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Blackstone Legal Fellowship

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

Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a leadership training programme that brings together exceptional Christian law students and prepares them for careers marked by integrity and excellence. It is based in the US and run by our global partner Alliance Defending Freedom. Since 2000, Alliance Defending Freedom has trained nearly 2,000 law students from over 225 law schools in 21 different countries. If you’re an Areté graduate and law student, you might be eligible to participate in additional training at Blackstone Legal Fellowship. The Fellowship begins with a nine-week summer leadership training programme (June – August). This includes three weeks of seminars on topics such as legal philosophy, practising law with integrity and excellence, career development, and cultural engagement. Interns also spend six weeks in legal internships across the world, when they work with non-profits, governmental entities, or boutique law firms, among others. The nine-week programme is a beginning, not a culmination. Interns emerge with a professional network, enduring friendships, and 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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Phase I

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

Phase II

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

Phase III

The final week of training is focused on career development and cultural engagement. The curriculum is designed to give practical career advice and help interns develop a larger 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.


Beyond the Summer

True to its name, Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a Fellowship. Throughout the 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.


"Because of Blackstone, I know I am not alone and I have the necessary resources and support to help revitalize the legal system through the defense of religious freedom."
Blackstone Fellow
" Blackstone has given me the tools to promote religious freedom and a just society by utilizing fundamental and rational theories."
Blackstone Fellow
"The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a truly unique program among those for law students, and I am convinced that it is the crrown jewle of these programmes."
"I am not alone. That was my biggest takeaway from Blackstone. Becoming part of a talented and supportive Christian legal community has changed the way I view the legal profession."


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

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 2020 class included 156 Interns. We anticipate the 2021 class will be a similar size. To learn more and apply, visit

The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a ministry of Alliance Defending Freedom.