The ACLU of Vermont seeks third-year law students, law clerks, and practicing attorneys with up to three years’ experience to apply for a two-year Legal Fellowship to work on the ACLU of Vermont’s priority issues, including winning racial and economic justice, reimagining public safety, spurring criminal law reform, and strengthening our democracy. The Fellow’s tasks will involve a range of litigation and non-litigation advocacy, including investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, brief writing, and court hearings; working with and supporting coalition partners; and giving presentations to community groups.

The ACLU of Vermont is committed to developing the next generation of civil rights leaders; recognizing that talent comes from a variety of backgrounds, we have created this position to develop the talent of that next generation. This fellowship is designed for recent law school graduates, law clerks, and/or those recently admitted to legal practice, and will be for a two-year term. 

The ACLU of Vermont is simultaneously accepting applications for an Advocacy Fellow. Those interested in both positions are invited to submit a single application (detailed application instructions are below).

Please note that due to COVID-19, our organization is currently operating 100% remotely. This will continue until at least Sept. 1, 2021. Though we are likely to allow for remote work flexibility beyond that date, it is our expectation that the person hired to fill this position will eventually work from our Montpelier office with occasional travel throughout Vermont. 

About ACLU of Vermont

We are the Vermont affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. We fight for equality, justice, and freedom for all Vermonters – in the statehouse, in the courthouse, and through public education and engagement. We are also committed to co-creating and fostering a strong internal culture of belonging, with an emphasis on inclusive and equitable policies and practices. We are a passionate, highly motivated group of lawyers, public policy experts, lobbyists, communications professionals, community organizers, and fundraisers, and we are looking for exceptional talent to join our team. To learn more about the ACLU of Vermont, visit our website.

Responsibilities

The Legal Fellow will support the ACLU of Vermont’s integrated advocacy, with an emphasis on both litigation and non-litigation advocacy activities on a broad range of issues. The Legal Fellow will be involved in investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, brief writing, and court hearings. In addition, the Legal Fellow will have the opportunity to engage in non-litigation advocacy, including policy work, public speaking, and community engagement. The Fellow will work within the Legal Program under the supervision of the Legal Director or other Legal Program staff and in collaboration with our other programs.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Participate in investigating, developing, and litigating high-impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court.
  • Conduct factual and legal research; prepare memoranda; draft Freedom of Information Act requests; write demand letters; draft pleadings and briefs; conduct discovery; help write appellate and amicus briefs; attend and participate in court hearings and conferences.
  • Communicate with clients; answer client questions and manage class member interactions in ongoing litigation.
  • Review, comment on, and edit letters and briefs of co-counsel and other ACLU staff.
  • Work with volunteer lawyers to screen and develop promising cases.
  • Assist in day-to-day operations and support other Legal Program work, as needed.
  • Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with community organizations and networks – particularly community members impacted by policing and incarceration and racial justice initiatives led by people of color – and help advance the organization’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in both its internal and external-facing work.
  • Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s advocacy, communications, development, and legal programs.
  • Participate in community meetings and public education events.

Qualifications

  • Must be admitted to a state bar, or become admitted to the bar within six months of starting the position. Admission to the Vermont Bar is a preference, but not a requirement.
  • Demonstrated interest and/or background in constitutional and civil rights law.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the cause of social justice, civil liberties, and civil rights; committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs.
  • Exceptional writing, legal and policy research, and analytical skills. Excellent communication skills to both legal and non-legal audiences.
  • Commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, both in the workplace and in collaboration with community partners and constituents. Proven ability to work with emotional intelligence, receive feedback, work through conflict with integrity, and operate within principles of solidarity when working in partnership with constituencies impacted by oppression. Proven ability to work in a manner that respects differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance. Demonstrated knowledge of – or commitment to building or deepening understanding of – racial equity.
  • Ideal candidate is a creative, flexible, well-organized, and reliable person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities and manage a demanding schedule; a collaborative team player who is able to work independently, jointly, and under pressure; willing to learn; and a self-starter and finisher.
  • Proficiency with computers: Windows and Microsoft Office Suite in particular.
  • Willing to travel and to work irregular hours as needed, including evening and weekend meetings.

Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The ACLU of Vermont is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive office culture. We believe that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission and creates an environment where all members of our community can thrive.

The ACLU of Vermont strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or prior involvement in the criminal legal system. The ACLU of Vermont undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

Compensation and Benefits

We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience. Starting salary range for this position is $50,000-$55,000 annually. 

We understand how vital our work is and at the same time understand the toll engaged activism can take. Our goal is to retain staff and we believe that having a robust benefits offering is vital in meeting that goal. Our benefits include fully employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse or domestic partner; life insurance and disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; and generous vacation and sick leave, in addition to 14 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Application Procedure

To apply, email a letter of interest, resume, and short writing sample to search@acluvt.org. Include in the subject line of the email: your last name and “Legal Fellow.” For those also interested in the Advocacy Fellowship, please include “Legal and Advocacy Fellowships” in the subject line, and, if applicable, rank any preference for one position over the other in your letter of interest.

The letter of interest should describe your qualifications, including your cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with historically marginalized communities. In your letter, please also indicate where you learned of the posting.

We will begin reviewing applications the week of July 4, 2021, and will continue to consider them on a rolling basis until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at www.acluvt.org.  

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