Legal and Public Policy Associate (Externship)

Position Description


Description of Firm:

Politas Consulting is a new international development social enterprise whose mission is to provide legal and policy assistance to help cities and special-status jurisdictions achieve inclusive social and economic growth. Cities and special jurisdictions are increasingly becoming the world’s driving innovators and incubators of good policy. They increasingly rely upon non-state forms of governance and public service provision. We help them orient the future of governance toward prosperity and inclusion.

More specifically, Politas assists with the development and implementation of laws, policies, and administrative frameworks for special economic zones, free trade zones, cities, and semi-autonomous jurisdictions. It also advises on national or regional decentralization strategies and strategies for addressing national or international issues through urban areas and special zones. It currently has projects in Latin America, Northern Africa, and South Asia for clients in the United States and Europe. Our work is both highly intellectual and pragmatic, integrating political philosophy with real-world problem solving for clients.

Politas also closely collaborates with Refugee Cities, a non-profit organization that uses special development zones to help integrate migrants in countries hosting refugees. Refugee Cities promotes the use of such zones, some of which Politas is helping implement.


The Legal and Policy Research Associate will work on a range of projects. Work will be local/desk work. Responsibilities may include:

  • Researching policies on a wide variety of issues, such as trade, immigration, refugees, land use regulation, municipal services, urban planning and land use, public-private partnerships, international investment, and security.
  • Researching laws and administrative frameworks covering the above topics at the international level or in foreign countries.
  • Providing recommendations and insight on proposed policies, laws, and administrative frameworks.
  • Drafting internal memoranda and reports summarizing findings and recommendations.
  • Meeting regularly with the CEO and other staff members to discuss projects and courses of action.
  • Helping develop proposals and concept papers for special-status jurisdictions and new policies.

Some work would be done on behalf of Refugee Cities, primarily to explore the possibility of developing proposals for new special development zones.

Term of Engagement and Compensation:

The Legal and Policy Research Associate will be hired for an initial 4-, 6-, or 8-month term depending on the individual circumstances of the person. The Research Associate should be available to work at least 10 to 20 hours per week, preferably coming into an office in Downtown Los Angeles (WeWork) from time to time.

This is an externship position and academic credit is the only compensation available.

The company appears to have strong growth potential, so externs may be hired to permanent positions depending on the fit and willingness of the person.



Candidates must have:

  • High ethical standards with the ability to maintain clients’ confidentiality. Background checks will be conducted.
  • Excellent writing and analytical skills. English writing ability should be at least a native-level. Style must be natural, clear, and direct.
  • Either:
    • Current enrollment in, or graduation from, a Juris Doctor (JD) program from a U.S. law school, or LL.M from a U.S. Law School and/or foreign equivalent to a JD from a well-regarded foreign law school; OR
    • Current enrollment in, or graduation from, a graduate-degree program (MA or higher) in public policy, urban planning, international development, international business, economics, or related fields.

Additional Factors:

Candidates will be evaluated based on the following characteristics. No candidate is expected to have all of these characteristics.  Please reference the characteristics you have in your cover letter and describe how you have them

  • Experience researching or evaluating public policies or legislation and drafting written analyses and recommendations
  • Strong knowledge of international investment law and policy (e.g., bilateral / multilateral investment treaty protection, investment arbitration)
  • Strong interest in and experience of political philosophy
  • Strong knowledge of free trade zone / special economic zone law, policy, and economics
  • Strong knowledge of urban planning and management and economic development policy
  • Live in Los Angeles, CA and able to work from a physical office there
  • If not in LA, live in a time zone that is +/- 3 hours from U.S. Pacific Time
  • Fluency in Spanish
  • Women and/or minorities that are underrepresented in U.S. legal or policy professions
  • Experience clerking for a judge at the appellate level

Application Instructions:

Email to following to

  • Cover letter describing the characteristics you have from the above lists, and any other information you think is relevant
  • Resume or CV
  • Unofficial transcript

Please reference “Research Associate / Extern” in the subject line.

Short-listed applicants will be asked for references. Writing sample and interviews may be requested from some applicants.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.