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Law and Human Rights Internships Overseas

Overview
Law Internships Abroad

Law & Human Rights voluntary work placements give you the opportunity to make a tangible impact on other people’s lives in a new country. These placements offer a practical and constructive way to support positive action amongst marginalised groups and disadvantaged communities. Working with qualified professionals, you will have the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in human rights advocacy in the developing world. Some placements also require you to deal with legal casework.

Emily Dennis, Law & Human Rights volunteer in South Africa"Before Cape Town, I really knew nothing about human rights. I learned more in my month of interning then I ever could have imagined. It was the first time in my life I felt like I was doing tangible work, and at the same time, I was actually touching the lives of people."

Emily Dennis
Law & Human Rights volunteer in South Africa

What is the Difference Between a Law Placement and a Human Rights Placement?

When volunteering at a Human Rights placement, the scope of your work may include legal aid, advocacy and social justice programmes. You will gain diverse on-the-ground experience in a developing country, grappling with societal, cultural and political differences. A Human Rights placement suits those with a background in law, social work, development or anyone with an interest in international human rights.

A Law placement is more commercial in nature and the work can involve attending court and mediations, drafting legal documents or affidavits and undertaking legal research. A legal internship will take place in a traditional corporate environment, albeit with many cultural differences. These placements are only offered to law students and graduates.

Law & Human Rights project destinations:

Volunteering Overseas at a Human Rights Placement

Human Rights Tanzania

In Argentina, Ghana and South Africa, volunteers work in dedicated Projects Abroad Human Rights Offices. These offices raise much-needed awareness of human rights, provide advocacy and monitor vulnerable areas of society. Staff and volunteers strive to resolve human rights abuses through community outreach, social justice projects, legal aid workshops and research projects. In other countries, such as Mongolia and Tanzania, volunteers are placed in local NGOs focusing on land rights, employment issues and women’s rights.

What Kind of Work will I be Doing?

Human Rights work is split between social justice projects and legal aid work.

Social justice projects may involve activities such as organising and running workshops in shelters for abused women, or teaching basic education at a correctional facility. Volunteers will be responsible for the planning, management and implementation of these projects.

Legal aid work provides volunteers with the opportunity to get involved in complex case work, such as applications for refugee status, or providing victims of abuse with a protection order against their abuser. You will be involved in legal research or legal drafting, and your cases may require you to monitor protests, court rulings, and public events.

Volunteers with a legal background usually participate in the legal aid work to a larger extent. Those with no legal experience may still have the opportunity to contribute to legal aid work, but the type of tasks will be more suited to their level of knowledge.

What Human Rights Issues will I be Exposed to?

Human Rights volunteers working overseas may cover a variety of topics, such as:

Projects Abroad volunteers in Argentina take part in a Memorial Day march

  • Refugee rights
  • Domestic violence
  • Police accountability
  • Discrimination
  • Child protection
  • Housing and Land rights
  • Child trafficking
  • Women’s rights
  • Work with young offenders

Who can Volunteer on a Human Rights Placement?

Formal law experience is not required for most of the Human Rights placements, but volunteers should have excellent communication skills, a strong work-ethic and a desire to work in the field of human rights or international development.

Interning Overseas at a Law Placement

For students interested in a corporate legal placement, there are opportunities with a number of firms in both China and Mongolia. The work at these firms is commercial in nature and interns will gain experience providing legal services to businesses, community organisations and individuals. A law placement will allow interns to gain a first-hand understanding of international commercial law, whilst also benefitting from the valuable perspective and insight that comes with living in a new country. Interns will also have the opportunity to actively build relationships and networks, which can open doors to many valuable experiences in the future.

What Kind of Work will I be Doing?

A law placement offers students the opportunity to experience life in a corporate law firm, alongside experienced professionals. Interns will be given their own cases and will be involved in activities such as conducting interviews, attending court and mediations, drafting legal documents or affidavits, or undertaking legal research.

Interns have many roles and are useful to the firm through their knowledge of western legal systems and culture. The firms are keen to have western interns and as such, will give interns responsibility, ask them for advice and make use of their experience and knowledge.

"I was given a number of research projects and reports to write on various aspects of Chinese IP Law and the differences between UK and Chinese Law. I also corrected documents that the Chinese employees had written in English and looked into a number of potential trademark infringements in China."

Ben S, Oxford

 

What Legal Areas will I be Exposed to?

Law interns working overseas may be involved in a variety of legal areas, such as:

  • Taxation
  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Contract law
  • Intellectual Property law
  • Labour law
  • Family law
  • Real estate

What are the Requirements for a Law Placement?

Human Rights Volunteering Abroad

To take part in law placements in China or Mongolia, interns should be studying law.

In order to take part in the Cambodia placement, interns must have completed at least three years of their law degree.

Why don’t you check with your university to see if you are eligible to receive credit for your internship?

Interns should have excellent written and spoken English, strong communication skills and should be flexible, pro-active and hard-working. Placements are demanding and must be taken seriously as you will be representing a professional organisation.

How will a Law and Human Rights Placement Benefit my Career?

A Law or Human Rights placement will provide you with a valuable experience that can kick-start your career in the professional world.

Interns can expect to gain practical experience with well-established organisations, to grapple with social ills and legislation in a new country and to broaden your understanding of human rights and law on an international level. Law interns will be mentored by skilled legal professionals and in some cases, practising attorneys. You will have the opportunity to meet with professionals from international firms, government agencies and the UN, allowing you to expand your network and pave the way for future opportunities.

A Law or Human Rights placement undoubtedly makes a valuable addition to your CV. In a notoriously competitive environment, an international placement can make you stand out in an interview and can demonstrate your drive, independence and maturity to potential employers.

 

Volunteering on a Law & Human Rights project as a qualified Lawyer or Human Rights officer

There is also scope to volunteer as a professional and put your skills to use. Projects Abroad has a skilled and qualified arm called Projects Abroad PRO. Our main focus is to match your skills with our partner organisation’s needs. Please click here to visit our Projects Abroad PRO website.

Law & Human Rights project destinations:

Destinations

Law & Human Rights project destinations:

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