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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.


Fellowship applications for summer/fall 2020 are now closed.



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 travel and accommodation stipend (up to $5,000), but the fellowship is otherwise unpaid.



Program Structure

  1. Research and Writing – conduct a research project and explore opportunitie
  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 (https://www.uscis.gov/). Please note that ELI is unable to sponsor visas for fellowship applicants.

Successful applicants will be environmental lawyers in the early stages of their career 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 summer/fall 2020 are now closed. Dates and length are flexible.

For more information, please contact: law@eli.org




The Jim Rubin International Fellowship 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 Sierra Dakin Kuiper, Senior Manager for Foundations and Donor Relationships at dakinkuiper@eli.org