Summer Internships

Apply for funding for international human rights internships

Over the summer, the Internship Program provides students with grants of up to $5,000 to work with international human rights organizations full-time for ten weeks over the summer. Applicants complete a detailed proposal and select an organizational partner, such as a non-governmental organization or UN agency, with whom they will work. Upon their return, Leitner Interns file a report summarizing their experience and make a presentation to the law school community. Students awarded grants are also encouraged to develop their scholarly interest in the subject matter with an eye towards producing a note or other publication. To that end, the Center offers a human rights drafting course for Leitner Interns who wish to turn their summer experiences into a note for submission to the Fordham Law Review or International Law Journal.

Summer Leitner Interns are also encouraged to take part in the Leitner Intern Blog, which chronicles their summer experiences on the website. Since it began in 2004, the Internship Program has sent law students to countries all over the world including Australia, Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Ghana, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Jamaica, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Nicaragua, Northern Ireland, Mexico, Morocco, Nepal, the Philippines, Romania, Rwanda, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Tanzania, Turkey, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.  To see where and with which organizations interns have worked before, visit here.

What are the requirements?
Applicants must agree to work full-time for at least 10 weeks at a non-governmental organization, U.N. agency, or other organization working on international human rights issues. Upon return, the student must submit a three- to five-page report on the experience and make a presentation to the law school community about the internship experience at a Brown Bag Lunch. Students must submit their final report and budget satisfactorily and in a timely manner in order to receive the balance of the grant for which they were approved.

The students are also encouraged to enroll in a special two-credit seminar for Leitner Interns in the fall semester following the internship in order to develop the scholarly aspects of the internship with an eye toward publishing a note or other publication.

When are applications due?
There are two deadlines for 2011 Leitner Summer Internship Funding.  The Leitner Summer funding early decision deadline is January 21, 2011 and the general decision deadline is March 21, 2011.

Who is eligible?
Leitner internships are open to all Fordham Law School Students, including LL.Ms and evening students.

Are there any prerequisites?  
Interested students must attend their choice of at least five events sponsored by the Leitner Center during each of the two semesters preceding their proposed Leitner internships (a total of 10 events).  Such events include the Brown Bag Lunch series, film screenings, and discussion panels, among others.  Sign-in sheets will be provided at these events.

How do I apply?
Applicants must identify a non-governmental organization, U.N. agency, or other human rights organization with which they intend to partner and submit by email:

  1. a detailed project proposal (described below)
  2. a cover letter
  3. a résumé
  4. a letter of recommendation (from a professor or employer)
  5. a copy of your Fordham law School transcript

What is the project proposal?
The project proposal is similar to a grant application and should include the following:

  • a project description, developed in consultation with the partner organization, identifying the particular human rights issue that will be the focus of the internship. The project description should describe the human rights issue, why it is significant, and how the student's work will address the issue.
  • a description of the partnering organization
  • a letter/e-mail of support from the partnering organization
  • a rough budget listing expected expenses related to your summer human rights internship.

Note: The Leitner Center also pre-existing relationships with a few organizations that have requested that applications be submitted to them through the Leitner Center. See here for a complete list of these organizations and their specific application procedures (which may differ slightly from the above).

Must I work overseas?
The purpose of the Leitner Internship Fund is to allow students to pursue international human rights work. While there is a preference that students conduct overseas human rights work, applications proposing international human rights-related internships in the United States will also be considered.

What are the criteria?
Applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:

  • the originality and significance of the project
  • the qualifications of the student to complete the project
  • the student's demonstrated interest in international human rights
  • the student's overall academic record

Note: Students who have participated in the Leitner Internship Program at the end of their 1L year ARE eligible to apply for a second Leitner Internship at the end of their 2L year. Participation as a Leitner Intern does not in any way prejudice your acceptance into the Crowley Scholars Program in your 2L year.

Who will evaluate the applications?
The applications will be evaluated by a committee consisting of Mr. James Leitner, Professor Martin Flaherty, Professor Tracy Higgins, Executive Director Liz Wickeri, and Crowley Fellow Daniel McLaughlin.

Please email applications to

How is the grant amount determined and paid?
The Leitner Center will review the budget submitted as part of the project proposal and provide a grant of up to $5,000 to cover the costs of an internship. Students will be paid $4,500 before the summer and the balance of approved funds at the end of the summer once the final report and budget have been submitted in a satisfactory and timely manner.

Note: Leitner internship applications from past summers are on file.  If you would like to review a sample, please stop by the Leitner Center at 33 West 60th Street (2nd Floor) and speak with Crowley Fellow Daniel McLaughlin.


Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
Fordham University School of Law
33 West 60th Street (2nd Floor)
New York, NY 10023

Telephone: 212.636.6862
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Fordham offers one of the most extensive human rights curricula of any law school in the United States

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Faculty and Staff
Jeanmarie Fenrich
Director of Special Projects - Africa, Leitner Center for International Law and Justice
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