How to Become a CLS Public Interest or Human Rights Summer Placement
Columbia Law School funds first- and second-year law students to work in approved public interest, government, and human rights summer placements through the Guaranteed Summer Funding program and the Human Rights Internship Program. Our Guaranteed Summer Funding program, one of the largest in the nation, is an integral part of preparing our students to practice public interest law. The Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP) funds students each summer to work in a wide range of international human rights organizations in the United States and around the world.
Guaranteed Summer Funding
GSF will fund any law-related employment in the public interest, in the U.S. or abroad, that utilizes legal education and skills. The program will not fund positions consisting solely of non law-related policy or administrative work. "Public Interest" shall be construed broadly, without regard to political orientation, and shall include not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organizations, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), international criminal courts, government agencies (federal, state, municipal, and multinational), unions, judicial internships for which academic credit is not received, and in some cases, private public interest law firms.
GSF will not fund research assistantships or work on pro bono projects of law firms if the law firm does not meet the below-stated guidelines. An employer will not qualify if it is a religious institution (other than for some secular activities available to the public), or if it is a membership agency (such as a credit union, a fraternal order, or a cooperative) that is primarily for the benefit of the members of such organizations rather than the public. Work for a domestic political campaign or political party will not be funded.
Public Interest Law Firms: The program recognizes that the earnings of some law firms are significantly reduced because they devote their practice to public service. Employment at such firms may qualify for GSF if the firm could not otherwise afford to hire a summer legal intern. Students who intend to use GSF at a public interest law firm will be required to submit to SJI proof from the law firm that (a) the student will be working solely on public interest matters, and (b) the law firm could not otherwise afford to pay a summer stipend.
Human Rights Internship Program
HRIP will fund students to work for international organizations that focus on international human rights using an international human rights framework. For a CLS student to receive HRIP funding, your organization must be HRIP approved. To have your organization approved for participation in HRIP, please email email@example.com for more information.
To Post a Public Interest, Human Rights, or Government Summer Position
SJI disseminates information about public sector summer opportunities to the Law School's current students. There are several ways for employers to have a job opportunity listed by SJI:
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
By Fax: (212) 854-3515
Social Justice Initiatives
Attn: Program Coordinator for Summer Programs
Columbia Law School
435 West 116th St., Box B-26
New York, N.Y. 10027
Please include a brief description of the organization, as well as a more detailed description of relevant job details (including responsibilities) and application instructions.
Interested employers should review our Non-Discrimination Policy.
Contacts for Summer Opportunities
If you are a public interest or government employer and would like to speak with someone at SJI about a summer opportunity at your organization, please contact:
Assistant Director of Summer Programs
To reach students at additional law schools, contact PSJD.
To post private sector job opportunities, please contact the Office of Career Services.