Rutherford Summer Internship Program

The Rutherford Institute Summer Internship Program offers law students and undergraduates the unique opportunity to learn practical legal skills, while developing a critical understanding of constitutional law. The Summer Internship Program, open to qualified law students interested in receiving a grounding in critical areas of law impacting civil liberties and religious freedom, has attracted top students from law schools across the country and abroad. The program’s intensive lectures and course work are coupled with practical assignments related to the ongoing work of The Rutherford Institute.

Many students have made contacts through the intern program that proved to be beneficial in developing career opportunities. Former interns now serve in nationally recognized law firms, as clerks for federal and state judges and in leadership roles with various civil liberties groups, including The Rutherford Institute. But perhaps more importantly, Summer Interns at The Rutherford Institute learn that we all have a duty to rise above our self-interests and work to help fight human rights abuses.

An internship at The Rutherford Institute offers:


"Thank you for an excellent summer!  The issues presented in this internship are where the rubber hits the pavement - where opinions of principle are formed, and a stance taken, with regards to the rights of individuals. The world could only be bettered if all would follow Rutherford's motto to 'Speak the Truth to power,' in the same constructive way in which the Rutherford Institute does so."—Jared Clark

"I am grateful that I was provided with the opportunity to develop my ideas and to contribute to The Rutherford Institute's causes. Most of all, I am grateful for having worked with so many individuals of great quality and character."—Joseph M. Kasl

"This summer was a dream come true for me. I loved every assignment and every hour at The Rutherford Institute. I sincerely believe this program is unmatchable. My eyes were opened to a new way of thinking. I've learned to see the big picture, to recognize injustices and to not assume before exploring something on my own. I really cannot say thank you enough. You have helped shape me into a more compassionate, persuasive and educated person."—Andrea Worden

“I really enjoyed my experience, and it was very rewarding-my horizons were definitely broadened, and I learned to look at a lot of issues in a different light. I have tremendous respect for the battle you all fight there! Also, it is clear to me how much you all care about the people who work there, even just for the summer. That really adds to the experience. I'll never forget my summer at TRI."—Matthew Foote

“I am ever grateful for the experience I had at The Rutherford Institute this summer. I cannot tell you how my life has changed and taken a new meaning. The work I completed and cases I read have really increased my awareness of my surroundings and have given me a passion to help others.”—Warren Campbell

"From start to finish, my experience at The Rutherford Institute has been nothing short of fantastic. There is nothing so satisfying as succeeding against those who would restrict our civil liberties."—Jason Rogers, Washington and Lee School of Law

"I was an intern for the Rutherford Institute in the summer of 2003.  I have often thought about The Rutherford Institute since.  I often think that it really is possible to argue that so many things I have done in my life, and therefore the things people call "successes," had their roots in my Rutherford Institute experience, and that remains true on a going-forward basis as well. It seems as though I ought to start with a little "giving back." —Jennifer Spreng 

"Thank you again for the internship opportunity that you provided me at TRI.  I learned more that summer than any other summer of my life.  The internship program that you put together was excellent.  It challenged me and impacted the way I view myself, others, our country, and Christianity.  I am a better person because of this experience.  Keep up the good fight for freedom, liberty, and justice."—David Scott, Intern Class of 2005

Practical Legal Experience

Interns research and write legal memoranda and briefs for attorneys affiliated with the Institute in cases in state and federal courts throughout the country, including the United States Supreme Court.

Intensive Instruction in Law, Philosophy & Culture Affecting Human Rights & Religious Freedom

Interns analyze and discuss a broad range of constitutional and cultural issues under the instruction of attorneys who have practical and theoretical knowledge of their fields.

Direct Client Contact

Interns receive and respond to calls and letters for legal assistance from potential clients. Under the supervision of qualified personnel, interns gain hands-on experience in the art of integrating theoretical knowledge into real cases.

Opportunities for Cultural Enrichment

Charlottesville, nestled at the foot of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains, is home to the University of Virginia, which was founded by Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's home, Monticello, is just outside the city limits, as is Ash Lawn, the home of James Monroe. Montpelier, the home of James Madison, is a 20-minute drive from Charlottesville. The colonial city of Williamsburg, Virginia, and the nation's capital are also nearby.

Work Study, Independent Research and Externships

Work Study, Independent Research and Externship Programs provide law students with the opportunity to gain procedural and substantive knowledge through legal research and writing. Most of the assignments are for cases in litigation, providing a unique opportunity to improve legal skills while researching cutting-edge law.

The Rutherford Institute uniquely provides a way for law students to expand their legal education, increase their research skills and gain practical experience while attending law school through participation in these programs.

To Apply

First, second and third year law students are encouraged to apply. Undergraduate students are also welcome to apply. Please send a resume and writing samples to: