Senior Legal Researcher, Climate Law and Finance
Columbia Law School’s Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI) and the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law are recruiting a Researcher to support a new initiative on climate law and finance. The researcher will work collaboratively with CCSI's and the Sabin Center’s Leadership and Research Staff to analyze the interrelated legal, finance, and policy pathways critical to achieving global climate goals and facilitating the energy transition, and the corresponding implications for public, private, and institutional financial sector actors, regulators, and alliances. Successful candidates will have a good understanding of how financing and investment can play a role in addressing climate change and the critical importance of appropriate systems, laws, policies and practices to achieve climate goals and facilitate the energy transition. Successful candidates will also demonstrate willingness to learn new areas and to work in a highly interdisciplinary, flexible, and dynamic environment.
More details on the position and instructions for applying can be found here. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
This position is based at Columbia University in New York. Full-time remote work is not possible.
(Please do not apply directly to CCSI's email account).
We offer a limited number of unpaid and paid research and administrative internships for undergraduate and graduate students (including graduate students in law, business, international affairs, and environmental studies) during the fall, spring and summer. Interested applicants should submit a cover letter, CV, and writing sample all together in a single file, in that order. The cover letter should include a distinct list of which internships you are applying for (you may include as many as you’d like). Please submit materials to Nancy Siporin ([email protected]), unless otherwise specified.
Application deadlines are as follows unless otherwise noted (although applications will be considered on a rolling basis):
- Fall semester: September 15
- Spring semester: January 15
- Summer: March 1
Candidates must currently be enrolled in a degree program, have astute research, analytical and writing skills, and enjoy working on a team. Only students currently enrolled at Columbia University are eligible for paid positions. Candidates must commit to at least 10-15 hours per week for Spring or Fall internships unless otherwise indicated, but more hours are possible. Summer internships are full-time (35-40 hours per week) unless otherwise noted. Continuation into subsequent semesters is possible, and course or academic internship credit can be granted in limited cases.
If you are applying for a paid internship, please indicate if you are work-study eligible (preferred but not required).
Internship opportunities available for Spring 2023 (remote possible):
Paid internship: Legal and Policy Research on Energy, Climate Change, and Sustainable Development (Native or Fluent Spanish Speaker)
CCSI is seeking an LLM or JD student intern with native or fluent Spanish skills to assist with legal and policy research, writing, and other activities relating to various projects in CCSI’s energy and climate change work. Tasks will include cataloging and examining the allocation of liability for decommissioning of offshore oil and gas facilities and infrastructure in leases and contracts for extraction of fossil fuels in various jurisdictions; identifying, cataloging, and examining best practices in the relevant scholarly and practitioner literature regarding the prevention of environmental pollution and liability-shifting away from the lessee; and identifying potential statutory, regulatory, and contractual improvements to existing regimes or practice. Preference will be given to candidates with strong legal research and writing skills, and candidates who have experience or demonstrated interest in issues relating to energy or climate change.
Paid internship: Open Land Contracts
CCSI is seeking a highly motivated, organized, and detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate student intern to help with the administration of CCSI’s transparency tool: OpenLandContracts.org. The intern will assist with the management of certain administrative tasks associated with the website, which aims to empower communities, civil society organizations, host governments, and other actors to better understand the details of deals surrounding agriculture, forestry, renewable energy, and other land-based investment projects in the global south. Strong preference will be given to candidates native or fluent in French. Knowledge of Python script could also be helpful but is not essential. Work study allocations are an asset but not required. Time commitment: Adhoc, as needs arise.
Paid internship: Antitrust, ESG, and Sustainability Mapping
Over the past few years, there have been growing academic, political, and social debates about the boundaries of competition and collaboration in markets for non-economic benefits, including efforts to mitigate environmental impacts, to accelerate the energy transition, to protect human rights, and to advance worker rights and prosperity. Questions and controversies have arisen both with respect to joint standard-setting and activities among companies and industry-wide collaborations, as well as with respect to coordinated engagement by investors and financial institutions. Increasingly, antitrust-related questions and challenges are said to be chilling necessary engagement and mobilization of private actors to address climate and other sustainability-related challenges. CCSI and the Sabin Center are undertaking a multidimensional mapping of this problem space, identifying the parallel and intertwined debates and legal questions, the political and other challenges and dynamics, and the range of actors at the center of the debate. Preference will be given to law students with a background in competition law.
