/Spring Clerk
“IJ's Law Student Conference was well organized, coherent, concise, and completely new.”
Law Student Conference Participant

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Institute for Justice
901 N. Glebe Road, Suite 900
Arlington, VA 22203
Tel 703.682.9320, Fax 703.682.9321
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