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Summer offers Harvard Law School students the opportunity to acquire full-time, hands-on experience in public or private sector work in countries all over the world.

Summer work abroad can enable students to become immersed in a foreign legal culture under the supervision of practicing attorneys from other countries, enhancing students’ legal education and serving as valuable preparation for their careers.

In a typical year, more than 100 HLS students travel to countries all over the world, working with a wide range of organizations and law firms on a diverse array of projects. These are just a few examples of HLS students’ recent summer work experiences:

  • Preparing legal memoranda on prosecutorial discretion and admissibility of evidence at the United Nations Assistance to the Khmer Rouge Trials in Cambodia
  • Conducting legal research on transactions involving international joint ventures and multinational corporations at a law firm in Brazil
  • Drafting a court complaint for the Human Rights Law Network in India against a state for not following the legal safeguards required for displacing peoples when planning construction of a new dam
  • Advising a foreign bank on the restructuring of its guarantee/counter-guarantee packages under the International Chamber of Commerce rules at a law firm in China
  • Working in France at the Council of Europe on a terrorism and human rights project
  • Writing memos summarizing the procedural posture and background of a tax fraud case for the National Prosecuting Authority of South Africa

Spotlight: The Chayes International Public Service Fellowship

For more than 20 years, these fellowships, administered by International Legal Studies, have provided Harvard Law School students with the opportunity to spend eight weeks during the summer working with  governmental or non-governmental organizations concerned with issues of an international scope or relevant to countries in transition.  Learn about this program and meet some recent Chayes Fellows here.

Resources for Students

  • Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising (OPIA)

    OPIA provides a wide range of summer public interest job search resources, including:

  • Office of Career Services (OCS)

    OCS provides information and advising for students interested in international private sector summer opportunities (e.g., working at law firms abroad), including:

  • International Legal Studies (ILS)

    ILS is the primary source of information on all aspects of the Chayes International Public Service Fellowships, as well as on resources and procedures for HLS students traveling abroad.

  • Human Rights Program (HRP)

    HRP is the primary source of information for Human Rights Program Summer Fellowships. HRP student fellowship advisors are available for individual consulting.

  • Faculty Members

    HLS faculty members can serve as helpful resources in finding summer work opportunities.  Staff at OPIA, ILS and HRP can assist students in identifying faculty members whose research interests might align with the student’s interests.

  • Research Programs and Centers

    HLS is home to wide range of research programs and centers, many of which engage in international work and can serve as resources.

  • Student Organizations

    Student organizations can connect students with members who have engaged in international summer work.

  • Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF)

    The Summer Public Interest Funding (SPIF) program, administered by Student Financial Services, provides funds to HLS students who choose to pursue positions in the public interest during the summer.