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Access to the World

Stanford provides international law students with many opportunities to apply their growing legal skills to real-world problems, through clinics, internships, and externships with an international focus.

Because Stanford views the law as a practical force in world events, the international and comparative law program makes a special effort to offer students learning opportunities that take them out of the classroom and into the global arena.

Our International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic exposes students to human rights advocacy and protection of refugees in the field in South Africa. After an intensive preparatory course, where they are closely mentored by faculty, students travel to Africa, where they collaborate with local clinical scholars to deliver critically needed legal services and promote international human rights.

Other hands-on opportunities include summer internships, funded by Stanford, that provide a gateway to practical international experience. An externship program for second- and third-year students combines fieldwork in nonprofit and government organizations with structured coursework or independent study. For one quarter, externs work in nonprofit public interest, public policy, governmental, and international organizations outside the San Francisco Bay Area. Past participants have worked for foreign affairs and national security agencies, such as the U.S. Departments of State, Justice, and Defense; for an American embassy overseas; for an international war crimes court; or for nongovernment organizations in Asia, Europe, or South America.

Students also have the option of developing expertise in foreign legal systems by earning Stanford Law School credit while studying at distinguished law schools in Europe, Asia, and Latin America.

International Legal Studies with Real Impact

Through Stanford’s summer internships and externship program, international law students have had the opportunity to:

  • Work on nuclear nonproliferation at the International Atomic Energy Agency
  • Help develop World Trade Organization trade negotiation policy at the Office of the United States Trade Representative
  • Litigate national security and free speech issues in the United Kingdom
  • Reform the judicial system in the Philippines with The Asia Foundation
  • Develop a constitution and democracy-building institutions with the government of Bhutan
  • Work in the Legal Section of the American Embassy in the Netherlands, helping to carry out U.S. foreign policy with respect to the international legal institutions in The Hague
  • Defend the rights of victims of sexual violence in Namibia
  • Assist the president of the International Criminal Court in managing the court’s operations
  • Examine the trajectory of human rights discourse and institutions in Africa through Legalizing Human Rights in Africa: Interdisciplinary and Regional Perspectives, a workshop offered through the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law
  • Promote international children’s rights for international nongovernmental organizations
  • Assist judges in writing judgments in genocide crimes trials at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda in Arusha, Tanzania