The Law School's Program for International Law and Development provides financial and logistics support to students interested in public service internships in a developing country: most recently Cambodia or Namibia. The program is overseen by the Center for International and Comparative Law and faculty with well-established in-country relationships. A summer internship in either Cambodia or Namibia offers the opportunity to see and participate in the rebuilding of a society from the ground up. A number of organizations which are at work on various aspects of this building process are in a position to accept students to work with them as legal interns.
NamibiaWith a relatively peaceful transition, Namibia gained independence from colonial South Africa in 1990, setting aside an oppressive apartheid system and replacing it with a constitutional democracy. Since then Namibia has seen steady and peaceful development of law, governance and society. Namibia is perfectly situated for a short-term summer internship with stable government, well developed infrastructure, diverse cultures and English as the official language. Namibia also has one of the most diverse and breathtaking landscapes in sub-Saharan Africa.
Currently, we have arranged for 3 unique types of placements with Namibian lawyers in legal aid organizations and government in the capital city (Windhoek):
CambodiaWith the final demise of the Khmer Rouge guerrilla movement and a stable (if not fully democratic) government, the country is enjoying real peace for the first time in three decades. The first-of-its-kind court bringing together Cambodian and international judges has begun trials of the leadership of that Khmer Rouge regime. But while Cambodia needs to come to grips with its past, it is also straining to establish a foundation for a stable future. Its recent history left the country with a largely dysfunctional legal and social infrastructure.
Over the past 20 years, dozens of Michigan Law students have worked on a number of aspects of the stabilizing process in a wide variety of organizations in Cambodia. These include legal services organizations, health organizations, the United Nations Human Rights Commission, UNDP, ILO, World Bank, UNICEF, Cambodian government agencies and private human rights and other non-governmental organizations—both local and international—with a wide variety of concerns like women's justice issues, juvenile law, land rights, health care access and economic development. The program has also periodically taken on legal research projects which are carried out by students in the U.S.In addition to offering opportunities to American JD students, the program has also brought a number of Cambodian law graduates to Michigan as research scholars. As a result, Michigan now has a large group of friends in the Cambodian legal world.For more information on the Cambodia program or to inquire about placement possibilities, contact Assistant Dean Kaiser-Jarvis at
Applying for a Summer InternshipApplicants must submit a complete brief application package. A complete package consists of
this online form, through which students will also be asked to submit a statement of interest and a resume. Applications are due January 20, 2021 by 5pm. Applicants will be notified of internship decisions by early February.Prior to applying, it is recommended that students read the placement site descriptions to help guide their decision on preferred placements. In the case of Cambodia, students should have already discussed placement sites with Dean Kaiser-Jarvis.
Brief Statement of InterestThe statement provides an opportunity for the student to persuade the Law School that the internship will enable the student to fulfill educational and/or career objectives. It also allows us to develop a sense of the student's background, interest areas, and expertise. Students are advised to highlight their particular strengths, relevant experiences, and practice area interests. Students should also include how the internship might build on work he or she has done, or how it will contribute to the student's educational or career pursuits. The statement should also include a ranking of the student’s internship preferences with a short description of the ranking rationale. The statement should be no longer than 2,000 words.
Application InterviewEach applicant will be required to participate in an interview with Dean Kaiser-Jarvis and select faculty as part of the application process. These interviews will take place soon after the application packages are due. Each applicant will be contacted to schedule this interview.As part of the application process, the applicant's former professors may be contacted by the selection committee.
International Travel ReleaseA
Student International Travel Release is required whether or not the U.S. State Department has issued a travel alert or travel warning for the country to which you plan to travel. See the
Overseas Travel Requirements page for more complete information.Orientation MeetingStudents approved for an internship in Namibia will be required to participate in an orientation meeting during the Winter semester.
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