The Southern Center's Human Rights Internships provide undergraduate, graduate and law students with hands-on training in all areas of capital and civil rights litigation and advocacy.
Each year students from schools across the country and abroad spend a semester or summer at the Southern Center completing a variety of assignments under the supervision of experienced staff.
Interns assist staff attorneys in all aspects of our work. Depending on what needs to be done in our cases at a given time, interns should expect to do several of the following tasks while they are at SCHR:
  • conduct legal research and draft pleadings
  • write motions and briefs
  • locate and interview witnesses
  • visit and interview clients
  • monitor court proceedings for human rights violations
  • represent inmates before the Alabama parole board
  • participate in case strategy sessions
  • locate, obtain, and organize documents
  • gather statistical data
  • read and digest transcripts
  • assist in conducting inspections of jails and prisons
  • conduct social science and other research
  • assist in location and preparing expert witnesses
  • research public policy issues and prepare policy reports
  • respond to requests for information from the public or people in prison
  • attend depositions, press conferences, court hearings, and arguments
We give our interns a great deal of responsibility and they have been instrumental in many of our successes. For example, law students researched and helped draft portions of a brief to the United States Supreme Court in Snyder v. Louisiana, which was later argued by SCHR President and Senior Counsel Stephen Bright. Interns' assistance in investigating prison conditions have led to court orders and settlements that have greatly improved the lives of thousands of incarcerated men and women in Georgia and Alabama. 
We expect our interns to be committed, work hard, have fun, and learn a great deal. As many of SCHR's clients are in prisons outside of the metropolitan Atlanta area, our interns are often asked to travel with attorneys, investigators, and other interns throughout Georgia and Alabama. During the summer, the Center provides interns with a multiple-day orientation and training program. Interns gain substantive background knowledge on SCHR’s work, including the legal and procedural aspects of the death penalty appellate process and the legal grounds for prisoners’ rights cases. Additional training sessions include brown-bag lunchtime talks, film screenings, and joint activities with other organizations throughout the summer. SCHR's small staff size ensures that interns receive regular supervision and support. Upon completion of their assignments interns review their findings with the attorneys and develop follow up action plans.
Students enrolled in semester-long programs may receive academic credit from their schools, while those in our summer-long program often receive work-study or other financial support from their schools. Although SCHR pays for business-related travel expenses, we are generally unable to provide financial assistance to our interns.



The Elisabeth Ruyter Fellowship will be awarded to one undergraduate student who will participate in SCHR’s Summer 2020 Human Rights Internship Program, described above.  The successful applicant will receive a $5,000 stipend to cover their summer living expenses and travel to and from Atlanta.

Fellowship qualification requirements* include:

  • Rising junior or senior undergraduate student
  • Currently receiving need-based financial aid**
  • Demonstrated leadership experience and interest in social justice through coursework and/or extracurricular activities
  • Interested in pursuing a legal career serving marginalized communities targeted by the criminal justice system
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Willingness to travel extensively by car in Georgia, Alabama, and elsewhere (a driver’s license is required; however, car ownership is not required as SCHR provides vehicles)
  • Willingness to work long hours, including some weekends, when needed

*As we only accept one undergraduate student each summer, applicants who are ineligible for the Fellowship are welcome to apply to intern during the Spring and Fall semesters.

**The Fellowship recipient will need to provide proof of receipt of one of the following need-based federal student aid programs:

  • Federal Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Education Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Direct Subsidized Loan
  • Federal Perkins Loan
  • Federal Work-Study


We will begin accepting applications on September 3, 2019. We make hiring decisions on a rolling basis, so we encourage you to apply as early as possible.

To Apply

Please combine the following application materials into one PDF and submit by e-mail to Katherine Moss at [email protected]:

  • Resume;
  • Writing sample that is no more than ten pages;
  • A list of three references with contact information; and
  • A 1-page cover letter of interest explaining why you are a strong candidate for the Elisabeth Ruyter Fellowship.