The Leadership Program

Leadership Fellows Summer Experiences

Summer Experience Profiles
Ashley Clark
L. Collin Cooper
Janison Dillon
Shoshana Fried
Caroline Johnson
David Lambert
Chantelle Lytle
Kelsey Roth
Julie Stainback

Leadership Fellows have an opportunity to serve in a public sector organization through a summer externship offered with course credit and a scholarship covering the tuition for the externship course and living expenses.

The following is one in a series of self-reported descriptions of the fellows' summer employment experiences.

Caroline Johnson '14

Name of Employee/Activity:

International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT)

Name of Position/Program:

Research Intern

Caroline JohnsonName of Supervisor (POC info would also be helpful):

Frédérique Mestre

Laura Tikanvaara is the contact for interns. 

Description of Position/Activity:

UNIDROIT is an international organization that is dedicated to studying legal codes and principles throughout the world to determine the needs and methods of harmonizing and coordinating laws between States, most commonly done through the production of uniform legal instruments and rules.  For more information about UNIDROIT, please refer to the UNIDROIT website.

Interns are assigned a research topic that coincides with one of the projects under review at UNIDROIT.  The organization consistently has multiple projects open, so interns may work on various projects depending on the need for more assistance.  Projects this summer varied from netting of financial instruments, the Protocol to the Cape Town Convention on matters dealing with outer space assets, and private law and agricultural development (specifically focusing on contract farming).  Interns have the chance to take part in many diverse opportunities (depending on availability during a term), but may include: conferences, guest lectures, luncheons with various visiting researchers, etc.  Interns gain experience in international collaboration and the chance to contribute to a global project that could potentially impact millions of lives.  The bulk of the internship is spent on a topic assigned by the head of the project, and may vary depending on the needs at any given time.

Daily Duties/Experiences:

This internship is extremely self-guided.  Although Mme. Mestre will provide some feedback along the way, interns are largely left to determine the research necessary to contribute a particular section towards an assignment.  For example, I worked extensively on American legislation pertaining to production contracts and how such legislation may be understood and applied in areas that do not have protection for farmers in contract or employment law.  Most of my day was spent researching at my computer.  As my topic was largely dealing with American sources, a firm understanding of research techniques taught in Legal Research was critical; however, UNIDROIT has a massive library that potentially may offer other interns (depending on topic) greater access to materials.  I often worked from 8:30 or 9 AMto around 1 PM, took an hour break for lunch, and then worked until 5:30 PM.  Interns are expected to be aware of work completed, take part in weekly meetings (to include a personal informal update of new research findings), and collaborate with peers on the assigned topics.  The internship environment also features other colleagues from countries all over the world!

For more on the current works in progress, please see:

For any additional questions, please feel free to email me at