The INHR Geneva Student Legal Advisor Program is an externship opportunity in public international law for selected LLM and JD students, with a possible “Spring Break” visit to Geneva Switzerland for the February/March UN Human Rights Council. Selected students will work with a Michigan law grad and former U.S. diplomat to serve as virtual interns for a member state to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. Students will be paired with a small UN member state that lacks resources to have legal support for their delegation to the UN Human Rights Council. The students will provide legal, policy and administrative support to that government to facilitate its participation in the UN Human Rights Council and possible other UN agencies in Geneva.
During the fall semester, students will be required to join a weekly 90-minute online class with students from other law schools. The live online course will provide an overview of relevant UN and international human rights law and procedures; tradecraft skills in drafting, research and negotiation; and otherwise lay the foundation to prepare students to serve in their virtual internship. In the winter term, students will be expected to review draft resolutions, conduct research and produce interventions for their employer/member state UN delegation to use and deliver during the January Universal Periodic Review and March UN Human Rights Council (HRC) sessions and related meetings. Further details on the INHR Virtual Internship Program expectations, and the type of developing country delegations whom students may work for is available at
Past students have traveled to Geneva for a week-long, self-funded, first-hand glimpse at providing diplomatic and legal work at the UN Human Rights Council. The HRC session each March usually aligns with Michigan Law’s spring break and the HRC Universal Periodic Review session in May often occurs immediately after Michigan Law’s exam period. Travel to Geneva and living expenses are not funded by INHR and travel cannot be guaranteed given past challenges provided by COVID-19, issues regarding receipt of a visa to Switzerland and demands of the employing delegation. Applicants interested in the Spring Break or May visit MUST be eligible for visa-free entry to Switzerland.
How to Apply:
To apply for the two-semester student legal advisor program, please complete this form ( by July 10th, 2023. Your application should include a copy of your transcript, resume, passport cover page, and a cover letter explaining your interest. Students selected for an interview will be contacted during the week of July 24th by Alissa Cammarata ([email protected]) Administrative Assistant for Experiential Education to set up a Zoom interview with INHR program director Eric Richardson for late July or early August. If you have any questions about the application process please contact Alissa ([email protected]).
Those who pass the interview will be notified of their acceptance into the program by August 14, 2023. Delegations will be assigned around the end of October and student interests in particular regions, issues, and language skills are taken into account in pairing with an employer-delegation but cannot be guaranteed.
How Credits Will Be Determined:
Student participants are enrolling in a two-semester class/externship combined experience and are expected to participate for the entire school year. One credit will be given each semester, which will cover class time and preparation/assignments for the class (including practice research projects, sample interventions, negotiations and a final project of up to 10 pages that deploys the student’s negotiation and resolution drafting skills).
Because the amount of work facing students in the second semester may vary depending on the demands of the particular delegation/Ambassador, an additional one or two credits may be authorized in the winter semester. Students seeking additional credit units will be evaluated based on a timesheet logging hours spent on behalf of their delegation to track hours over and above a baseline expectation that all students will provide at least 20 hours of work requested by their delegations in the second semester. Under the ABA standard for externships, if more than 42.5 additional hours are requested and logged (total of 62.5 hours including the baseline 20 hours), the student may receive a third credit and if more than 85 additional hours are logged (total of 105 hours), a fourth credit may be awarded (four credits is the maximum possible). Because the volume of work requested by an Ambassador/delegation depends on a range of factors and is impossible to predict, students should not count on receiving more than the baseline total of two credits for the combined two-semester seminar/virtual externship experience.