Guarini Externship - Global Legal Practice in Digital Society

LW.12682 / LW.12683
Professor Angelina Fisher
Open to 2L, 3L and LL.M. students
Maximum of 4 students
Fall semester
4 credits*
Pre-/Co-requisite: Global Data Law (no exceptions)

Course Description

Externship Overview

Digital technologies operate globally, under complex and often incomplete patchworks of legal regulation, and special skills are required of effective and creative lawyers in these contexts. This externship program helps students hone such skills while making innovative contributions.

Territorial boundaries and distinctions between domestic and international, private and public, technical and political are increasingly blurred by digital interconnectivity, proliferation and collection of data, the intertwining of transnational technology companies with multiple and divergent public domains, and creation of digitally and physically inter-connected spaces and places that facilitate flows of funds, goods, services, and information with consequences extending from the marvelous to the pernicious. Technological innovations such as artificial intelligence and blockchain are pioneered by private actors but also used increasingly by public and inter-governmental bodies. Technologies are in some cases used to innovate in local contexts, to be subsequently scaled up or transplanted; in other cases they arrive from outside and may radically change local circumstances with little preparation or planning or voice. Work on the legal and policy implications of this ‘New Global’ requires cross-disciplinary awareness and multivalent and global perspectives.  

NYU Law School now offers a wide set of courses and programs addressing ways in which proliferation of data, increasing digitization, growth of information economies, changing modes of communication and rapid development of computational tools are transforming the ways in which we study and practice law. This externship enables students to explore and in modest ways influence the global aspects of these transformations. International organizations have been experimenting with leveraging technological innovations, such as blockchain, machine learning and artificial intelligence, to address a variety of problems, including human trafficking, delivery of medicine, refugee assistance, closing education gaps, securing land rights, among others. At the same time, lawyers within these organizations are confronted by legal, regulatory and compliance challenges accompanying these activities. The increasingly wide-ranging use of emerging technologies raise questions about data ownership, permissible use, jurisdiction, privacy, ethics, and liability, among others. Often, these questions are not readily addressed by the existing legal and regulatory frameworks. In many instances, standards and practices are shaped and re-shaped by large technology corporations, as well as by interactions between international and national public and private regulatory regimes. As international organizations (as well as their member states) are increasingly partnering with private actors in provision of public services, lawyers in both private and public sectors must also grapple the changing nature of state and international organizations’ responsibility and accountability.

Through a combination of a seminar and a practicum, the Guarini Global Legal Practice in Digital Society Externship offers students an opportunity to develop a set of skills required to address complex global problems and prepare them for challenges and opportunities that technology innovation holds for laws and legal practice. The externship may be of particular interest to students whose interests intersect the fields of law, technology and transnational legal practice, whether in pursuit of private practice or public interest careers, students who aspire to a non-traditional career path (particularly in law and development, humanitarian and human rights fields) that requires knowledge of emerging technologies in addition to grounding in legal training, students interested in working at international organizations, and students who are interested in legal innovation and legal tech entrepreneurial ventures.   


The primary fieldwork site for the placements will be the Global Law & Tech initiative of the Guarini Institute for Global Legal Studies. Some fieldwork projects will be conducted in partnership with UN agencies and/or other non-profit organizations or foundations. Fieldwork assignments might include:

  • Helping incorporate global data law or policy insights into the working tools of international organizations and NGOs, including drafting model data-sharing agreements for public-private ventures and helping formulate data governance policies;
  • Providing guidance to international organizations and NGOs on legal and governance implications of a selected initiatives employing technology-for-development;
  • Providing legal and policy assistance to an international organization that is launching a digital product.

The aim of the fieldwork is to provide students with an opportunity to work on projects that employ technological innovations, and to explore the accompanying legal, regulatory, policy and ethical issues. Through the practicum the students will work alongside leading public and private actors in different fields of global practice, including international development, humanitarian assistance and intervention, community empowerment, financial technology, among others.

During the Fall 2023 semester, students may have the opportunity to work, among others, on projects with the World Bank, Data2X, YipitData, Access Now.

Application Procedure

Students interested in applying for the clinic should submit an application, resume, and transcript using CAMS, the online application system. Applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.

Please note there is a separate application form for LL.M.s. The deadline is different from that for JDs and is posted on the Clinic Application Timelines page.

Upon consultation with students and taking into account feedback from project partners, students may have the opportunity to enroll in the Advanced Guarini Externship in the Spring 2024.

If you have questions regarding the externship, please email Angelina Fisher.

Student Contacts

Isabella Brunner (LL.M.)
Sumner Fields (JD)
Pei-Tzu Hung (LL.M.)
Brandan Palmieri (JD)
Tanner Dalton (JD)
Megan Avery (JD)

* 4 credits include 2 clinical credits for the externship and 2 academic seminar credits.