For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. With more than one million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.

The ACLU invites second- or third-year law students and recent law graduates to apply for a sponsorship opportunity to work with us as a Legal Fellow. The Voting Rights Project of the National office in New York City seeks applicants to consider for a sponsored fellowship such as Skadden, Equal Justice Works, or other public interest fellowships to begin in the fall of 2020.

OVERVIEW

The Voting Rights Project of the ACLU has been an established and recognized national leader in the field of voting rights for more than 40 years. Its docket includes litigation in more than a dozen states and encompasses issues such as minority voting rights, redistricting, registration, election reform, felon disfranchisement, voter education, and ballot access. Most recently, the Project has been engaged in groundbreaking litigation challenging voter suppression, partisan gerrymandering, and illegal purge efforts in North Carolina, Ohio, and Indiana, and onerous identification and documentary proof of citizenship requirements for registration and voting in various states including Arizona, Kansas, Arkansas, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. The Project also represented immigrants’ rights organizations at the Supreme Court to challenge the Trump Administration’s proposed addition of a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

Our staff will work with candidates to develop their proposals for submission, helping tailor the proposal to address an important voting rights issue.  Proposed projects often combine litigation and advocacy with community outreach and public education.  Applicants are welcome to propose projects related to topics of their choice; but given the anticipated start date of fall 2020, we particularly welcome proposals related to redistricting. 

Some examples of past and future proposals include:

  • Bringing litigation to eliminate onerous voter registration deadlines for voters in various states;
  • Challenging the requirement in many states that formerly convicted returning citizens pay all legal financial obligations associated with their criminal sentences before becoming eligible to vote;
  • Eliminating barriers to polling place access for voters with disabilities in Mississippi and Georgia.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Conduct legal research and analysis and develop theories to support new litigation projects.
  • Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs.
  • Interview witnesses and potential clients.
  • Participate in discovery and trial practice.
  • Draft and edit public education and non-litigation advocacy materials.
  • Provide support and assistance to ACLU affiliates and cooperating attorneys.
  • Help manage summer legal internship program and supervise student interns.
  • Engage in public speaking and attend meetings and/or conferences as needed.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.

 EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS

  • D. or award of JD expected by the spring of 2020.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law and civil liberties work, especially any work fighting efforts to suppress voting rights for marginalized communities.
  • Willingness to work closely with the Voting Rights Project through the funding application process.
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a proven ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks and see projects through to completion.
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.

COMPENSATION

The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale, to supplement the external funding.

HOW TO APPLY

If you would like to be considered for a sponsorship opportunity, please submit a letter of interest to HRJobsVRP@aclu.org that includes a description of a project proposal. Please reference “2019 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship – ACLU Voting Rights Project” in the subject line and indicate in your letter of interest whether you only seek sponsorship for your proposal or would be open to other ideas. Please also attach to your application:

  • current resume
  • unofficial law school transcript
  • legal writing sample
  • names and telephone numbers of two references

We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by June 30, 2019.

Please indicate in your submission where you learned of this job posting.

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail benefits.hrdept@aclu.org.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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