About the Program
Throughout the year we offer internships which allow law students, law practitioners, professional legal training students and recent graduates with an interest in law reform, to gain insight into the work of the Commission. Our aim is to give you international experience in a law reform commission, and insight into how the unique Samoan system functions with its common law and customary law systems, based on the matai (village chief) structure.
Internships are unpaid and open to all nationalities. We accept applications from law students who have completed 3 years of their undergraduate legal studies, JD students, professional legal training students and recent graduates. Travel costs and living arrangements are the responsibility of the intern. We do however encourage interns to apply for grants from their universities and explore other available funding through initiatives similar to the New Colombo Plan available to Australian students.
Typically internships last for 4 weeks minimum, as agreed between the intern and the Commission.
I interned at the Samoa Law Reform Commission for one month from 27 January to 21 February 2020. During my internship, I assisted the SLRC in their review of the Traffic Laws of Samoa. My project, along with another intern, was to complete a comparative analysis of the Traffic Laws in Samoa, Victoria (Australia), Queensland (Australia), New Zealand and Fiji. This program was unique to anything offered at my university and I feel fortunate to have been able to dedicate four weeks to one legal research task.
I now have a greater appreciation for the law reform process; in particular, the challenges of striking a balance between shaping laws that are consistent with advancing times while also maintaining Samoan traditional customs. This experience has also helped to streamline my legal research skills and reinforced my desire to work internationally in my future legal career.
Samoa is a beautiful country and I enjoyed exploring the nation’s rich culture outside of my working hours. Our Supervisor also organised extra-curricular activities on our behalf; including, a Supreme Court visit, a cultural village show, a visit to the flea markets, attendance at a Church service and an afternoon of snorkelling at Palolo Deep Sea Reserve.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the SLRC. The staff were very welcoming; everyone extremely approachable, accommodating and genuinely happy to help and facilitate my learning. We were included in staff meetings and a weekly check in meant that I felt supported throughout my experience. I am very grateful for my time in Samoa and would recommend this internship to other students.
I attended the Samoa Law Reform Commission for one month from 27 January to 21 February 2020. I applied for this internship as it was a unique experience that would be like no other. I was excited to further develop my legal skills in a professional environment which was different to anything I have ever done before. The ability to fully submerse myself in a new culture, while learning about a pluralistic legal system and law reform process, sounded like an amazing learning experience.
During my internship, the SLRC had recently commenced a review of the traffic laws of Samoa. My project, along with another intern, was to research the traffic laws of Samoa and identify gaps or any areas in need of reform, as well as complete a comparative analysis of neighbouring jurisdictions. This was a very interesting task and was further development of my legal research skills. It was very rewarding to create a report and recommendations for reform.
I enjoyed the office of the SLRC thoroughly. The staff were welcoming and so happy to share their knowledge. This really enhanced my internship. We were included in their office events and encouraged to join in on discussions. They were kind enough to organise trips to see the Court and other things we were interested in. Samoa itself is a beautiful country with much to offer. I highly recommend the SLRC and its internship program to future students!
Frequently Asked Questions
We currently accept applications at any time and take interns throughout the year. Applications are most competitive during university holiday periods. Details on the application process can be found below.
Yes, repeat applications are welcome. You are also welcome to propose a number of internship dates in your applications.
Typically internships last between 4 weeks minimum (1 month). The internship period is arranged between the prospective intern and the Commission as part of the application process. Prospective interns should propose their preferred internship duration and dates in their application.
Working hours at the Commission are Monday to Friday 9:00am-5:00pm.
Our internships are unpaid and are on a voluntary basis. We do not provide allowances for meals, transport, accommodation, travel insurance etc. We encourage you to explore funding options through your university or through government grants if you need financial assistance. For example, Australian students could apply to the New Colombo Plan.
The Commission will provide you with your own work space, desk, computer and landline phone. You will have access to internet, photocopying, printing, fax machine and a kitchen area with all its amenities. Furthermore, the Office van will pick you up from the Airport upon arrival and will drop you off again when you depart.
Accommodation is the responsibility of the intern. However, a list of suitable accommodation providers will be sent to successful applicants.
You can find a list of our current and past projects INSERT LINK.
The work given to interns varies depending on their experience and the Commission’s current projects. Typically, interns will be asked to:
- Research and analyse legislation and case law in comparable jurisdictions;
- Assist in reviewing issues papers and reports; and
- Assist in public consultations.
The commission has had interns who have gained credit towards their studies as a result of their internship. You should check with your university or practical legal training body to see if this is possible in your circumstances.
This depends on your university/provider and their applicable guidelines. Samoa is a common law jurisdiction and our work does involve considerable comparison with New Zealand and Australian laws.
Samoa has warm tropical weather and the weather is usually around 30 degrees Centigrade. The wet season is from November to April and the dry season from May to October. The office is air-conditioned.
How To Apply?
- Expression of interest (1 page maximum)
- Curriculum Vitae (2 page maximum)
- Academic Transcript
Interns will be selected on the basis of:
- Evidence of completion of at least three years (or JD equivalent) study in an undergraduate or postgraduate law degree
- Academic merit
- Demonstrated interest or experience in law reform, and/or the Commission’s current projects
- Strong communication skills
- Strong legal and analytical skills
- Either the student can contact us OR the University does. At the moment the university is contacting us.
- We talk to them and they submit what they want out of the internship along with dates (beginning to end of internship)
- We inform you if we accept or decline your application.
If we accept your application:
- Samoa Law Reform Commission staff prepares a work-plan for the intern
- Intern starts on the approved dates and is expected to carry out the work-plan prepared by the commission
- Interns are expected to Present their findings ONE WEEK before the completion date for internship
- Intern completes program and further discussion will be made with the commission