Paid internship: Integrating Climate and Human Capital Management Considerations in Asset Allocation and Strategy
CCSI and the Earth Institute’s Research Program on Sustainability Policy and Management are seeking graduate student interns to assist with reviews of academic and practitioner literature concerning, respectively, climate change and human capital management as relevant to investment strategy. This work will support a broader project focused on helping a large public pension fund understand the potential impact of environmental, social, and governance factors on the long-term value creation and effective risk management within its investment portfolio, and to draw larger lessons applicable for universal asset owners, especially ones that are intergenerational and fiduciaries to their members. Students with relevant experience in law and finance are strongly encouraged.
Unpaid internship: SDG-Aligned Finance and Investing
CCSI seeks to strengthen the alignment of global finance and investment with the Sustainable Development Goals. On one hand, there remains a substantial financing gap for the investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, including the global energy transformation. On the other hand, despite the widespread recognition of the risks to, and opportunities for, investors and other financial actors with respect to the SDGs, existing practices, standards, disclosure frameworks, and metrics are not sufficient to meaningfully shift practices or to address the major financing needs. CCSI seeks one or more students to conduct research and analysis to support its work in this area. Preference will be given to students with experience or familiarity with ESG and other investing frameworks and reporting standards, banking and investment products (e.g. debt, equity, bonds), objectives and trends in responsible business practices, investment promotion and screening, among other areas.
Unpaid internship: International Investment Law and Policy
CCSI is seeking JD and LLM students to support a number of projects requiring research and analysis of international trade and investment treaties, treaty-based investor-state arbitration claims, and debates around reform of the investment treaty regime. The intern may also be asked to help with the coordination of our annual Executive Training on Investment Treaties and Arbitration for Government Officials. Familiarity with international investment law is required. Preference will be given to applicants with strong research and writing skills.
Paid internship: Operations Assistant (work study) - CCSI Executive Trainings
CCSI is seeking a graduate student with work-study eligibility to assist with operational and administrative support for its online Executive Training programs on Extractive Industries and Sustainable Development, Sustainable Investments in Agriculture and Investment Treaties and Arbitration for Government Officials. The assistant will be primarily responsible for assisting with administrative, logistical, and operational aspects of one or more of the trainings, including through communicating updates and liaising with speakers and participants, assisting with preparation and distribution of materials, managing applications, managing payment and budgeting aspects, and developing the Canvas courseworks sites for participants and speakers. Preference will be given to candidates who are also available during any of the trainings starting in May 2023. To apply for this Operations Assistant position, please send a cover letter and resume to CCSI’s Director of Operations, Paulo Cunha. ([email protected]).
Paid internship: Operations Assistant (work study)
CCSI is seeking an undergraduate or graduate work-study student to assist with a variety of substantive operational tasks. The work-study position primarily will entail helping with business and administrative tasks related to the operational functioning of the center, with an opportunity to specialize in one of several areas including business operations, editing, communications, events, or workstream support. Preference will be given to responsible, detail-oriented undergraduate or graduate students. Those with long-term availability are preferred. To apply for this Operations Assistant position, please send a cover letter and resume to CCSI’s Director of Operations, Paulo Cunha. ([email protected]).
What CCSI offers: Through the internship experience, interns can expect to make substantive contributions to research and/or administrative activities at CCSI. The internship experience is a mutually beneficial one, and provides interns with opportunities for professional growth and learning. CCSI develops specific terms of reference for every intern each semester, with clear tasks and timelines.
What CCSI looks for: Ideal candidates should be detailed-oriented, well-organized and responsive, and prioritize and carry out tasks with minimal supervision. Candidates should also have excellent communication and interpersonal skills. Our interns have included both undergraduate and graduate students from Columbia College, Columbia Law School, the School of International and Public Affairs, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and Columbia Business School. We also occasionally accept Interns from outside the university.
Our range of Fellows include Visiting Scholars, Fellows and Senior Fellows. Visiting Scholars can include international scholars, professors, judges, practitioners, and government officials, as well as doctoral students at the start of their scholarly careers. Visiting Scholars must apply through Columbia Law School’s Visiting Scholars Program. Applications for Visiting Scholars are reviewed three times during the year, corresponding with three program intakes, as follows:
- Fall semester: applications due no later than April 1.
- Spring semester: applications due no later than September 1.
- Summer semester: applications due no later than March 1.
Fellows and Senior Fellows are CCSI advisors who provide programmatic and operational advice and support to the Center. For more information, please contact us at [email protected]u.