William and Mary Law School

Interning in Election Law

A sample of where our students go to put their legal skills to use.

William & Mary Students pursue externships during the school year and internships over the summer to hone their research and communication skills in environments where election law is practiced. These environments range from law firms, to voting rights organizations, to government agencies, and provide experience to suppliment students' election law course work.

Henry AlderferHenry Alderfer

Legal Intern, FairVote

I spent the first half of my summer working with FairVote, a non-partisan non-profit organization dedicated to studying elections and advocating for electoral reform. As a legal intern for FairVote, I drafted numerous legal opinions and memoranda on a variety of election issues, including youth voting, primary elections, voting discrimination, recounts, state and local electoral reform, and alternative electoral systems such as ranked choice voting. I also authored blog posts on current events relating to election law, such as the Obama administration's delayed nominations to the Election Assistance Commission.

Legal Intern, Rock the Vote

I spent the second half of my summer working for Rock the Vote, a non-partisan non-profit organization that focuses on engaging young people in American democracy. As a legal intern for Rock the Vote, I assisted the organization's general counsel on a variety of legal issues, including pending voting rights litigation that affects youth voting rights. In addition, I contributed generally to the organization's mission of enabling and inspiring millenials to become engaged in politics and democracy.

Peter RechterPeter Rechter

Legal Intern, Fair Elections Legal network

I spent the summer working as a legal intern with the Fair Elections Legal Network, a group of attorneys dedicated to to removing barriers to voting and improving election administration across the United States. At FELN, I focused on challenges faced by student voters. Specifically, I drafted memos on state implementation of HAVA ID requirements, state proof of citizenship requirements, and the Virginia State Board of Election's implementation of Virginia’s voter ID law. I also had the opportunity to compose persuasive letters to multiple Secretaries of State advocating for the removal of misleading voter information from their publications. Throughout the summer I attended Senate hearings on election administration and new voting technology and sat in on conference calls with our ally organizations.   

Drucilla TignerDrucilla Tigner

Legal Intern, Office of General Counsel, Federal Election Commission

I worked in the Policy Division in the Office of General Counsel at the FEC. The policy division fields questions from the public, researches the law, writes one or more drafts of an Advisory Opinion that is then issued by the Commission as law. The division also does agency rule makings. While at the FEC, I was the primary drafter of an Advisory Opinion and I worked on a rule making. As a part of the advisory opinion process, I was able to get a deep understanding of some of the most fundamental aspects of the Federal Election Campaign Act, which was very practical experience. As a part of the rule making process, I read the entire legislative history of FECA that was published for each one of FECA's enactments. This has given me a unique understanding of the law, and I feel confident moving forward in any future position in which I would have to engage and interpret FECA. Overall, this was a really great and worthwhile experience. 

Allison DavisAllison Davis

Law Clerk, National Republican Senatorial Committee 

I spent the summer and fall of 2014 working as a law clerk for the general counsel of the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC). NRSC is the Republican party committee for the United States Senate, and works to help elect candidates to that legislative body. As a law clerk, I assisted the general counsel with all matters related to NRSC's target races for the 2014 election cycle. My projects included researching and composing election and recount statute summaries intended for use by campaigns during and after the 2014 general election, drafting memoranda and legal advisories for Members of Congress and their staff, and working in support of the various legal challenges filed by NRSC and its candidates. I had the opportunity to participate in meetings with high-level staff and counsel for NRSC and the other Republican party committees, and I also traveled to battleground states to help with on-the-ground monitoring of field teams during a Senate primary, and of polls during the 2014 general election.

Other Representative Election Law Internship and Externship Sites

The Brennan Center for Justice, New York City (Democracy Department)

Office of Virginia Senator Janet Howell

ACLU Voting Rights Project, Atlanta, Georgia

Virginia State Board of Elections

ACLU of Virginia, Patricia M. Arnold Women's Rights Project, Richmond, Virginia

International Foundation for Electoral Systems, Washington, DC

International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance, Stockholm, Sweden

National Center for State Courts, Williamsburg, Virginia

Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Washington, DC

U.S. Senate Office of the Legislative Counsel, Washington, DC

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher, & Flom LLP, Washington, DC

Covington & Burling LLP, Washington, DC

Clark Hill PLC, Washington, DC

Wiley Rein LLP, Washington, DC

Sandler, Reiff, Lamb, Rosenstein, & Birkenstock, P.C., Washington, DC