As the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, the International Court of Justice settles legal disputes and issues advisory opinions in accordance with international law. Located in The Hague, the Court offers a 10-month Judicial Fellows Programme which has hosted 15 Michigan Law graduates over the past 16 years.

Michigan Law 3Ls, LLMs, and recent graduates are eligible to apply for nomination to the Court by the Law School. Selected students assist Members of the Court from September through June with legal research, case file management, and document drafting.

The Law School is grateful to Michigan Law Professor Bruno Simma, formerly of the International Court of Justice, for his invaluable assistance in making this opportunity possible.

International Court of Justice

About the Programme

  • Eligibility

    Applicants must be either current Michigan Law JD or LLM students who will complete their degree requirements in May, or recent Michigan Law JD or LLM graduates. “Recent” graduates is loosely defined and generally assumed to be someone who graduated within the past two years or so. However, to be eligible, candidates should be 31 years of age or younger at the time the program begins. This requirement may be waived in special circumstances.

    The official languages of the Court are English and French, and participants must have excellent reading, writing and oral skills in at least one of them. A working knowledge of the second official language is an asset.

    Applicants must have an excellent overall academic record and demonstrate strong research and writing skills. An excellent academic record in public international law is also expected and enrollment in at least one of the Law School’s introductory public international courses is highly encouraged. Prospective applicants should be cautioned against taking human rights courses in lieu of public international law courses as they are not equivalent for this purpose.

    Applicants are also encouraged to complete a seminar or independent research project, preferably on an international law topic, and receive a grade on it before the application deadline. (If application deadline comes just before grading deadline, the Committee will consult Fall grades before finalizing nominations.)

  • Funding

    The Court does not provide funding to selected Fellows. However,  Michigan Law will provide a generous stipend to its nominee, if he or she is chosen for the Fellows Programme.

    Medical insurance, including the cost of accident or illness, is not covered by the Court. Fellows must have adequate insurance of their own, which may be purchased through the University of Michigan’s Travel Abroad Insurance. Likewise, expenses associated with travel, visas, and housing are the responsibility of each Fellow.

  • Application Process

    Completed applications include the application packet described below plus letters of recommendation. All materials should be submitted by email to Elizabeth Snook at esnook@umich.edu by January 17, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. EST. Late applications will not be accepted. 

    Complete and timely submissions will be reviewed by a Michigan Law School selection committee for nomination to the Court. The Court then undertakes its own selection process to choose 15 Fellows from all applications it receives. The Law School committee typically nominates two applicants with the hope that one will be chosen. The Court normally announces its final selections in April.

    Application packet requirements

    • ICJ Judicial Fellows Programme Application Form
    • ICJ Judicial Fellows Programme Summary Table
    • Description of French proficiency, including background and experience in speaking, writing, and reading
    • Resume
    • Official Law School transcript, including current course enrollment. If you received or are pursuing a LLM degree, you must also submit transcripts from the institution from which you received your first law degree.
    • Writing sample of 15 pages maximum that is of publishable quality or that has been submitted for publication.

    Letters of recommendation

    • Letters should speak to the applicant’s credentials and abilities in the field of international law
    • At least one letter from a Michigan Law professor
    • One or two additional letters (no more than three letters of recommendation total)
    • All letters of recommendation should be sent directly from the recommenders to Elizabeth Snook (esnook@umich.edu) but be addressed to Jean-Pelé Fomété, Deputy-Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Peace Palace, 2517 KJ The Hague, The Netherlands
    • Recommending Michigan Law professors are encouraged to include candid comments for Global Affairs Committee consideration in the body of their email to Elizabeth Snook (esnook@umich.edu)
    • All recommendation letters should be received by January 17, 2022, at 11:59 p.m. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that all materials are submitted by this time.

    ICJ University Trainee Application Personal History (.docx)

    ICJ University Trainee Application Summary Table (.docx)

  • Current and Previous Fellows

    Current Fellow

    Emma Macfarlane, J.D. 2021

    Emma Macfarlane, J.D. 2021

    Emma Macfarlane, J.D. 2021, graduated from McGill University with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and History (2016). Before law school, she taught English to high school students in Bangkok for two years.

    During her second year at Michigan Law, Macfarlane was an extern for UNHR Geneva and represented Mauritania in the 43rd Human Rights Council. She also worked in the International Transactions Clinic. In her third year, she participated in the Geneva externship program with the International Commission of Jurists, the Salzburg Cutler Law Fellows Program, and the State Department’s Diplomacy Lab on space exploration.

    Macfarlane’s research focuses on international humanitarian law and sanctions regimes; her work has been published in five Michigan journals and presented at two conferences. She served as Managing Editor for the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law, Executive Editor for the Michigan Journal of International Law, and Associate Editor for the Michigan Journal of Environmental and Administrative Law. Macfarlane co-chaired the Michigan International Law Moot Court Association, and with her partner won the 2020 Vis International Commercial Arbitration Competition in Chicago. She served as co-president of the Women Law Students Association and the Entrepreneurship and Law Association, and cofounded the Michigan Parity Project. Macfarlane worked as a research assistant for the Michigan Law Library, Dean Michael Barr, and Professors Steve Ratner, Kristina Daugirdas, and Adrienne Harris.

    Before graduating, Macfarlane received the William W. Bishop Jr. Award for performing with distinction in the field of international law. She was also a recipient of the Kouba Prize for International Peace and Security and the Michigan Journal of International Law award for Outstanding Scholarly Contribution. Following the Judicial Fellows Programme, Macfarlane will practice in the international dispute resolution group at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York.

    Previous Fellows

    • 2019-2020: Nadia Alhadi, JD '18
    • 2018-2019: Marcos Kotlik, LLM '18
    • 2017-2018: Erin Collins, JD '17
    • 2016-2017: Chaka Laguerre, JD '14
    • 2015-2016: Rosalind Elphick, LLM '15
    • 2014-2015: Ananda Burra, JD '14
    • 2013-2014: Sarah St. Vincent, JD '11
    • 2012-2013: Ciara Murphy, LLM '12
    • 2011-2012: Uzma Burney, JD '10
    • 2009-2010: Klara Polackova, LLM '09
    • 2008-2009: Ted Kill, JD '07
    • 2007-2008: Noam Wiener, LLM '06
    • 2006-2007: Marko Milanovic, LLM '06
    • 2005-2006: Jason Morgan-Foster, JD '05
    • 2004-2005: Sonia Boutillon, JD '03, and Carsten Hoppe, JD '04