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About LPSI

Building a Legal Community Focused on Protecting the Long-term Future

The Legal Priorities Summer Institute (LPSI) is an intensive, week-long program with the goal of introducing altruistically-minded law and policy students to projects, theories, and tools relevant to tackling critical issues affecting the long-term future. Its mission is simple:

  • Convene: Bring together talented law and policy students from across the globe committed to making the largest possible impact through their careers.
  • Prioritize: Provide an overview of “legal priorities research” and discuss its implications for using the law to improve the long-term future and mitigate key existential risks.
  • Examine: Lead discussions between participants, subject-matter experts, and advocates using law and policy to address problems like runaway climate change, pandemics, and transformative artificial intelligence, among others.
  • Prepare: Provide participants with the practical guidance and professional networks needed to identify and act upon some of the world’s most pressing problems.


Applications are now closed.


Institute Overview

Location: Oxford, UK
Dates: September 3–8, 2022
# of Participants: Up to 40
Funding and Financial Support: Participant Stipend of $2,500
Travel + Lodging + Food: Provided

What to Expect

The Institute will consist of daily presentations, discussion groups, debates, and workshops led by

  • Global leaders in government and international relations, including organizations working with the United Nations
  • Academics and researchers contributing to our understanding of global governance, prioritization of global public goods, and sources of catastrophic and existential risks (with a focus on transformative artificial intelligence, biosecurity & pandemic preparedness, nuclear war, and climate change)
  • Legal practitioners developing novel theories to protect future generations in domestic and international courts
  • Philanthropists funding projects to protect future generations; and
  • Members of the judiciary with insight on relevant paradigms in international and domestic law

The purpose of these workshops is to introduce students to key issues affecting the long-term future, provide a space to examine and discuss the ethical and empirical claims underlying these focus areas, and introduce participants to new opportunities to use their legal career for the common good.

Participants will have frequent opportunities to discuss these topics in the classroom, in one-on-one meetings, over meals, and in social gatherings.

This programming will be complemented by practical career advising to help law students explore job opportunities and network with potential employers and partners.

What to Expect after the Summer Institute

Following the Summer Institute, participants will be connected to a network of global lawyers, policymakers, and researchers working to improve our collective future. Participants will be invited to join follow-up reading groups, apply for career coaching, and be directed to promising research and employment opportunities in high-impact fields.

Stipend & Travel Funding

Each summer fellow who participates in the Legal Priorities Summer Institute is awarded a $2,500 stipend. In order to receive the stipend, participants must attend the entirety of the Institute programming and submit a post-program evaluation (that will take no longer than 30 minutes).

In addition to the above stipend, participants will be provided food and lodging for the duration of the Institute and receive reimbursement for airfare or other travel expenses.

Eligibility

Applicants in the following categories are eligible to apply:

  1. Current law student: Enrolled in a legal degree program at the undergraduate or graduate level (such as an LLB, JD, LLM, PhD, or equivalent program)
  2. Recent law graduate: Work in the legal profession (including clerkships, apprenticeships, post-doctoral programs, or other trainee positions) at the time of their application and have received a legal degree between May 2020 and June 2022

Applicants from other degree programs, like MPPs (including recent graduates), will be considered where the applicant has demonstrated a particular knowledge of legal or policy paradigms related to the themes of the conference

We welcome applicants from anywhere in the world (and can provide visa assistance). We will aim to have a group of people with highly diverse backgrounds and views represented at the Institute.

Key Dates

Application Deadline (extended): June 24, 2022
Acceptance Notifications Sent: July 1, 2022
Deadline to Accept Admission: July 8, 2022
2022 Summer Institute: September 3–8, 2022

FAQ

If you have a question that isn’t listed here, contact us anytime at lpsi@legalpriorities.org. We would love to hear from you!

More details will be added to this website as we finalize our invitee list, but participants can expect discussions related to climate change, transformative artificial intelligence, synthetic biology and biosecurity, pandemic preparedness, nuclear weapons, and institutional design. Within these areas, talks will focus around litigation, regulation, domestic legislation in individual countries, and international governance and law approaches to addressing these issues.

