Internship Opportunities

UNDP Beijing

What are the Internships?

Western Law’s International Summer Law Internship Program (ISLIP) provides a range of summer internship opportunities. 

We strongly encourage you to seek out internships that fit your individual interests, as some of the best experiences have been those “created” by students themselves. Don’t feel obliged to rely specifically upon the internships that the ISLIP arranges, or any of the listed programs set out below, as there are many other opportunities available. Your creative self-proposed internship proposals are welcomed! See the details on self-proposed applications set out below.

Examples of previous student placements 

Below is a small sampling of placements that have been offered since the inception of the program in summer 2006. Please note that the internships listed below are for illustrative purposes only. The ISLIP cannot guarantee that a student will be placed with a specific organization for an internship in any given year.

Public Law

Great Lakes & St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) in Chicago, Illinois

The GLSLCI is a binational coalition of mayors and other local officials in Canada and the United States who work to advance protection and restoration of the Great Lakes and St. Lawrence River. The intern’s work involved research into municipal, environmental and international law issues. The intern also had the opportunity to attend the GLSLCI annual meeting. It is helpful if the student has taken an environmental law-related course, but it is not required.

International Labour Organization (ILO) in Geneva, Switzerland

This internship placement has been with the ILO’s Advocacy and Partnerships Unit of the Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work Branch. It requires an interest in international law and human rights issues, particularly those relating to labour, employment and equality issues, and the ability to work cooperatively in an international workplace. Knowledge of French and/or Spanish is highly desirable, but not required.

Permanent Mission of Canada to the United Nations in New York City or Geneva, Switzerland

The student selected for this internship conducted international and comparative law research for, and attended meetings on behalf of, the Permanent Mission of Canada. Requirements included: a demonstrated interest in international law and/or international relations, particularly in the areas of human rights and humanitarian law; self-motivation, flexibility and good time-management skills; excellent research and writing skills; and an ability to work cooperatively in an international workplace.  Knowledge of French is desirable, but may not be required.

World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland

This internship placement has been most recently with the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control Secretariat. The intern’s work included drafting documents and legal memoranda and attending meetings with other intergovernmental organizations. The intern also had the opportunity to attend the World Health Assembly at the Palais des Nations. It requires good knowledge of public international law, including treaty law and the ability to work cooperatively in an international workplace. Knowledge of public health law and/or trade law would be an asset.

Sports Law

Basketball Arbitration Tribunal (BAT) in Munich, Germany

The student selected for this internship assisted the Secretariat of BAT with the administration of cases which dealt with professional basketball.  The work also included a variety of other sport law files and preparations for the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).  A strong interest in sports law and a good understanding of general contract law principles were required.

Sahara Force India Formula One in Silverstone, UK

The student selected for this internship assisted the general legal counsel of the Sahara Force India team with legal issues, mainly in the areas of commercial and contract law.  This internship required a strong interest in sports law, a good understanding of the general contract law principles, and demonstrated initiative and self-motivation.

Business and Trade Law

Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP - World Bank Group Internship in Bankruptcy and Insolvency Law in Washington, D.C.

The selected candidate will intern for approximately four months (from early May until the middle of August) with the World Bank Group in Washington, D.C., United States, and will receive a stipend of $10,000 to cover living and travel expenses. The student will be working on World Bank Group-related bankruptcy and insolvency issues. The student selected for this internship should have a demonstrated interest in bankruptcy and insolvency law, or related area of the law; a willingness to travel, if necessary, to developing and transition economies with expenses covered by World Bank or Thornton Grout Finnigan LLP; and be in possession of a valid passport of a World Bank shareholder nation with an expiration date at least 9 months from the final date of the internship. A background in finance or economics would be an asset.  Ability to speak other languages (including at least one official United Nations language other than English - i.e. Arabic, French, Mandarin, Russian or Spanish) and previous international or intercultural experience also would be an asset.
Note: The selection for this internship takes place separately from the general call for applications, and is usually released in November.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP Student Internship in Mining Finance

The student selected for this internship will intern at the head office of a global mining company (a client of Cassels Brock) with operations and development projects located throughout the world. This internship opportunity is only open to 1L Western Law student applicants. The company and exact location of the internship will be decided by Cassels Brock shortly after the selection of this intern. The student will receive a stipend of $10,000, thanks to the generous support of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. This internship will involve work related to mining finance and the day-to-day operations of a global mining company. The student selected for this internship should have a demonstrated interest in international business, mining and corporate finance.  Knowledge of Spanish would be an asset.

McCarthy Tétrault LLP Business Law Internship

The student selected for this internship will intern in Toronto at the head office of a major financial institution (a client of McCarthy Tétrault) and will gain hands-on legal experience working closely with its legal team. This internship opportunity is only open to 1L Western Law student applicants. The student will receive a stipend of $10,000, thanks to the generous support of McCarthy Tétrault LLP. The student selected for this internship should have a demonstrated interest in business law through past educational experience (e.g. undergraduate business degree), work and volunteer experiences, student clubs and/or proposed selection of law courses.

W.R. Poole, QC Internship in Business Law in London, UK

This internship provides a student with the opportunity to experience a number of different placements in London, UK, in Chambers and in global law firms.  The student will receive a stipend of $10,000 thanks to the generous support of donors who established this internship.  The student selected for this internship should have a strong interest in business and commercial law, including in the areas of restructuring and insolvency; excellent research, writing and oral communication skills; demonstrated initiative, commitment and ability to handle multiple tasks in a businesslike manner; self-motivation and good time-management skills; and strict adherence to confidentiality as required. 

Self Proposed 

Students are strongly encouraged to also seek out an internship opportunity that fits with their own specific interests.

When doing your research, be sure to check out the latest edition of the International Internship Opportunities booklet – a valuable treasure of information on international internship opportunities around the globe.  It contains detail that can assist you in preparing a self-proposed internship application.

For this option, the student needs to have done in-depth research about the host organization to which they plan to apply. The ISLIP application must be a concrete proposal to undertake an international law-related public interest or international economic law internship at an international or regional organization, international court, government office, university or nongovernmental organization. The internship can be located in Canada or abroad. Please note that self-proposed internships are not intended to fund private sector positions. The student should have already made contact with the proposed organization at the time of applying to ISLIP. The proposal must explain the international law-related work the intern would conduct for the organization, and whether this work would take place under the supervision of a lawyer. If the work proposed would take place using another language, the student must already possess those language skills.

Examples of successful self-proposed internships in past years are:

  • Rule of Law Center at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine
  • World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland
  • United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Beijing, China
  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) in Vienna, Austria
  • International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) in The Hague, the Netherland
  • Department of Justice (DOJ), Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section in Ottawa
  • Asian Center for the WTO and International Health Law & Policy (ACWH) in Taipei, Taiwan

Special arrangement with the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

The ISLIP has an agreement with the Toronto office of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP that allows Western Law students hired by the firm to complete a 4-6 week secondment at an international internship placement over the summer. In the past, students have completed their secondment with international clients of the firm, as well as at:

  • United Nations Commission on International Trade Law in Vienna, Austria
  • Embassy of Canada to the United States, trade policy branch in Washington D.C.
  • British Institute of International and Comparative Law in London, UK

International Internship Opportunities Booklet

When doing research on possible internship options, be sure to check out the latest edition of the International Internship Opportunities booklet – a valuable treasure of information on international internship opportunities around the globe.