Summer 2022 IRLS International Internship Opportunities

The International Rule of Law and Security (IRLS) program is excited to open its summer 2022 international internship program applications. Opportunities are available with organizations in Timor-Leste and South Africa, with a possibility of another round of internship placements in other countries added in the future. All of the internships focus on rule of law, human rights, international development, good governance, or related issues. In these internships, rising 2L, rising 3L, MLS, and LLM 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 ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, we do not yet know if internships will take place virtually or in-person. Most organizations have indicated their willingness to host interns in-person in the host country, assuming travel is safe and permitted. The IRLS program will support all students in traveling to their host country if it is possible to do so. A determination as to whether internships will take place virtually or in-person will be made closer to the internship start date, and information will be communicated to all selected candidates as soon as possible. 

It will be possible for students to intern virtually if they prefer; or, if travel is permitted, to travel to their host country for a select part of the internship duration (likely the beginning or the end of the internship) and complete the rest of their internship virtually. The IRLS program will work with selected candidates individually closer to the internship start date. 

General internship details:

Application Link: To apply for the internships:

Application Timeline:

  • Applications are due by 11:59pm Arizona time on February 6.
  • Interviews will be scheduled within two weeks of the application deadline.
  • Decisions for all positions expected within two weeks of the final interview day. 

Application Instructions:

  • Select all organizations you would be interested in working with. If you do not select an organization, you will not be considered for placement with that organization.
  • Focus your statement of interest on your top-choice organization. You may include information about your other choices as well.
  • Please direct any application questions to Jacob Kostrzewski, Program Coordinator, at

Funding / Scholarships: Students are guaranteed to receive funding for their IRLS international summer internship either through ASU Law’s Public Interest Fellowship, or through IRLS summer internship scholarships, but not both. We encourage students to apply for the Public Interest Fellowship as we expect those awards to be larger than those awarded through the IRLS program. The scholarship amount through the Public Interest Fellowship is $9,000 per recipient for the summer. Read more about the fellowship program on Atlas. Public Interest Fellowship applications will be due by February 25. Apply here:

The IRLS summer internships scholarship award, which all students that do not receive the Public Interest Fellowship will be eligible for, is $3,000 per student. 

Additional funding for students is available through ASU Law’s Pay It Forward program. This program includes a pledge that award recipients intend to contribute back to the program within five years of graduation. Students should only apply for Pay It Forward once their other scholarship is determined. More information about Pay It Forward 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 Jacob Kostrzewski at

Internship Timeframe: IRLS summer internship programs are an 8-10 week commitment, generally from late May to late July (exact dates to be determined). If you plan to apply but have concerns about the dates, please let us know. Part-time options may be available, depending on the placement. 

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 seven students summer internships in Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and southern Africa’s economic hub:

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. ISLA will take up to six ASU Law interns. Read interviews with past interns here and here, and blog posts written by past interns below:
The Consequences of Gender Inequality in Property Rights in Uganda
The State’s Due Diligence Obligation to Respond to Violence Against Women
Why Defamation Laws Need to Center Erasure as Violence: Developing Strategies to Combat the Legal Ramifications of the #MeToo Movement Worldwide

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. Read a blog post written by a past intern hereNote that Corruption Watch expressed a preference to host an intern virtually, though travel would still be possible if the selected candidate wanted to travel and if it were safe to do so. 


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 intern cohorts participated in remote internships with Timorese organizations during the summers of 2020 and 2021. 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 summer internships in Dili, the capital of Timor-Leste:

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:

Legal Research Unit: The intern will work on at least one research and writing project this summer. JSMP needs support in preparing standard operating procedures to provide legal counseling to survivors of gender-based violence. JSMP is currently providing counseling to survivors of gender-based violence, but do not have the procedures in place to do so. In past years, interns in this unit worked on projects such as analyzing the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and comparing 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. JSMP needs support from an intern on advancing its advocacy and communications strategy. In past years, interns in this unit worked on projects such as researching 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 writing reports 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. JSMP needs support analyzing and compiling achievements JSMP has made through its court and parliamentary monitoring. In past years, interns in this unit worked on projects such as analyzing the current Law on Anti-Corruption and making recommendations based on laws and policies in other, similarly situated countries. The intern will also share information about how to do research.

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 past years, ASU Law interns at PDHJ worked on projects such as researching and writing 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. PDHJ will take two ASU Law interns. 

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