The Jim Rubin International Fellowship Program

About Jim Rubin

Jim Rubin was a stalwart environmental advocate and highly respected environmental attorney who left an enduring mark on the field of international environmental law both as a private practitioner and a public servant.

During his 15 years of service at the U.S. Department of Justice, he worked tirelessly to integrate newly developing norms in environmental law, public international law, and international trade and investment. Jim played a major role in bringing attention to the potential influence of international investment agreements on environmental law, working to ensure that free trade and environmental protection be mutually supportive, and served as the Department’s representative on the White House Climate Change Task Force and the Kyoto Protocol negotiating team. Later, as a partner at Dorsey & Whitney, he worked on climate change policy, air pollution and other environmental issues.

Throughout his career, Jim was an active member of the Environmental Law Institute, lending his expertise to ELI seminars and master classes and sharing his knowledge and experiences with a younger generation of environmental professionals. You can read more about Jim Rubin’s impact here.

Building on Jim’s legacy with the generous support of Jim’s wife, Nancie, ELI launched the Jim Rubin International Fellowship program to support rising environmental lawyers who are committed to building the next generation of environmental protection law and policy. Under the Fellowship, selected environmental lawyers from developing countries work with ELI staff and other fellows on cutting-edge issues and transferable approaches in environmental law and policy.

Successful fellows will embody Jim’s focus, both on the substantive elements of environmental law, and on dispute resolution, capacity building and citizen participation.

The Environmental Law Institute announced the creation of Jim Rubin International Fellowship in Fall 2019, thanks to the generous support of Jim’s family and the encouragement of Ignacia S. Moreno.



About the Fellowship Program

The Jim Rubin International Fellowship Program empowers rising environmental lawyers to tackle complex environmental problems. It reduces financial barriers, provides mentorship and fosters leadership and creativity so fellows can conduct research and engage and inform the public and policy-makers. The fellowship is based in Washington, D.C.

Up to two fellowships per year are available. Each will be for up to three months and will consist of:

  • Mentorship from Environmental Law Institute senior staff;
  • High-level networking opportunities; and
  • A desk at ELI’s office in Washington, D.C.

Fellows are eligible for a one-time stipend (up to $7,500).

"Being a Jim Rubin International Fellow at ELI is not only about the knowledge you gain but about the people you meet, and the working and academic relationships you build, but most of all it is about the opportunity to work hand in hand with a talented and humane team that is there to support and teach you every step of the way.

The opportunity that the Environmental Law Institute gave me as the first fellow of this program played a fundamental role in the development of my professional career and catapulted me in the right direction toward achieving my professional dreams in the mid and long term.

I have nothing but words of gratitude to ELI -especially to Carl and Kristine- and my wish that many more young people will have this amazing opportunity as I did."

-Ginary Tatiana Gutiérrez Robledo (2020 Jim Rubin International Fellow)


Current Fellows


We will be announcing this year's Jim Rubin International Fellows soon.




Past Fellows

Junhong Li

Junhong Li (2021 Jim Rubin International Fellow) is a legal scholar from China. Between April 2019 and January 2020, she worked at the China Environmental Protection Foundation (CEPF), where she managed CEPF’s NGO environmental public interest litigation capacity-building project. Junhong worked for the UN Environment-China University of Political Science and Law Environmental Law Academy and as a project manager for Centre for Legal Assistance to Pollution Victims (CLAPV) at the China University of Political Science and Law (CUPSL) , where she managed internationally funded programs for training judges, prosecutors, lawyers, environmental law enforcement officers, environmental NGOs staff and journalists on environmental legal practice and environmental public interest litigation in China. She also participated in research projects on legislation of climate change, protection of marine biodiversity in the areas beyond national jurisdiction, the revision of Fishery Law of China and wildlife protection in China, and work related to cooperation on environmental rule of law among Belt & Road Countries. She has participated in ministry-level projects on environmental legislation and policy of China through her affiliation with CUPSL. Junhong holds a Ph.D. in Law from the University of Southampton, United Kingdom; an LL.M. from CUPSL, and bachelor degrees from Renmin University of China and Henan Normal University. 




Ginary Tatiana Gutiérrez Robledo

Ginary Tatiana Gutiérrez Robledo (2020 Jim Rubin International Fellow) is a Colombian-trained lawyer with certificates in human rights and constitutional law. For the past three years, she has worked as an attorney at the Procuraduria General de la Nacion/Inspector Attorney General Office in Bogotá, Colombia. Her work has included coordinating the monitoring processes of government compliance with agreements made between the government and Afro-Pacific communities, collaborating with communities to educate people on their human rights, and developing community empowerment strategies for exercising democratic rights to fight corruption, as well as handling matters related to environmental justice. Trained in both Colombia and the United States, Ginary graduated from Duke University Law School with an LL.M. in May 2020 as a fellow of the Racial Discrimination Watch of Dejusticia and Ford Foundation. Prior to Duke, she studied at the Rosario University Law School in Bogotá, Colombia where she received an M.A. in administrative law and an undergraduate law degree in 2018.



Program Structure

  1. Research and Writing – conduct a research project and explore opportunities
  2. Educational Events – participate in the educational opportunities offered at ELI including seminars, conferences and workshops
  3. Networking and Career Development – receive mentorship and resources from senior attorneys at ELI to help shape your fellowship and advance your career
  4. Presentations and Publications – explore opportunities to submit content to ELI’s publications and podcast – the Vibrant Environments Blog, the Environmental Law Reporter®, The Environmental Forum®, People Places Planet Podcast  and deliver seminars on your research topic


Eligibility and Selection

  • Received a legal degree (LL.B, JD, SJD, or LLM equivalent) prior to start of fellowship
  • Preference will be given to candidates from developing countries
  • Ability to communicate in English in an office environment
  • Legally authorized to travel to and volunteer in the United States for the entire duration of the fellowship. For information on authorization requirements, visit the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services website ( Please note that ELI is unable to sponsor visas for fellowship applicants.

Successful applicants will be environmental lawyers in the early stages of their careers who show promise as leaders. They embody Jim Rubin’s dedication to environmental protection law and policy, community engagement, and access to justice. They will be committed to research excellence, possess the ability to bring clarity to complex issues.



How to Apply


Fellowship applications for 2023 are now closed. Applications for the next class of Jim Rubin International Fellows will open in 2024.

Dates and length are flexible. For more information, please contact:




The Jim Rubin International Fellowship was launched in fall 2019 to honor the legacy of Jim Rubin, a true friend to ELI.

Thank you to all of our major founding donors. You are empowering the next generation of environmental lawyers!

  • Nancie, Conall, & Jeremy Rubin


Individuals wishing to make a tax-deductible donation in support of the Jim Rubin International Fellowship may do so online.



To learn about other ways to donate click here or contact Melodie DeMulling at or 202.939.3808.