Legal Research Intern (Spring 2019) – The Open Society Justice Initiative

The Open Society Foundation
November 4, 2018
New York, New York
Job Type



The Open Society Foundations works to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. The Justice Initiative, an operational program of Open Society Foundations, uses litigation and other forms of legal advocacy to empower people, defend the rule of law, and advance human rights. Through litigation, advocacy, research, and technical assistance, we promote and defend accountability for international crimes, combat racial discrimination and statelessness, support criminal justice reform, challenge abuses related to national security and counterterrorism initiatives, expand access to and exercise of freedom of information and expression, and confront corruption linked to the exploitation of natural resources. To our activities, we bring deep and varied practice of litigation and other forms of legal advocacy, familiarity with legal and related political fora, substantive knowledge of human rights issues, and issue- and place-specific expertise and experience. We collaborate with a community of dedicated and skillful human rights advocates across the globe, and form part of a dynamic and progressive justice movement that reflects the diversity of the world it inhabits.

At the Justice Initiative, legal research interns do real work with real impact. Under the close supervision of assigned mentors, our legal research interns gain first-hand experience in using the law to protect and empower people around the world. Whether they support strategic litigation efforts, conduct in-depth research, help provide technical assistance, or contribute to our broad advocacy initiatives, interns receive hands-on training on the various methodologies used by public interest advocacy groups to foster and encourage reform, inclusion, human rights, and the building of legal capacity for open societies. Past interns have conducted factual and legal investigations for new cases filed at the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice, researched racial disparities in criminal justice systems throughout the world, tracked citizenship and migration developments in countries and regions of interest, and investigated natural resource-related corruption.

The Open Society Justice Initiative is seeking current law school and other advanced degree graduate students to join our team as Legal Research Interns based in our New York or Budapest offices.

Essential duties and responsibilities will include the following:

  • Draft legal and non-legal reports and memoranda for relevant to projects in our four core thematic areas: accountability, liberty and transparency; criminal justice; equality and inclusion; and rule of law;
  • Conduct all-source research via websites, Lexis/Nexis, foreign source materials, academic studies, oral interviews of experts, legal and political documents, and Library of Congress materials;
  • Attend scheduled staff conference calls and relevant meetings hosted by think tanks, nongovernmental organizations, and other partners and/or advocacy targets;
  • Assist with the development of web-site and advocacy materials as needed;
  • Attend relevant meetings hosted by think tanks and government and non-government agencies.


  • Currently enrolled in a relevant law school or graduate program
  • Highly motivated and have demonstrated excellence in prior endeavors
  • Strong communication, interpersonal and computer skills
  • Demonstrated ability to write effectively and analyze and summarize complex information
  • Desire to function in a team environment
  • Ability to multi-task while remaining attentive to detail
  • Ability to effectively manage working efficiently in a fast-paced environment, troubleshoot and follow projects through to completion, with strict deadlines and without loss of attention to detail, budget, and reporting
  • Excellent interpersonal, communication and networking skills, with a proven ability to work as part of a multi-cultural team
  • Commitment to diversity and a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity,  age,  gender,  sexual orientation,  gender identity,  religion,  ability  and socio-economic circumstances, and ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community


Interested applicants can apply here.

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