Summer 2021 IRLS International Internship Opportunities

The International Rule of Law and Security (IRLS) program is accepting applications for the Summer 2021 International Internships program. Opportunities are available with organizations in South Africa, and additional opportunities may become available in the coming weeks. All of the internships focus on rule of law, human rights, international development, good governance, or related issues. In these internships, rising 2L and rising 3L students will use the knowledge and skills gained in law school to help the host non-governmental organizations or government offices combat challenges faced by lawyers and ordinary citizens in countries with developing legal systems. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all internships will be virtual and remote, but the IRLS program is committed to assisting all interns with travel to their host countries once it is safe to do so.

Read about students’ experiences last summer, and watch a student testimonial video, on ASU Now.

General internship details:

Application Link: To apply for the internships:

Application Timeline:

  • Applications are due by 11:59pm Arizona time on Friday, February 12.
  • Depending on the number of applicants, we may conduct follow-up interviews. If applicable, interviews will be scheduled within two weeks of the application deadline.
  • Decisions for the first round of positions (except Dejusticia) will be made by March 3.

Please direct any application questions to Jacob Kostrzewski, Program Coordinator, at

Funding / Scholarships:

ASU Summer Public Interest Fellowship Program: IRLS summer internships are designed to be eligible for ASU Law’s new Public Interest Fellowship program. SPIFP will award up to $10,000 to selected JD students for full-time summer positions. More information about this program is available in the Atlas Resource Library, under “Government and Public Interest Resources.” We highly encourage IRLS interns to apply once you accept a position.

Jones Day Foundation scholarships: Additional scholarship stipends for international work will also be awarded to selected interns. The number and amount of awards will be determined during the application process, and all applicants will be considered for these awards.

Pay It Forward: ASU Law’s Pay It Forward program provides funding for student experiences outside of Phoenix. When students are able to travel to their host locations, they will be eligible to apply for PIF funding to cover travel expenses. This program includes a pledge that award recipients intend to contribute back to the program within five years of graduation. More information is available here:

All awards are disbursed as scholarships, and may be affected by your individual financial aid circumstances. Please direct questions about funding and scholarships to Lauren Burkhart at

Credit: It is up to each student to decide whether to pursue course credit for summer internships. If you choose to do so, you will have to pay tuition and complete a few additional requirements. Students should also keep in mind the cap on total externship credits that may be applied towards graduation.

*For-credit externships are not eligible for the Public Interest Fellowships. You do not need to decide whether to pursue credit immediately.

Internship Timeframe: IRLS summer internship programs are an 8-10 week commitment, generally from late May to late July (exact dates to be determined), and students may have the option to do their internships full time or part time. If you plan to apply but have concerns about the dates, please let us know. Students may indicate a preference for part-time or full-time work in their applications.  

Read interviews with last year’s interns here.

Internship Descriptions:

South Africa

Downtown Johannesburg, as seen from the top of the tallest building in Africa.
A family of giraffes in Kruger National Park, eastern South Africa.

Occupying the southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is a multiethnic, multilingual democracy that underwent a successful transformation to a full democracy following the collapse of apartheid. It boasts stunning nature, vibrant cities, and a thriving civil society.

The IRLS program is partnering with the following organizations to offer up to four students summer internships in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and southern Africa’s economic hub:

  1. Initiative for Strategic Litigation in AfricaISLA is a non-profit organization seeking to improve and advance women’s human rights, sexual rights, and economic justice across Africa through strategic litigation. While ISLA is based in Johannesburg, it brings cases in national courts in the region as well as in the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights. In its effort to advance women’s rights, ISLA focuses on topics ranging from trafficking to women in conflict with the law to violence against women with disabilities. In its sexual rights work, the organization focuses on freedom of association and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Its economic justice division works on topics such as inheritance, property after the dissolution of a marriage, and the extractives industry. Read more about ISLA’s mission and what they are looking for in candidates here.  ISLA will take three ASU Law interns, and spots are guaranteed.Read interviews with last year’s interns here, and blog posts written by past interns here and here.
  2. Corruption WatchCorruption Watch seeks to expose instances of corruption in South Africa, and provide resources and tools for South Africans to understand corruption, how to identify it, and report suspected instances of it to the organization. It conducts comprehensive investigations into alleged acts of corruption, and shares its findings with relevant authorities to respond accordingly, while monitoring the progress of each case. Corruption Watch will take one ASU Law intern, and the spot is guaranteed.


