TRAINING Legal Training

 
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Blackstone Legal Fellowship is not a culmination . . . it is a beginning

Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a leadership training program that brings together exceptional Christian law students and prepares them for careers marked by integrity, excellence, and leadership. Since 2000, Alliance Defending Freedom has trained more than 2,200 law students from more than 225 law schools in 21 different countries.

The Fellowship
begins with a nine-week summer (June–August) leadership training program, which includes three weeks of seminars on topics such as legal philosophy, constitutional law, practicing with integrity and excellence within the legal profession, and career development and cultural engagement. Interns also spend six weeks engaged in legal internships across the world, working with nonprofits, governmental entities, and boutique law firms, among others.

The nine-week program represents a beginning, not a culmination, as Interns emerge with a professional network, enduring friendships, and a foundation of knowledge that will serve them throughout their careers.  Those selected to become “Fellows” at the end of the summer also receive ongoing training, resources, and support through an international community.


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Have Questions?

For answers to common questions about Blackstone Legal Fellowship, view the FAQ.


The program is named for Sir William Blackstone (1723-1780), a contemporary of the framers of the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence. An English judge who went on to become the first Vinerian professor of law at Oxford University, Blackstone is best known for his Commentaries on the Laws of England.

The Commentaries were the original foundation for legal education in America and a work that would dominate the common law legal system for centuries. Indeed, they had a pervasive and profound impact on the United States Constitution and whose concept of absolute rights formed the basic premise of our Declaration of Independence.

In the Commentaries, Blackstone explained that the basis upon which English Common Law resides is a higher law, the law written by God and found in His scriptures and the created order. Blackstone says, “when the Supreme Being formed the universe, and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter, from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be.” Because of this, William Blackstone argues, “the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain . . . these absolute [i.e. God-given] rights of individuals.” Accordingly, man lacks authority to write a law that contradicts God’s law. Blackstone called this concept “ultra vires,” which means it is beyond the authority of man to write a law that violates God’s law. Blackstone also said that law is fixed, it is uniform, and it is universal. It does not change based on who the President is, or who holds judicial positions. It is the same law for everyone at all times and in all places.

Blackstone’s influence on American law can hardly be overstated. His writings trained nearly every American lawyer until the mid-19th century. Unfortunately, his influence and the Christian worldview have since been virtually eradicated from American law schools. For this reason, Alliance Defending Freedom named its prestigious law student program the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, representing a new generation of lawyers, men and women of Christian conviction, passion, and intelligence, being equipped to serve as leaders within the legal culture, proposed by Blackstone’s vision of the law to foster legal systems that fully protect our God-given rights.
The Blackstone Legal Fellowship seeks accomplished law students who are committed to their faith and are dedicated to impacting the law-profession culture. To learn more and apply, visit www.BlackstoneLegalFellowship.org.
Criteria for selection include: strong academic performance; leadership skills, both exhibited and potential; maturity of faith and character; and commitment to legal and cultural engagement.
The 2019 class included 160 Interns. We anticipate the 2020 class will be a similar size. To learn more and apply, visit www.BlackstoneLegalFellowship.org.
The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a ministry of Alliance Defending Freedom.

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Help fund the largest Blackstone class yet!


This year, we’re hoping to fund the largest Blackstone class yet with over 160 students. But this important program relies heavily on the financial support you provide.

It costs around $25,000 to fund one student. And there is no financial burden on the students who are chosen to attend.

Thankfully, generous ADF Ministry Friends have donated a $200,000 grant to match your gift to support the Blackstone Legal Fellowship dollar for dollar. That means your gift today will be doubled—a $10 gift will become $20, a $100 gift will become $200, and a $1,000 gift will become $2,000. But the match won’t last forever. Please take advantage of this rare opportunity to double your gift right now.
Beyond the Summer

True to its name, Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a Fellowship. Throughout the nine-week program, and extending well beyond its conclusion, Interns participate in a thoughtful community of highly-accomplished Christian law students, developing relationships that will endure for years to come. Fellows—those Interns selected to join the Fellowship at the end of the summer program—also benefit from the alumni network. Through events, additional training, and a variety of networking opportunities, Fellows strengthen relationships with members of their class and also form new connections that will be personally and professionally enriching. Through the summer program, and all that follows, Blackstone Fellows are equipped to effectively engage the legal culture and accelerate their careers in whatever area of law God is calling them.

Selection to Blackstone Legal Fellowship

Blackstone Legal Fellowship is much more than a summer internship program. It is, in short, a long-term investment in its participants. Accordingly, Blackstone Interns are selected through a rigorous and highly competitive application process specifically designed to build a diverse class with strong leadership potential in all areas of private practice and public service. The selection committee seeks students with outstanding intellectual distinction and Christian commitment who will form a far-reaching network of legal professionals with the character, competence, and credentials to create lasting change in our legal culture.

For all these reasons, Blackstone Legal Fellowship is not a culmination . . . it is a beginning.
The Program
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Phase I:

Interns gather for two weeks of lectures, seminars, and interactive discussions designed to confront conventional wisdom in legal education and present a principled, analytical framework for understanding natural law principles, constitutional interpretation and jurisprudence, and the history of Western civilization. The curriculum also incorporates daily worship and a devotional series focusing on personal and ethical challenges related to the legal practice.

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Phase II:

Interns complete a six-week legal internship to advance their career objectives. Interns obtain positions at a wide variety of organizations, including nonprofits, NGOs, governmental entities, and boutique law firms. 

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Phase III:

Interns participate in a final week of training focused on career development and cultural engagement. The curriculum is designed to provide practical career advice and help Interns develop a deeper vision of their professional calling. Interns return to law school equipped with deeper knowledge, stronger convictions, and access to a vast professional network that will continue to grow throughout their careers. 

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