The United Nations Externship provides students with an opportunity to learn more about the law and practice of the UN and the processes of making and implementing institutional law at the world organization. Approximately fifteen students will be selected from among those who apply and will be placed in offices in the UN or related thereto dealing with legal matters.
The course consists of two parts: fieldwork (2 clinical credits) and a weekly seminar (2 academic credits). While the fieldwork credits are pass/fail, students will be graded for the academic credits on the basis of a required term paper and class participation
A two-hour weekly seminar at CLS will be held on the law and practice of the United Nations. This seminar provides a focused approach, beyond what is provided in the basic public international law course, on fully comprehending the mix of law and policy that United Nations law encapsulates. It is designed to challenge the student to bring to bear not only his or her legal analytical skills but also to appreciate the reality of the practice within which the law operates. The seminar will focus on the development of UN law through interpretations of the UN Charter and other instruments in practice. Students will examine primary materials focused on the normative context within which the UN functions, developing an understanding of the interaction between law and practice.
It is a requirement that applicants must have had a basic course in public international law.
The coursebook, often supplemented with additional relevant material, will be The Law and Practice of the United Nations by Simon Chesterman, Thomas M. Franck and David M. Malone (Oxford Univ. Press, 2008).
During the course, students are expected to bring to the Seminar relevant experience gained from their fieldwork. In addition, the instructors will meet with students or groups of students to review their fieldwork experience and to discuss what has been learned through that experience.
Students will be placed according to the needs and decisions of the various offices concerned. It should be borne in mind that there are no guaranteed places in any given office for CLS students. Student preferences will be taken into account to the extent possible, but it must be understood that students may be placed in offices other than those preferred by the student. Work assignments vary, but typically include doing research into past practice, analysis of documents, preparing summaries of reports or discussions of legal matters. Work may be undertaken analyzing the practice of UN organs acting under specific provisions of the Charter, the "legislative history" of UN resolutions, treaties or other instruments. Each student is expected to work at their host office a minimum of 10 hours per week (usually the office concerned will expect a student to work two days a week) for the 14 weeks of the semester.
Extern selections will be made on the basis of the qualifications of the candidates and the needs of the interested UN or UN-related offices. The externship is available to upper level J.D., LL.M and SJD candidates who have had a basic course in international law. Interested students should submit the following materials by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, October 29th via email to Professor Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- a one-page resume;
- a cover letter indicating your interest and background re UN/international law and how the externship fits into your academic and professional goals.
Successful candidates will be notified individually of their selection; placement will be announced thereafter.
Professor Larry D. Johnson, former UN Assistant Secretary-General for Legal Affairs
Professor Bruce D. Rashkow, former senior official with the US State Department, UN Legal Office and US Mission to the UN