The International Legal Foundation Announces Volunteer Lawyer Opportunity – The West Bank

The International Legal Foundation (ILF) seeks an experienced lawyer to help build a proactive approach to criminal defense representation for indigent clients in Palestinian civilian court system. Volunteer lawyers serve in the ILF’s public defender office in theWest Bank for three months and are paid a stipend but receive no salary.

The ILF is a not-for-profit organization created for the purpose of establishing public defender systems in post-conflict countries and countries in transition. The ILF operates on the belief that indigent representation is crucial to a functioning criminal justice system. Without defense lawyers ensure that judges, prosecutors and police officers follow the law, reform and reconstruction of the justice system is impossible. By fighting against arbitrary detention, public defenders are often the first line of protection against human rights violations. For the past ten years, the ILF has focused solely on providing criminal defense services to the poor, first in Rwanda, later in Afghanistan and Nepal, and now in theWest Bank.

TheWest Bank is currently undergoing a transition, presenting the region with a tremendous opportunity to strengthening the rule of law through the development of a strong, proactive criminal defense culture and practice.

The ILF seeks experienced volunteer lawyers to help bring about change in theWest Bank’s justice system. These volunteers, known as Kathryn Wadia Fellows, mentor local criminal defense lawyers in the ILF’s public defender office, who represent indigent clients in Palestinian civilian court system. Fellows oversee criminal cases in their entirety, mentoring Palestinian staff lawyers as they visit clients in jail, conduct investigations, write motions and make court appearances. Fellows, as representatives of the ILF, also participate in meetings with government officials, other NGOs and donor countries involved in rule of law projects in theWest Bank.

Fellows are based in Ramallah, where the ILF has an office and residence. Travel, lodging, traveler’s insurance and a small living stipend are paid by the ILF; however, the organization cannot be responsible for any other expenses incurred during the assignment (e.g. health insurance). TheWest Bank is a transitional territory, and before applying for this fellowship applicants should be aware of the potential risks involved in living there.


All applicants must have at least 5 years experience practicing criminal law, either as a defense lawyer, prosecutor or judge. Applicants should be sensitive to cultural differences and must be willing to work on Sundays.


To apply, please send a cover letter and resume via email with the subject line “Fellow- West Bank”. Please describe your experience, including any experience traveling or working abroad, and your preferred dates of travel. Only one position is available.