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 three years or so.

    The Court’s official languages are English and French. All applicants must have a good working knowledge of French to be competitive. Additional foreign language skills are considered a plus.

    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.

  • 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

    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:

    • Letter of application to the International Court of Justice that highlights the applicant's relevant background and reasons for pursuing the traineeship. Please address the letter to: Jean-Pelé Fomété, Deputy-Registrar of the International Court of Justice, Peace Palace, 2517 KJ The Hague, The Netherlands.
    • ICJ Judicial Fellows Programme Application Form
    • Description of French proficiency, including background and experience in speaking, writing, and reading
    • Resume
    • Official Law School transcript, including current course enrollment
    • Writing sample of 15 pages maximum that is of publishable quality or that has been submitted for publication.

    Letters of recommendation:

    • At least one letter from a Michigan Law professor
    • At least one additional letter
    • Letters should speak to the applicant’s credentials and abilities in the field of international law
    • Letters should be sent directly from the recommenders to Elizabeth Snook at 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

    Download ICJ University Trainee Application (pdf)

  • 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