ABOUT THE OPBP INTERNSHIP PROGRAMME

Launched in the 2010-11 academic year, the Internship Programme – underpinned by our three internship schemes – is an integral part of OPBP’s work. Its purpose is to assist Oxford graduate students to undertake unpaid or poorly paid internships at public interest organisations. Through the Internship Programme, OPBP:

  • encourages student interest and involvement in pro bono and public interest law;
  • enables students to gain practical experience in these areas where, without financial assistance, they would be unable to do so;
  • puts world-class legal skills at the disposal of organisations working pro bono in the public interest; and
  • strengthens OPBP’s relationships with its partners.

Over the past few years, we have awarded over £11,000 in grants from the Internship Fund and have assisted more than 20 students to undertake internships in eight different countries. OPBP’s internship partners have included organisations such as Human Rights Watch in the U.S., the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Sri Lanka, StepChange Debt Charity in the U.K., the Legal Resources Centre in South Africa, and the International Labour Organisation in Switzerland.

Since 2013, the Internship Programme has also been able to offer two dedicated internship opportunities through the Southern African Judicial Assistance Project with the Supreme Courts of Namibia and Botswana, and more recently, the Samuel Pisar Traveling Fellowship to undertake human rights work in a developing country.

Click on the links to read more about the experiences of our 20122013 and2014 interns, or scroll down for more information about applying to the Internship Fund and hosting an OPBP intern.

APPLYING TO THE OPBP INTERNSHIP FUND: FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why apply to the Fund?

Internships are a great way to gain experience in pro bono and public interest law; explore existing or new areas of interest; take up personal and professional challenges; and lend a hand to an organisation whose work you’re interested in. Whether you’re already passionate about pro bono and public interest law, are curious about options outside the commercial sphere, or are simply keen to spend your summer doing something worthwhile, the Internship Fund can help provide the financial support you need to make your internship possible.

Who can apply?

You are eligible to apply to the Internship Fund if you are currently enrolled in a graduate law degree at the University of Oxford. If you’re a non-law graduate student you may also be eligible – contact us at opbp.law.ox.ac.uk to find out more.

More specific criteria for selecting grant recipients are set out below under our three internship schemes.

Our three internship schemes

1. OPBP Internship Fund

The fund’s purpose is to assist Oxford graduate students to undertake unpaid or poorly paid internships at public interest organisations. We offer funding to support students intern at any public interest organisation, but preference will be given to those applying to intern with one of our four permanent partner organisations (there is no need to contact these partner organisation directly):

  • Legal Resources Centre (South Africa)
  • Women’s Legal Centre (South Africa)
  • Women’s Link Worldwide (Spain and Colombia)
  • REDRESS (UK)

Criteria

  • relevance and value of internship to OPBP’s current work and possible future collaborations;
  • suitability of the applicant to the internship to be undertaken, with regard to background and experience;
  • benefit to the applicant’s professional development and a possible future career in public interest law by undertaking the internship;
  • ability of the applicant to demonstrate commitment to public interest legal work, including past participation in OPBP projects and/or the OPBP Executive Committee; and
  • genuine financial need.

How to apply: Complete the attached OPBP internship fund application form (no CV required) and send it, along with the required supporting documents, to opbp@law.ox.ac.uk by midnight on Sunday 24 April 2016 using the subject line ‘OPBP internship fund application’. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Oxford by a selection of the OPBP Executive Committee.

2. Southern African Judicial Assistance Project (SAJAP)

The SAJAP exists to send accomplished, dedicated, and legal public servants to clerk at the Supreme Courts of Namibia and Botswana. The clerks assist these under-resourced courts with their daily proceedings and other clerking responsibilities.

Criteria

  • suitability of the applicant to the internship to be undertaken, with regard to background and experience;
  • benefit to the applicant’s professional development and a possible future career in public interest law by undertaking the internship;
  • ability of the applicant to demonstrate commitment to public interest legal work, including past participation in OPBP projects and/or the OPBP Executive Committee; and
  • genuine financial need.

How to apply: Apply by sending your CV with a cover letter explaining your interest in clerking at the Southern African courts to opbp@law.ox.ac.uk by midnight on Sunday 24 April 2016 using the subject line ‘SAJAP application’. Please highlight your volunteering experience and involvement with OPBP projects. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Oxford by a selection of the OPBP Executive Committee.

3. Samuel Pisar Traveling Fellowship

A human rights fellowship up to the value of £2800 in Samuel Pisar’s honour is funded by a generous donation from Peter Baldwin and Lisbet Rausing. The Samuel Pisar Travelling Fellowship in Human Rights will provide support each year for an Oxford graduate student to undertake human rights related work in a developing country.

Criteria

Applicants will need to suggest their own project placement and demonstrate that the suggested project will meaningfully impact on (i) their studies, (ii) an organisation or organisations they would work with in a developing country, and (iii) the Law Faculty. The project should be undertaken in a developing country in the summer vacation (three months project duration). In exceptional cases, the project might not be undertaken in a developing country, if it would make a significant contribution to a developing country’s human rights needs.

How to apply: Apply by sending your CV with a cover letter describing your proposed project to opbp@law.ox.ac.uk by midnight on Sunday 24 April 2016 using the subject line ‘Samuel Pisar Travelling Fellowship application’. Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Oxford by a selection of the OPBP Executive Committee.

When and how do you apply?

Applications to the Internship Fund for 2016 are now open!

Applicants must complete an application form and return it via email to opbp@law.ox.ac.uk by the relevant closing date. The selection criteria are set out above under ‘Who can apply’ and ‘Our three internship schemes’.

If you are studying for a research degree, you must have the consent of your supervisor before applying.

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in Oxford by a selection of past and present members of our Executive Committee.

We may call for a second round of applications to the Internship Fund in late Trinity Term.

What comes next?

The experiences of our past interns strongly suggest that, once your internship is locked in, it pays to sort out your travel and visa arrangements well in advance. Please contact our Internship Co-ordinators to find out more.

HOSTING AN OPBP INTERN

Hosting an intern is a win-win situation: as well as providing a capable and highly motivated graduate student with invaluable experience, host organisations benefit from interns’ existing skills and knowledge and from their willingness to learn. If your organisation might be interested in hosting an intern, we would love to hear from you at opbp@law.ox.ac.uk.