U.S. Legal Internship (Summer, 2020)

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U.S. Legal Internship (Summer, 2020)

Location: Washington, DC

Position Title: U.S. Summer Legal Intern (unpaid)

Location: Washington, D.C.

Reports To: Staff Attorney

Start Date: Flexible (minimum 10 week commitment strongly preferred)

Deadline: Rolling (Final application deadline is January 15, 2020)

EarthRights International, a nongovernmental, nonprofit organization that combines the power of law and the power of people in defense of human rights and the environment, is seeking U.S. law school students to work with its legal team in Washington, DC for summer 2020. The internship is a minimum 10-week commitment. Law students may be J.D. or L.L.M. students, but must have at least one year of U.S. legal training by the time of the internship. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and students are encouraged to submit their applications as early as possible. The final application deadline is January 15, 2020.

Summary Description

Over the past 20 years, EarthRights has built a reputation as one of the leading legal organizations representing communities and individuals from around the world whose rights, livelihoods and homelands are harmed by corporations, financial institutions and governments. EarthRights fights for corporate accountability, to protect the environment in the face of a climate emergency, and to support earth rights defenders around the world. Our lawyers have worked closely with our clients, co-counsel, partner NGOs, campaigners and others to bring groundbreaking lawsuits and pursue legal advocacy to provide remedies and ensure legal accountability. Our cases have set legal precedents, brought millions of dollars of compensation to our clients, and changed the behavior of corporations and other institutions; one of our cases, Jam v. International Finance Corporation, recently set important U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

Legal interns participate in various projects associated with these cases, including legal research and writing and assistance in all phases of litigation, as well as other legal work including development of new cases, monitoring and exploring developments in international human rights and environmental law, researching and utilizing other mechanisms of corporate accountability, and helping to coordinate with and assist other groups bringing domestic or international cases. Interns are fully integrated into EarthRights’s U.S. legal team and may work with any of EarthRights’s attorneys and other staff in advocacy and communications programs.

Roles and Responsibilities may include

  • Legal research on U.S. law, international law, and other legal regimes.
  • Preparation of legal memorandums, court briefs and filings for U.S. and other legal systems.
  • Work in collaboration with other NGOs and communities to assist in the development of legal and advocacy strategies.
  • Research on new legal strategies to defend the human and environmental rights of frontline communities.
  • Communication of EarthRights’ work through web content and media contacts.
  • Policy advocacy with the U.S. legislative and executive branches.

Required Qualifications and Experience

  • Applicants must have completed at least one year of law school.
  • A demonstrated commitment to using the U.S. legal system to serve frontline communities and/or to protect human rights and the environment.
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills.
  • Ability to handle sensitive client relationships and protect the confidentiality of our work and our communications.

Desired Skills and Experience

  • Proficiency in one or more languages other than English, especially Spanish, as well as Burmese (Myanmar), Thai, Portuguese, French, and/or Chinese.
  • A background in international human rights law, international environmental law, corporate accountability, and/or indigenous peoples’ rights.
  • Experience in regional studies, development, environmental sciences, or other fields related to issues of human rights, environmental protection and indigenous peoples.
  • Strong research and writing skills.
  • Good judgment and initiative.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work in teams.
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.


How to Apply


By January 15, 2020, candidates should send an email with the subject line “U.S. Summer Legal Internship” to [email protected] with the following documents, in MS Word or PDF format, each attached separately. You must use the designated subject header, or your application may not be received:

  • Cover letter
  • Resume or CV (no longer than 2 pages)
  • Brief (less than 10 pages) legal writing sample
  • Contact information for two references

Due to the volume of applications, only short listed candidates will be contacted. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis beginning in January until positions are filled.

EarthRights International is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and actively encourages people of color, women, people with disabilities, and LGBTQI people to apply.