Social Justice Initiatives (SJI) is Columbia Law School’s hub for public service work, connecting students and graduates with postgraduate and summer employment, fellowships, pro bono, and research projects. A wide variety of nonprofits, governmental bodies, and private firms around the world have chosen to work with us. We hope you will join them.
- Public interest and government employers looking to hire or host our graduating students and alumni should consult the “Postgraduate Jobs and Fellowships” tab.
- Government agencies, public service organizations, and law firms looking to request pro bono project assistance from our students should consult the “Pro Bono Assistance” tab.
- Public interest and government employers looking for a Columbia Law School summer hire should consult the “Summer Internships” tab.
Processes and Guidelines for Employers
If you would like to share information about a public sector opportunity, please reach out to SJI at [email protected]. Include a brief description of your organization as well as a more detailed description of relevant job details (including responsibilities, eligibility, salary, expected length of employment, and application instructions). Also, be sure to review the policies and guidelines tab on this page.
To post private sector job opportunities, please contact the Office of Career Services.
If you are a public interest employer and would like to speak with someone at SJI about a postgraduate opportunity at your organization, please contact:
Director of Public Interest Professional Development
If you are a government employer and would like to speak with someone at SJI about a postgraduate opportunity at your organization, please contact:
Senior Career Adviser
To post private sector corporate job opportunities, please visit the resources for employers provided by the Office of Career Services.
To post clerkship opportunities, please contact the Office of Judicial Clerkships.
Our students often exceed their mandated pro bono service requirement. Here's how to work with them in New York City and beyond.
SJI distributes new pro bono postings to students throughout the entire year on a weekly basis. Both offices and organizations that already have an established relationship with our office, as well as offices and organizations that are new to the Columbia Pro Bono Program, can submit discrete pro bono projects for posting.
If you have ideas for student projects, whether they are research-oriented or direct service in nature, please contact SJI at [email protected] or 212-854-3318. A Pro Bono Program staff member will help you flesh out project specifics and discuss distributing the opportunity to our students. Interested students will then contact you directly.
All pro bono projects must meet the following four criteria:
- Law-related: The project requires knowledge of the law for completion.
- Supervised by an attorney (either directly or indirectly): The attorney supervisor will sign off on the final work product and/or a Student-Initiated Petition if needed.
- In the public interest: Examples include work that helps those who are under-represented, educates the public about the law, improves the legal profession, or deals with an issue of public importance from any side of the political spectrum.
- Uncompensated: Students may not receive any form of financial remuneration (salary, stipend, or grant) or academic credit (writing or other) for their work.
Representation on individual cases is not available through this program. In exchange for volunteer Columbia Law student legal assistance, the attorney supervisor must complete a supervisor's report provided by your student after they submit their work.
We also suggest you include some sort of “application” in your posting—such as requests for a résumé, any specific course or experience requirements, or a 100-word statement of interest or cover letter—as well as a deadline for responses and your contact information.
Students working at a law firm may not receive credit for work done during a week in which they are being paid. Work done on behalf of paying clients at a law firm will not qualify for pro bono credit.
In addition to discrete research or other projects, offices and organizations can also advertise for unpaid term-time legal interns through our pro bono program by submitting the same information requested above to SJI.
Our Columbia Summer Funding (CSF) program, one of the largest in the nation, is an integral part of preparing our students to practice public interest law.
CSF 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 nonprofit 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.
CSF will not fund research assistantships or work on pro bono projects of public interest law firms if the law firm does not submit proof to SJI that (a) the student will be working solely on public interest matters and (b) the firm could not otherwise afford to pay a summer stipend.
Religious institutions (unless regarding secular activities available to the public) and membership agencies (such as a credit union, a fraternal order, or a cooperative) that are primarily for the benefit of the members of such organizations rather than the public are not eligible for this program. Likewise, work for a domestic political campaign or political party will not be funded.
The Human Rights Internship Program (HRIP) allows students to work in a wide range of international human rights organizations in the U.S. and around the world.
Columbia students will not receive funding unless your organization is HRIP-approved. To apply for participation in the program, email [email protected].