Program Description

Program Information

The American Bar Association Section of Litigation will begin accepting applications for its summer 2019 Judicial Intern Opportunity Program on November 5 for second-year law students. Applications for first-year law students will be accepted December 1st, in accordance with NALP guidelines. The program is a full-time (32 hours per week), six-week minimum, summer internship program open to all first-or second-year diverse law students.

The mission of the Judicial Intern Opportunity Program is to provide opportunities to students who are members of racial and ethnic groups that are traditionally underrepresented in the profession.  The program also provides opportunities to students with disabilities, women, students who are economically disadvantaged and students who identify themselves as LGBT.

Internships are available in several locations in California, Illinois and Texas.  In addition, we offer internships in the following cities: Phoenix, AZ; Washington, DC; Miami, FL; New York, NY; Philadelphia, PA (including Camden, NJ); and Seattle, WA.

Students may indicate geographic location preferences on their applications but may not request judges or courts. Interns will receive an award of $2,000.

Internships for students with an Intellectual Property Law focus will be offered in Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Texas and Washington, DC. Students can indicate their interest on their application. These specialized spots are limited and any student applying to the program with a request for specialization will also be considered for general litigation internships.

Application Information

Students who apply to JIOP will be automatically enrolled in the ABA and the Section of Litigation as part of the application process. ABA and Section of Litigation membership is free to all law students and we encourage students to take advantage of ABA, Section of Litigation and other ABA Sections for helpful information as they continue the process. Students may opt out of membership, but any student selected to the internship program must be members of the ABA and Section of Litigation to qualify for the placement and take advantage of the program award. Additionally, students are encouraged to join our sponsoring sections and become members of the Section of Antitrust and Intellectual Property Section to take full advantage of their ABA membership.   

Applications must be submitted by the January 11, 2019 deadline. Screening interviews will be used to better determine student qualifications. Screening interviews will begin in December and will continue through the application process. The first 500 applicants will be guaranteed at least one interview. Additional applicants will be interviewed on an as needed basis. Students will be contacted by their assigned screener to set up the interview.

Only qualified students will be sent on for judicial interviews. Students will be notified when they are sent on for a judicial interview. Judicial interviews will continue until all positions are filled.  All applicants will be notified when the program or certain locations have closed for the year and all positions are filled.

The program is only open to students who have not previously participated as an intern in the program.

Participating Judges

Participating judges will determine their process for interviews and selection.  Students will be forwarded to judges based on qualifications and the result of their screening interviews.  Not all students will be granted a judicial interview.  Students will be sent to judges in the locations they indicate on their application.  Students may select location but not individual courts.  Certain locations are more competitive than others.

Application Process

First Round Interviews

  • First round interviews will be conducted to determine student eligibility.
  • The interviewer (or assistant) will contact the student to set up an interview time and place.
  • Students will be contacted once their application has been processed and a screener has been selected.
  • The interview will last approximately 30 minutes and is intended to give the student the opportunity to discuss program qualifications, skills, experience and interest in being an intern.
  • Only students applying to the program by the stated deadline will be granted a screening interview.
  • First round interviews are guaranteed to the first 500 applicants.  Additional applicants will be interviewed on an as-needed basis.    

Judges’ Interviews

  • Candidates will be sent to judges based on qualifications and the results of their screening interview.  The most qualified applicants will be sent out for review first.   
  • Certain locations are more competitive than others.  Students will be sent on for judicial interviews to locations they selected on their application however not all students will be sent to all locations selected because of the competitiveness of locations.
  • Individual judges will determine which students they will interview and ultimately hire.  If a student has been selected for a judicial interview they will be notified either by the chamber or the program staff.
  • Student materials will be sent to multiple judges.  Once a student is notified that they are being sent out for judicial review, we will continue to send out their materials to interested judges until all positions are filled in the locations they have selected.
  • Most judicial interviews will be conducted in person in the judges’ chambers in the city selected for the internship.  They usually last approximately 30 minutes.  If personal interviews are not possible, they may be conducted by telephone.  Please remember that there is no reimbursement for any travel expenses.
  • A small number of judges elect not to conduct interviews and will make offers based on the application and results of the screening interview. 
  • Judicial interviews will continue until all judges have filled their positions. 
  • Some judges may offer positions during the interview.  If a student is offered a position, they must either accept or decline within 24 hours.  If a student has individual constraints on their summer availability they should let the judge know prior to scheduling an interview.  Judges will determine the length of the internship and many judges expect students to stay longer than the six-week minimum.
  • If a student declines a position, they will be removed from consideration for other positions unless there are extenuating circumstances.
  • Students may not accept more than one program position.

Final Selection of Interns

  • Judges are expected to conclude their selection process by Friday, April 26.
  • At that time all applicants will be notified as to whether they have been accepted into the program.  If a student is accepted into the program, it is assumed that they are committed to participate and fulfill the requirements outlined by the program and hiring judge.

Program Orientations

Welcome receptions and program orientations will be held in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Miami, New York, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Seattle and Washington, DC in June. Students are expected to attend the program orientation. In addition, supplemental programming will be made available to students. Students are strongly encouraged to attend these programs.

Follow-up Procedures

Upon completion of the internship, students will be asked to complete a program evaluation form.  Interested students may join a JIOP alumni group to work on future program development.

Contact Information

Questions about the program can be directed to the Program Director, Gail Howard, at or 312-988-6348.