What is Blackstone?
Named for Sir William Blackstone, the English jurist and scholar whose Commentaries on the Laws of England had a profound impact on the United States Constitution, the Blackstone Legal Fellowship owes its origin to Alan Sears, the Founder of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Alan envisioned a community of distinguished Christian law students who would be educated by premier legal scholars and jurists, formed by real-world internships, and propelled by an exceptional professional services team to positions of influence, thereby impacting the legal culture and keeping the door open for the Gospel.
The Blackstone Legal Fellowship launched in 2000 with 24 interns, and has since grown to an annual class size of over 180 interns. To date, there are almost 2,300 Blackstone Fellows throughout the United States and around the world. These Fellows have gone on to careers as judges, legislators, academics, corporate leaders, partners in law firms, and advocates for our most fundamental freedoms. And it all started where you stand now – as a law student on the brink of an exciting career!
The Summer Program
May 28 - June 10, 2023
Phase I is about rigorous learning, connecting with like-minded faculty and peers from around the country, and discerning what God may be calling you to do with your legal career. Each day includes classroom instruction in legal theory and practice combined with a Christian worldview. This is followed by small group discussions with your peers on the key ideas of the day. Interns also take part in daily devotionals, prayer, and worship. Finally, each day ends with socializing and spirited discussion. Some of the best friendships our interns have ever made began during late-night conversations at Blackstone.
Moreover, the faculty at Blackstone are truly world-class. Past faculty have included:
Edwin Meese III
75th Attorney General of the United States
Ruth L. Okediji
Professor of Law
Harvard Law School
Professor of Law
Antonin Scalia Law School
Associate Law Professor
University of Notre Dame School of Law
Robert P. George
Professor of Jurisprudence
“My experience with the Blackstone program, at which I spoke, was a wonderful one. It gathers the best and brightest Christian law students from around the country.”
then-JUDGE AMY CONEY BARRETT
June 11 - August 6, 2023
Phase II is about getting real-world experience at a summer internship that will help launch you into your specific legal career. Once you are accepted into Blackstone, our staff works with you to identify and secure a summer legal internship, taking into account your professional interests, aptitudes, geographical preference, and academic performance. In past years, students have obtained internships at a wide variety of prestigious organizations in the private and public sectors.
August 7 - 12, 2023
Phase III is about seeing the legal profession come to life. You will hear from practicing attorneys representing a wide cross-section of the legal world including: judges, high-ranking public officials, distinguished academics, and partners in influential law firms. Faculty members share both their personal and professional journeys, and explain and embody what it means to be a Christian lawyer. Phase III is thus designed to give you exposure to new opportunities in the legal field that you may not have considered, and using this information, to discern and chart out the direction God is calling you to use your gifts. It is also an opportunity to reconnect with friends from Phase I before you return to your respective law schools, reinforcing the connections that will support as you set forth on your legal career.
“For a follower of Jesus Christ who feels called to the profession of law, Blackstone has been indispensable. It’s more than just the world-class professional development that outpaces my top-10 law school, and the fellowship and networking and lifelong friendships. Every day of Blackstone I got up in the morning and went to my seat knowing that I would hear from a man or woman of God who was living and incarnating the Gospel in their profession. I learned from their example every day, and in unique ways they will serve as models for the kind of lawyer that I want to be. Blackstone gave me that vision, and I will be forever grateful.”
Blackstone Fellow, Class of 2020
Scholarships & Financial Support
Each intern who participates in Blackstone is awarded a $6,300 scholarship to help defray qualified educational expenses. We also cover the cost of airfare, lodging, materials, and most meals during Phases I and III. In addition, we arrange for housing (or provide a housing stipend) for your Phase II internship if you acquire it through Blackstone. Students who arrange their own internships are responsible for their own housing.
Blackstone and the Rest of Your Career
Blackstone is so much more than a summer program. After Phase III, interns are invited to apply to become Blackstone Fellows. Those who are commissioned as Fellows work with a support network of ADF staff, Blackstone Fellows, and other allies to develop a career plan, identify the best job opportunities to advance that plan, craft a resume, prepare for interviews, and get connected to important allies to help you realize your goals. Past Blackstone Fellows have gone on to reach positions of influence in the judiciary, government, law firms, academia, and advocacy, and are eager to pass on those blessings to the next generation – you.
“You have run circles around my career services office – you and your team seem to know more people and more details about firms, judges, government offices, etc. Most importantly, you know me, and my strengths, weaknesses, and my personal aspirations. I think every Fellow would say this is what makes Blackstone so special. Everyone gets special one-on-one treatment. I would not be in the position I am today without Blackstone’s resources.”
Blackstone Fellow, Class of 2017
This all points to the centrality of community at Blackstone. Just as the Church is not a collection of individuals but a community representing the Body of Christ, so too the Blackstone Legal Fellowship is a community first and foremost. ADF staff regularly host reunions, webinars, and other events to help Fellows build friendships, pray for one another, deepen our knowledge base, learn about current events, and reinforce one another as both lawyers and followers of Christ. Likewise, Fellows are connected to at least one person who can act as a mentor, and they are encouraged to make connections with Fellows both inside and outside their Blackstone class.
Finally, the Fellowship is about engagement. We are called to be faithful in our generation and to engage the legal system and our broader culture. No matter what position or stage of life we happen to be in, the Fellowship is a call to witness to the truth in love. It serves as both a training ground and a springboard for action. Fellows are encouraged to participate in the legal defense of those who are being unfairly attacked, to write articles or to speak in defense of our fundamental rights, and to support the advocacy efforts of ADF and other allies who are working to protect freedom of religion, freedom of speech, the dignity of life, parental rights, and marriage and the family. At the same time, engagement is not “one-size-fits-all,” and looks different for every person in the Fellowship. As a community, we explore together the various ways we can engage with and impact the law and society, all the while discerning what God may be calling each of us to do in the moment.