FIU International Law Internship & International Law Commission Fellows

FIU International Law Internship and FIU International Law Commission Fellows

Are you interested in international law and perhaps even a career in the field? Every year, several students will have the unique opportunity to participate in an internship in various international institutions. Students can compete to work at the United Nations International Law Commission (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland with Professor Charles Jalloh, Founding Program Director, or undertake an international law or human rights internship fellowship with another international organization under his supervision.

Florida International University College of Law offers many unique opportunities for students looking to specialize in international law. FIU is one of the few law schools in the country to include International and Comparative Law in the first-year core curriculum, as well as requiring an upper-level international law class. The school has extensive course offerings in the field.

As an intern, you will carry out legal research on cutting edge international legal issues, sit in on discussions, and have the opportunity to network with leading international law experts including diplomats, practitioners and scholars from around the globe. You thereby get the opportunity to learn more about making a career in international law.

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Overview

The FIU International Law Internship (for credit, self-funded) and FIU International Law Commission Fellows Program (paid, mostly funded) would provide additional experience in international law by allowing students to serve as research assistants working in an international organization or for members of the International Law Commission (see below for further information on the two categories).

The International Law Commission is a subsidiary body of the United Nations General Assembly and is comprised of 34 legal experts from around the world.

The International Law Commission meets in Geneva, Switzerland in two segments every summer to discuss the items on its current work program. This is typically between end of April and early June, for the first part, and then between July and early August for the second part. The Commission has on its agenda international law topics of vital importance in the future of international law and interstate relations. Each year, the members of the commission discuss and present research on each of the topics on its program of work. This research is then compiled and presented to the Sixth Committee of the United Nations’ General Assembly to show the progress of the topics and to allow States to comment on the issues.

Students participating in the Internship or Fellowship would experience these discussions first-hand. Students will gain the knowledge, skills, and perspectives necessary for effective practice in the area of international law, including international diplomacy and policy, international lawyering as a profession, and professional responsibility. This program is designed to provide students with firsthand experience in international organizations.

These positions will enhance and reinforce knowledge and skills acquired in law school through the College of Law’s internationally-centered curriculum and focus: they will provide the student intern with the ability to apply such knowledge and skills in a professional work environment, the opportunity to acquire new knowledge and skills relevant to the practice of law and the development and implementation of policy in an international setting, and to the practice of international diplomacy broadly construed. The process for application involves a highly competitive selection process where between 5 to 10 FIU students will be selected as Interns and Fellows. Two of these students will be assigned to Professor Charles Jalloh, and the others shall be assigned to other commissioners.

Objectives

The objectives of the internship and fellowship include:

  1. Providing students with the knowledge, skills, and perspectives involved in the work of international lawyers with access to the research tools available to the members of the Commission;
  2. Providing students with the opportunity to work with experienced lawyers; administrators, and diplomats on matters of international law and policy;
  3. Providing students with greater understanding and insight into the international legal system and the opportunities and challenges of international lawyering as a profession;
  4. Providing students with sensitivity to issues of the professional responsibility and ethics that arise in the context of international lawyering and advocacy and exposure to working within a multicultural environment;
  5. Providing students with the opportunity to reflect upon and learn from a practical professional legal experience in an international setting in the setting of the United Nations office in Geneva which is the home of many international organizations; and
  6. Offering unparalleled networking opportunities for our students and possible paths to working internationally.

Eligibility Requirements

These positions require the completion of Introduction to International and Comparative Law with a grade of B or higher and a minimum GPA of 3.0. The Internship is available to students who have completed their first year of law school, provided the student has completed a minimum of 22 credits of study and taken the Introduction to International and Comparative Law course.

The Fellowship requirements include those for the Internship as well as completion of Professor Jalloh’s seminar in Advanced Topics in International Law. Applications, including a resume, cover letter, and copies of transcripts, will then have to be submitted. A shortlist will be followed by interviews, following which successful applicants will be notified

Budget

Student interns and FIU International Law Commission Fellows will be responsible for the entirety of their costs. [Some stipends will be available]

FIU International Law Internship

The FIU International Human Rights Law Internship is a non-paid credit-based work experience that provides a student with the ability to gain advanced legal knowledge and skills within an organization reflecting the student’s academic and professional interests. Interns can expect full time work for 4-8 weeks, minimally 45 hours of work for each credit earned. The internship is designed to provide students with the opportunity to earn internship credit for internationally-focused legal and policy field placement work.

A minimum of 20 pages of written work from the field placement, reflecting substantial legal analysis and be comparable to the work of a first-year associate. This should be substantially the student’s work and may consist of a portfolio of numerous shorter writings. This is in addition to the required reflection paper. All work is subject to review by the Faculty Supervisor.

Students will submit a reflection on the internship experience of at least 10 pages, completed and submitted to the Faculty Supervisor at the end of the internship. Students should keep a journal or use the comments section on their weekly timesheets to record progress. This paper will be taken into consideration in assigning a grade and is separate from the required student intern evaluation of the experience.

Grading: Pass/Fail, provided the following requirements are fulfilled:

  1. Satisfactory completion of the internship requirements
  2. Written work produced during the internship
  3. Two written evaluations of the student intern by the Placement Supervisor
  4. A written reflection paper, and
  5. A written student evaluation of the internship

FIU International Law Commission Fellows

Unlike the FIU International Human Rights Law Internship, the FIU International Law Commission Fellow position will not receive class credit but instead will receive financial support through a combination of the FIU Law stipend and a modest salary as a Research Assistant working 35-40  hours a week and paid by the law school. To apply for this position, the student must have taken the seminar Advanced Topics in International Law taught by Professor Jalloh.

The FIU International Law Commission Fellowship is for the duration of both sessions of the International Law Commission, beginning right after the completion of the Spring exams, for approximately nine to eleven weeks. The selected fellows will be notified in the Spring semester before the commencement of the Fellowship. Fellows will be assigned to commissioners as research assistants and such assignments cannot be changed. Fellows are responsible for obtaining their own work visas, permits, medical insurance, housing, and any other requirements of the placement.

Each student is expected to assist their commissioner, as requested, including carrying out research on legal issues and attending meetings.

Additionally, upon completion of their Fellowship, all Fellows must submit an Intern Report. This report should be between 5 to 10 pages and is required of everyone. The goal is to share useful information about the placement with other students considering the organization. It also provides valuable feedback for the Fellowship program organizers. This paper must be submitted before the first day of class of the fall semester.

To apply for the position, students must submit an application packet consisting of a (1) Cover Page, (2) CV, (3) Academic Transcript (unofficial transcripts will be accepted), and (4) Statement of interest for the International Law Commission that should explain why the applicant would like to work with the ILC and what they will bring to the position. Selection of Fellows is solely within the faculty advisor’s discretion and will be determined on a highly competitive basis.

Testimonials

Eight FIU law students have already successfully participated in the program since it was launched three years ago. You can read the stories below for more on their experiences.

2017

2018

2019

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