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 Jim and Nancie Rubin for making this possible. 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



Prakriti Shah

Prakriti Shah

Prakriti is a lawyer trained in India, where she practiced human rights and environmental litigation. Her work has included public interest litigation for the right to access water in a Mumbai slum and a legal challenge to construction on wetlands. She is currently pursuing her LL.M. degree in International and Comparative Law with a concentration in human rights at the George Washington University Law School. Prakriti has worked on and assisted with several research projects on environmental law and policy such as climate migration, marine plastic pollution and indigenous rights. Her passion lies at the intersection of human rights, the environment and justice. Prakriti holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from the University of Mumbai and a B.A. in Environmental Analysis & Policy and English from Boston University.


Read about past Jim Rubin International Fellows.

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

Applications for the Spring 2024 class of Jim Rubin International Fellows are open through February 15. Application information is available here.

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.