Legal Internships

CIEL is deeply committed to developing the next generation of legal professionals. CIEL offers internships to current law students and fellowships to recent law school graduates and members of the Bar who wish to develop or increase their knowledge of the practice of public interest, international environmental law. Over its 25 years, CIEL has trained more than 400 interns from around the world, providing an important educational opportunity for lawyers in training. CIEL’s Legal Intern Program trains new lawyers and law students by giving them the opportunity to work on cutting-edge international environmental issues in Washington and Geneva alongside and under the mentorship of CIEL’s experienced staff attorneys.

Externs work full or part-time during the school year, usually receiving credit from their schools. Summer interns typically work full-time during the summer months. Fellows serve full-time for varied terms. Due to limited resources, internships, externships, and fellowships are unpaid. We do not consider undergraduates for legal internships.

Responsibilities of an intern or fellow include researching and writing about areas of international law and policy; assisting with policy analysis and advocacy; attending meetings and conferences; assisting with the production of CIEL publications; and otherwise working closely with CIEL staff on various projects.

Successful applicants generally possess excellent research and writing skills and a strong dedication to public interest law. CIEL actively seeks applicants with diverse backgrounds.

To apply for internships or fellowships in Washington, D.C., please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (not legal memo from 1L writing class) to If you apply to both the Washington DC and Geneva offices, please clearly indicate this in the body of your e-mail/ application.

Additional Internships:


In addition to its normal fellowships, CIEL offers one special fellowship each year, the Louis B. Sohn Fellowship in Human Rights and Environment, for public interest lawyers that have had significant on the ground experience working on human rights issues.

Please note that all internships and most fellowships are unpaid.  The Louis B. Sohn Fellowship carries a modest stipend.

If your school offers funded fellowships for recent graduates, and you are interested in exploring CIEL as a host organization for the fellowship, please submit your resume, cover letter, and a detailed description of the fellowship opportunity.

“I learned as much at CIEL in one summer as I did in an entire semester of law school!  The projects were enriching and varied, and I really discovered the role that NGOs and civil society play in the political and legal process.”

Paula Kweskin, Summer 2009, Legal Researcher, NGO Monitor (Jerusalem, Israel)