IJ Legal Intensive

The Premier One-Day Public Interest Law Program—with a special focus on Qualified Immunity and Other Doctrines That Make Government Accountability Less Likely

Attorney Anya Bidwell at the Los Angeles IJ Legal Intensive

The Institute for Justice is excited to announce that the second IJ Legal Intensive – the premier one-day public interest litigation training program – will be held virtually on October 24th, 2020.  For over 25 years, IJ has hosted an annual law student conference with law students from across the country near our headquarters office in Arlington, Virginia. We are now thrilled to offer an opportunity for students to participate in an immersive, practical day of learning right in their own backyards (or from the comfort of a living room, or wherever else you can bring a computer)!

This program is intended to supplement the legal theory and skills that students learn in the classroom. The experts at IJ will teach students about public interest law and how to take what they’ve learned thus far in law school and turn it into action.

What to Expect

  • IJ attorneys will guide students through informative and interactive sessions on public interest law vs. private practice, litigation strategies, how to develop a case from beginning to end, and more! Students will walk away with behind-the-scenes insight on how to advance a cause all the way up to the U.S. Supreme Court and what steps to take when they see something in the headlines that they want to change through litigation.
  • We will host a panel on Qualified Immunity with experts in the field. Students will be encouraged to ask questions and discuss the issue with knowledgeable practitioners.
  • Students will hear from IJ clients and see the true impact public interest cases have on Americans fighting against government abuse.
  • Students will learn how to advance important ideas and change the law – regardless of their chosen careers.

Event Details

Saturday, October 24, 2020

A link will be sent out the week of the event

Lainey Carlton – Student Training Manager & Recruiter
Email: lcarlton@ij.org


10:00 – 10:30 am Arrival and mingling over zoom  
10:30 – 11:00 am Introduction
We’ll kick off the day with an overview of what you can expect to learn and an introduction of our speakers and participants.
11:00 – 11:30 am Focusing on the Long Run: IJ’s Model and Its Purposeful Design for Answering Big Challenges
Next, hear from IJ attorneys Justin Pearson and Anya Bidwell as they discuss why the IJ model of public-interest litigation is essential for taking on difficult, long-term challenges, like the one involving qualified immunity. This session will also focus on broad distinctions between private practice and public interest work.
11:30 – 11:35 pm Break
11:35 – 12:20 pm Principles and Pillars: IJ’s Overall Mission and Our SCOTUS Strategy for Achieving It
In this session, you’ll learn about two of IJ’s primary areas of litigation and how our public interest strategy has changed the law in important areas. Justin and Anya will cover our economic liberty and the First Amendment work and highlight IJ’s past successes and continuing efforts to vindicate these pillars of a free society in the highest court in the land.
12:20 – 12:40 pm Break
12:40 – 1:25 pm Principles and Pillars: Round Two
Justin and Anya will cover IJ’s other two primary areas of litigation – private property rights and educational choice – continuing to show IJ’s past successes and paths forward to vindicate individual’s rights in these areas.
1:25 – 1:30 pm Break
1:30 – 2:30 pm Advancing a Legal Strategy in the Real World
Now that you know all about public interest law, Justin P., Anya, and Senior Director of Communications, Justin Wilson, will teach you the nuts and bolts of changing the law – from putting together the first case to strategically developing a string of cases to create a circuit split and hopefully convince the Supreme Court to accept review. Learn how to find cases and clients, advance cutting-edge legal doctrines, and how—whether or not you win in court—you can achieve real world results that help everyday Americans enjoy more freedoms.
2:30 – 2:50 pm Break
2:50 – 3:20 pm History of Qualified Immunity and Accountability
Learn about IJ’s latest initiative: Project on Immunity and Accountability. Anya will tell you all about this country’s deep history and tradition of holding government officials accountable for violations of constitutional rights, how this tradition has been undermined in the past 40 years, and what IJ is doing to fix this.
3:20 – 3:45 pm Break
3:45 – 4:30 pm Deep Dive into Qualified Immunity
See how real-world practitioners put the steps you learned earlier into action. Join IJ’s Anya Bidwell, ACLU-DC’s Legal Co-Director, Scott Michelman, and UCLA Law Professor Joanna Schwartz as they discuss litigating and studying the doctrine of qualified immunity. Scott will discuss his recent case, which was before the US Supreme Court at the petition stage. Joanna will focus on her prolific work analyzing the doctrine and testing its policy justifications.
4:30 – 5:30 pm Thinking Like an IJ Lawyer: Your Turn.
Come attend a simulation of our bi-weekly litigation meetings, where we discuss IJ’s potential cases. But first, make sure to read the memo we will send you ahead of time. Expect to engage on every aspect of this potential qualified immunity case, from figuring out whether the case is worth taking in the first place, to discussing legal and communications strategies.
5:30 – 5:35 pm Break
5:35 – 6:15  pm Meet the Clients!
To close out the day, hear directly from IJ clients, including James King (Brownback v. King). They will tell their stories and answer your questions about being part of a public interest case.

Find out more about IJ’s other student opportunities.

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