History & Mission

The Blackstone Legal Fellowship is sponsored by Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian legal advocacy organization dedicated to protecting religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family. The program is named for Sir William Blackstone, the English jurist and scholar whose Commentaries on the Laws of England had a pervasive and profound impact on the United States Constitution and whose concept of absolute rights formed the basic premise of our Declaration of Independence. As explained in his Commentaries, "when the Supreme Being formed the universe and created matter out of nothing, he impressed certain principles upon that matter from which it can never depart, and without which it would cease to be." Because of this, William Blackstone argues, "the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain these absolute [i.e. God-given] rights to individuals." The Blackstone Legal Fellowship seeks to cultivate a new generation of leaders throughout the legal culture that is propelled by this vision of the law to foster legal systems that fully protect our God-given rights.

The Blackstone Legal Fellowship launched in 2000 with 24 interns and has grown to 158 interns in 2015. To date, over 1,500 law students from more than 200 law schools in 21 different countries have participated in Blackstone. Through Blackstone, these students have participated in internships with more than 300 different organizations and attorneys worldwide.

The Hon. Edwin Meese, III on the Blackstone Legal Fellowship