Students learn about the functioning of lawyers in an international legal environment through practical experience in international courts or tribunals, law offices, government entities, NGOs, and commercial entities outside of the United States. Student’s work experience is critically examined utilizing guided reflections directed by the course instructor. Students work under the direct supervision of a licensed lawyer in the country of the externship.
Qualified students may earn up to 12 units of credit during a single semester, earning 1 unit of academic credit for every 50 hours of fieldwork.
Possible Externship Placements
The Center for Global Law & Policy has placed law students at the following locations:
Externships in Asia:
- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Cambodia)
- Better Factories (Cambodia)
- South Asia Human Rights Documentation Center (India)
- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (India)
Externships in Europe:
- International Labor Organization (Geneva, Switzerland)
- U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (Geneva, Switzerland)
- United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Paris, France)
- Special Tribunal for Lebanon (The Hague)
- International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia (The Hague)
Externships in Latin America and Africa:
- Inter-American Court of Human Rights (San Jose, Costa Rica)
- U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (San Jose, Costa Rica)
- Grupo de Monitoreo Independiente de El Salvador (San Salvador)
- Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (Ghana)
For more information about these possible placements and other opportunities, please contact the Center for Global Law & Policy.
The above list of organizations is merely illustrative. Students who would like to arrange a semester externship with another organization should consult with the Director of the Center for Global Law & Policy. Other possible internship locations include: law offices, government entities, NGOs, and commercial entities.
How to Apply
In addition to acceptance by the relevant employer, the Center for Global Law & Policy determines whether a student is suited for placement in a particular internship. Factors such as a student’s academic record, record of reliability and accountability, and competence to fulfill the obligations of the internship placement are considered in making a determination.
- Complete the application form and memorandum of understanding.
- Get approval signature on application from the Center for Global Law & Policy (located in Bannan Hall, Suite 301).
- Turn in the completed application form & memorandum of understanding to Student Services (located in Bannan Hall, Suite 210).
- Students interested in obtaining academic credit for international externships must apply to and be accepted by the relevant organization. Please refer to the organization’s website for rules regarding eligibility, application procedures, and deadlines.
- Turn in informed consent form, a copy of your passport, and the emergency contact information form to the Center for Global Law & Policy. Make sure to pick up a travel insurance card from Center for Global Law & Policy before leaving the country.
- Register with Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
- After completion of the externship: make sure supervisor completes the Internship Certification Form and submits to CGLP at the end of the semester.
Some organizations make decisions about internships almost one year before the actual placement. Others make decisions less than one month in advance. Students interested in a particular organization are encouraged to do their research well in advance to avoid missing a deadline for that organization. The deadlines listed below are for processing within CGLP. Students may have to satisfy earlier deadlines for particular organizations.
Fall Externship: Application and MOU due February 1
Spring Externship: Application and MOU due July 1
Requirements During Externship
- During the course of the externship students will be required to report to an externship supervisor at Santa Clara University and engage in a process of guided reflections.
- Students are required to maintain time records, reviewed and certified by the externship supervisor, reflecting the student’s time spent in the placement. All units are granted as CR/NCs.
- To receive academic credit for the placement, the student must be supervised by an attorney.
“Santa Clara Law and CGLP opened doors and made connections for me that I previously dreamt of. Over the course of my law school career, I was able to study at Jiao Tong University (one of the most prestigious universities in China, located in Shanghai), live in Singapore, and intern at Rajah & Tann (the largest firm in Southeast Asia), as well as live in Phnom Penh and become actively involved in the work of UNESCO Cambodia. These diverse experiences helped me differentiate myself and served as enormous opportunities for development in my personal and professional capacities.”
Katherine Bielik, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’15
“The semester that I spent in the Netherlands as an intern at the Special Tribunal for Lebanon was an invaluable opportunity to learn about and work in the field of international criminal law.”
Bryce Braegger, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’15
“Working as a legal intern at UNESCO Phnom Penh has been the best part of my law school experience. I learned a lot about international cultural property law, Cambodian law, and Cambodian culture and history. During my internship, I interacted with UNESCO staff, government officials from a range of levels, archaeologists, art historians, museum curators, and others. The projects that I worked on were both challenging and interesting. It was amazing to see the immediate impact my work has made on Cambodian cultural heritage.”
– Gloria Lee, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’14
“Taking advantage of the study abroad and the UNESCO internship opportunities has aided my professional and personal development in ways that conventional classes and internships could never achieve. You will have your eyes opened to a global perspective, make international friends and contacts, and learn diplomacy skills necessary for today’s global marketplace. The UNESCO internship in Paris presents a once in a lifetime opportunity and I highly recommend taking it.”
– Anthony Blackburn, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’13
“Interning in the Human Rights Liaison Unit at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva provided me with in-depth knowledge of UN human rights monitoring mechanisms and their efficacy. While attending and monitoring Human Rights Council, Universal Periodic Review and Treaty Monitoring Body sessions on behalf of UNHCR, I was able to witness high level discussions on the human rights situation in countries around the world and gain insight into the positions taken by States on international human rights issues. I supported UNHCR’s advocacy efforts with governments by undertaking substantial editing of submissions on countries to be reviewed by human rights monitoring bodies and analyzing session outcomes for reports to be used by colleagues as protection advocacy tools. The internship provided me with invaluable experience and reaffirmed my interest in international human rights law and refugee protection. Most importantly, the internship gave me the opportunity to form meaningful relationships with UNHCR colleagues, NGO human rights advocates and like-minded young professionals from all over the world.”
– Jessica Chan, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’13
“Interning as a Legal Analyst at the International Labour Organization’s Better Factories Cambodia Programme gave me the opportunity to experience firsthand the state of labour law compliance in Cambodia. I worked with factory monitors reporting on the human rights and labour law violations of garment and shoe factories, and wrote comprehensive reports on investment and non-profit online fundraising opportunities for the organization. I was given the opportunity to utilize my past work experiences with other United Nations agencies to contribute to this great ILO program. Being able to see how international law applies on the ground has greatly enhanced my interest in pursuing fieldwork.”
– Julia Gin, Santa Clara Law Graduate ’13
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