The goal of the Legal Priorities Summer Institute is to foster a community of global law students with the skills, knowledge, and motivation to improve the long-term future.

Toward those ends, applicants will be evaluated based upon their (1) commitment to serving others; (2) interest in engaging with longtermism and/or the specific legal, empirical, or normative questions involved in it; (3) strong academic and/or professional track record; (4) interest in any of the Legal Priorities Project’s focus areas (though previous experience is certainly not required). We expect to admit applicants who excel in some but not all of these categories, so please apply even if you do not excel in each of these areas.

It is important to note that while we expect some minimum standard of organization and clarity, we are not looking for perfect essays or well-rehearsed speeches. We're looking to get an impression of what you're thinking about, what you care about, and how you'd approach the program.

That's completely up to you. While we prefer video submissions (because they are quicker to review) we will not give preference to one format over the other.

Applications are NOT evaluated on a rolling basis, so there is no advantage to submitting them far in advance of the deadline. That said, the application was designed to be completable in a single sitting, so you could likely do it right now (before you forget).

All application materials should be submitted through the form listed above. The application consists of a resume and a few short-answer questions, which can be completed in as little as 20 minutes and should take no longer than 90 minutes.

Applicants will have a choice to submit short-answer responses via a video of no more than 4 minutes or a PDF of no more than 750 words. No preference will be given to one choice over the other.

We have tried to make the application process as simple as possible, so if you are considering applying, please do. Applications will be reviewed by staff of the Legal Priorities Project, and acceptances sent out by July 1, 2022. Due to staffing constraints, we will be unable to provide individualized feedback on applications.

There’s a good chance you are. If you’re on the fence about applying, please do! We often find that people are poor judges of their own qualifications, and many qualified people take themselves out of consideration by underestimating their fit. We anticipate accepting many people with limited prior experience but a high level of demonstrated interest and potential.

To make things easier, we’ve designed our process to take as little time as possible. Don’t overthink the prompts, and share what honestly intrigues you about the program.

No, though we think this program will appeal to those who are. The Legal Priorities Project is influenced by the ideas of effective altruism and longtermism, and a review of our current research agenda will give an idea of some of the ways these concepts may apply to law and policy.

No. We expect to accept at least some applicants who have no prior experience in our focus areas where they demonstrate a strong interest in learning more.

We think so! Our goal is to provide a mix of programming ranging from introductory chats to in-depth analyses of law and policy questions at the cutting edge of our priority areas. You’ll also have a chance to meet other participants, speakers, and LPP staff who may be future partners in your work.

While we’d recommend that most people put in an application (it won’t take long!), there are other resources available for those who can’t make it this year but are still interested in our work. You can sign up for our newsletter here, join our biweekly office hours here, join the Law and Longtermism Slack here, or request one-on-one career coaching here.

Offers will be made on or before July 1, 2022. While we do our best to make decisions as fast as possible, you can let us know if you need an earlier decision. Please only do so in exceptional circumstances (for example, if you have other conflicting offers and need to decide sooner or need to let your employer know by a particular date).

The Institute will take place at a retreat center in Oxford, UK. All lodging, events, and meals will occur in the same location, though it’s possible that participants will want to explore town in the evening after events conclude for the day.

We expect most participants won't need a visa, but please check this website to confirm. All participants will receive an official invitation letter from us for travel purposes. If you need any further assistance, please get in touch with us.

Simply send us your payment confirmations (e.g., email receipts) to invoices@legalpriorities.org. You can send them to us anytime—either right after each purchase or in a single email after the event. We can reimburse (economy class) flights, trains, and cabs to/from the airport.

The Legal Priorities Project is an independent, global research project founded by researchers from Harvard University. We conduct and support foundational legal research and develop legal strategies to tackle the world’s most pressing problems. This currently leads us to focus on mitigating existential risk and promoting the flourishing of future generations. Our research is influenced by the principles of effective altruism and the longtermism paradigm.

Questions? Contact us at lpsi@legalpriorities.org.

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