4th of July celebrations at the US Embassy in Dili.
The bay in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste, one of the world's newest democracies.

Located in Southeast Asia, Timor-Leste is one of the world’s newest democracies. It occupies the eastern half of the island of Timor, the other half of which is part of Indonesia. Timor-Leste boasts some of the most biodiverse reefs in the world, making it appealing for snorkeling and diving. There are also mountains to hike and small islands to explore. Tetum and Portuguese are the official languages of the country; most Timorese who are able to learn a second language, however, are more interested in English than in Portuguese. The IRLS program welcomed its first cohort of ASU Law interns to Timor-Leste during the summer of 2019, and its second cohort participated in remote internships with Timorese organizations last summer. Read about their experiences in ASU Now here, and see their blog posts in the IRLS Dispatch Blog:

The IRLS program is partnering with  two organizations to  offer up to five additional summer internships in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste:

  1. Judicial System Monitoring Program: JSMP is a well-established NGO working to improve the justice system and citizens’ understanding of the courts and parliament. Working at JSMP in Timor-Leste’s capital city, Dili, will provide students with invaluable hands-on experience in the field of international rule of law in a developing country. It will supplement your legal education by exposing you to the challenges facing the legal infrastructure in developing countries, while doing meaningful work with local lawyers to improve it.

JSMP will take three ASU Law interns, one in each of the following programs, and the spots are guaranteed:

Legal Research Unit:

  • The intern will do at least one research and writing project. In 2019, the intern in this unit analyzed the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and compared the obligations accepted by other treaty signatory states to Timor-Leste’s laws to identify areas where Timor-Leste was in compliance with its obligations and where additional work needed to be done. The report was distributed to various government ministries.
  • The intern will also share information about how to do research.

Training and Advocacy Unit:

  • The intern will do at least one research and writing project. In 2019, the intern in this unit researched how laws on freedom of assembly, defamation laws, and facilities for individuals found not guilty for reasons of insanity (NGRI) are implemented in other countries, and wrote a report with recommendations for the government of Timor-Leste on amending its current legal structure to fit international best practices.  
  • The intern will also share information on how to effectively use online advocacy tools.

Parliamentary Watch Project:

  • The intern will do at least one research and writing project. In 2019, the intern in this unit analyzed the current Law on Anti-Corruption and made recommendations based on laws and policies in other, similarly situated countries.
  • The intern will also share information about how to do research.


Bogota, Colombia's vibrant capital.
Sunset over Cartagena, a city featuring stunning architecture and beaches on Colombia's Caribbean coast.

At the northern tip of South America, Colombia has a diverse landscape and thriving cultural scene. The recent peace deal ending the five-decade-long conflict between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) promises increased stability and peace to the country. The official language is Spanish, but English is widely spoken, primarily among younger people.

The Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia): Dejusticia is a Colombia-based non-profit working on strengthening the rule of law and promoting human rights in Colombia and across the Global South. They are a think-do tank that combines rigorous research and effective activism, an innovative approach that makes their work both challenging and exciting. Since their founding in 2005, their work has evolved into ten thematic areas, divided among seven issues. Spanish is a plus but not required. Students must apply directly to Dejusticia, which welcomes applications from ASU Law students but does not guarantee a spot. Read more about Dejusticia’s summer internship program here and apply via this link. Please address your cover letter to Ms. Jessica Corredor. 

Possible Additions:


Provedoria dos Direitos Humanos e Justiça: PDHJ, or the Office of the Ombudsperson for Human Rights and Justice, is Timor-Leste’s national human rights institution. PDHJ was established by the Constitution of Timor-Leste to improve human rights and good governance in the country. The ombudsperson and her office work with local and international organizations to develop and enhance Timor-Leste’s human rights framework and to ensure that the country complies with international treaties it has signed. In 2019, the ASU Law intern at PDHJ researched and wrote a paper on the rights of persons with disabilities, and presented the paper at the South East Asia National Human Rights Institutional Forum, which was held in Timor-Leste that year. In 2020, one intern worked on a report on prisoners’ rights in Timor-Leste, and the other intern worked on a report researching how recommendations made by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women were implemented in Timor-Leste. PDHJ may take two ASU Law interns.

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