The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights is the ABA’s focal entity for critical human rights concerns in the United States and around the world. The ABA Center for Human Rights (the Center) works to promote and protect human rights worldwide by mobilizing lawyers to help threatened advocates and vulnerable communities; rallying leading experts on vital issues; and holding abusive governments accountable under law.

The Center is seeking experienced legal interns to work closely with our regional staff attorneys, human rights groups and pro bono attorneys to provide legal assistance to human rights defenders who are the subject of harassment in retaliation for their advocacy efforts. The Intern will gain invaluable insight into international human rights law and advocacy. The intern will be assigned to one of our five regional teams depending on the needs of the program at the time and the interest and experience of the intern. The five regional teams are: Eastern Europe and Eurasia, Latin America and the Caribbean, Middle East and North Africa, South and Southeast Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Applications also are being accepted to work with the Center’s director on various Center initiatives, including Atrocity Crimes, Business and Human Rights, Health and Human Rights, and Dignity Rights. Please indicate your regional and/or project preference in your cover letter.

This may be a fully remote, virtual internship or a hybrid internship opportunity, depending upon ABA policy at the start of the internship regarding in-person work, the intern’s location, and the intern’s comfort level with in-person work. This is an unpaid opportunity. The Center can support externship requirements for applicants seeking school credit. The intern is expected to begin in late August or early September 2021 for a 3-month (12-week) internship period. Intern is expected to commit 10-20 hours per week to the internship. This is a part-time internship opportunity. Application deadline is August 6, 2021.

Interns should expect to do several of the following tasks:

  • Conduct legal research and draft pleadings, motions, and briefs
  • Conduct supplemental fact-finding and assist during interviews
  • Attend press conferences, briefings, and/or other informative webinars
  • Draft editorials and blogs on key human rights issues
  • Monitor ongoing human rights abuses internationally via human rights listservs and other news sources

Basic Qualifications:

  • Currently pursuing a JD or LLM at an U.S.-based institution
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in a second language is preferred. Knowledge of Spanish, French, Arabic, or Russian is a plus.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest and knowledge of international law.
  • Prior experience working on issues of human rights and/or human rights defenders in the one or more of our five regions.

How to Apply:

  • Applications must include the following:
    • Cover letter – Please indicate your preference for regional and/or project assignment and any language proficiencies. If seeking credit hours for the opportunity, please indicate your school’s externship requirements briefly.
    • Resume
    • Legal writing sample
    • List of three (3) references, including phone number and email address.
  • Please submit all application materials in a single pdf to and title the email, “Last Name: Fall 2021 Intern Application”. Please copy Emma Watson at
  • Deadline to submit application: August 6, 2021. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
  • Intern is expected to begin in late August or early September 2021.