ABOUT THE JOB
The ACLU Voting Rights Project was established in 1965 – the same year that the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) was enacted – and has litigated more than 300 cases since that time. Its mission is to build and defend an accessible, inclusive, and equitable democracy free from racial discrimination. We have three principles: (1) all Americans should be eligible to vote; (2) voting should be free and easy; and (3) all people should count equally. The Project is litigation-focused, with active cases across the country, though it helps support legislative advocacy work and public education. The Voting Rights Project’s recent docket has included more than 30 lawsuits last year alone to protect voters during the 2020 election; a pair of recent cases in the Supreme Court challenging the last administration’s discriminatory census policies: Department of Commerce v. New York (successfully challenging an attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census) and Trump v. New York (challenging the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the population count used to apportion the House of Representatives) challenging voter purges and documentary proof of citizenship laws; and challenging other new legislation restricting voting rights in states like Georgia.
The ACLU invites rising third-year law students and law graduates to apply for a sponsorship opportunity to work with us as a Legal Fellow for up to one year. The Voting Rights Project of the National office in New York, NY seeks applicants to consider for a sponsored fellowship such as Equal Justice Works or other public interest fellowships to begin in the fall of 2022.
Our staff will provide guidance to the selected fellowship candidate to develop their proposal for submission, helping tailor the proposal to address an important voting rights issue. Proposed projects for the Voting Rights Project should have an impact-litigation focus, but successful projects also frequently include an integrated advocacy approach (weaving in policy advocacy, public education, etc.). Fellowship candidates are encouraged to review successful project descriptions on funder websites.
Examples of projects successful VRP fellowship candidates have developed in the past include:
- Reducing racially-disparate wait times at polling places
- Combatting prison-based gerrymandering
- Improving voting access for people with disabilities
- Challenging wealth-based restrictions on voting rights restoration for former felony offenders
- Challenging earlier voter registration deadlines
Applicants for host sponsorship will be asked to submit an idea for a project proposal with their applications. These proposals need not be fully-formed (and should be no more than 2 pages, inclusive of footnotes), but an applicant selected for an interview should be prepared to discuss the problem their proposal addresses and some details of their litigation plan (including the legal claims they would bring and potential target jurisdictions). Our goal is to assess how you would identify, articulate, and tackle a voting rights issue and work with impacted communities to redress it. An ideal project proposal would expand upon our current work, without duplicating past candidates’ proposals.
We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by June 11, 2021.
- Conduct legal research and analysis and develop theories to support their fellowship projects and other new litigation projects
- Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs
- Interview potential clients and witnesses and seek input from impacted communities
- Participate in discovery and trial practice
- Draft and edit public education and nonlitigation 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
- Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned
- Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
- Commitment to racial and social justice (please feel free to discuss your commitment in your cover letter)
- 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, disability and socio-economic circumstance
- Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts
EXPERIENCE & QUALIFICATIONS
- J.D. or L.L.M. (or expected to receive a J.D. or L.L.M.) by the fall of 2022
- Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, racial justice, and/or voting rights
- Willingness to develop external funding applications and 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
The ACLU has a litigator scale that determines pay for attorneys in our Legal Department. The range of salaries are the following, based on year of law school graduation (please consult the hiring manager for specific salary details, based on individual circumstances):
- 0-2 years since law school graduation: $72,000-$82,818
- 3-5 years since law school graduation: $88,201-$98,635
- 6-10 years since law school graduation: $101,594-$114,345
- 11-15 years since law school graduation: $117,776-$132,558
- 16-20 years since law school graduation: $136,534-$153,671
- 21-25 years since law school graduation: $158,281-$178,146
- 26-30+ years since law school graduation: $183,491-$206,521
These salaries are reflective of positions based in New York, NY. The salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.
ABOUT THE ACLU
The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.
For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.
Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.
The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.
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 email email@example.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.