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 – Click here to apply!

The Institute for Justice’s summer program participants are called Dave Kennedy Fellows, named after Dave Kennedy, who was the longtime Chairman of IJ’s Board of Directors and Chairman Emeritus. We are honored 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. The fellowship is a paid opportunity, offering $7,000 for the 10-week program, and generally runs from the last week of May through early August.

Past assignments have included:

  • Evaluating Sixth Circuit precedent for challenges to warrantless inspections of businesses;
  • Identifying target states for challenges to the application of the third-party doctrine to authorize warrantless seizure of medical records;
  • Designing creative tactics to overcome and undermine immunity doctrines like qualified immunity;
  • 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.

The application for the 2022 Dave Kennedy Fellowship is now open. Click here to apply. All applications are due by Friday, January 14 but we will begin interviews and will hire students on a rolling basis beginning in December 2021.

Other Summer Opportunities

The Institute for Justice (IJ) is pleased to offer our acclaimed Law Student Conference again this year.  The Law Student Conference is an annual tradition of nearly thirty years, drawing law students from across the country (as well as our summer Dave Kennedy Fellows) to our headquarters in Arlington, Virginia for an immersive weekend experience to learn about IJ and public interest law.

Semester Clerkships

IJ offers fall and spring semester clerkships at all six of our offices around the nation. IJ is also excited to announce that we are now accepting applications for remote clerkships as well. These clerkships are excellent opportunities for law students who wish to learn more about public interest litigation and are interested in substantively contributing to active and future strategic litigation in both state and federal courts. Semester clerkships are either paid or can be used for class credit and they are part-time in order to accommodate law school schedules. IJ hires on a rolling basis. If you are interested in being considered for a semester clerkship, please check our employment opportunities page under the heading “Student Opportunities” or email training@ij.org for more information!

“I loved my summer with IJ. I got to work on interesting, substantive topics that promoted the public good while receiving guidance on research and writing from top-notch litigators. The enthusiasm IJ’s team had for its cause permeated every aspect of my time there, making each day on the job enjoyable, engaging, and fulfilling.”

2L, NYU School of Law

“I hit the ground running in my fellowship with IJ. Within the first week I was doing supplemental research on a case that was argued before the Court of Appeals in The Eleventh Circuit. Not only was the work rich with novel constitutional issues, I was also given the freedom to collaborate with IJ attorneys across the U.S. to pursue my interest areas further. Lastly, the people were great, and Dave Kennedy Fellows were fortunate to get an inside look into how high-level litigation works on a day-to-day basis. I would recommend it to anyone interested in public interest or constitutional law.”

3L, George Washington University Law School

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, positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to 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, positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume, cover letter and writing sample. Questions may be directed to training@ij.org. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

Development – Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter 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, positions can be found under the “Student Opportunities” heading. We require a resume and cover letter. Questions may be directed to training@ij.org. Applications are accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

“The Dave Kennedy Fellowship was an amazing experience! From assignments that touch on almost every area of law to discussions with experienced lawyers to seminars on how the Institute for Justice has found success, this summer was as engaging as it was educational.”

2L, Harvard Law School

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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