ABOUT THE JOB

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 Racial Justice Program of the National office in New York, NY 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 2022.

The Racial Justice Program (RJP) is part of the ACLU’s Trone Center for Justice and Equality, which works to combat racial discrimination; to ensure that our criminal justice system is fair, and free of racial bias; to advocate for humane and constitutional conditions of confinement; and to abolish the death penalty as a legitimate form of punishment. The Trone Center for Justice and Equality also includes the Criminal Law Reform Project, Capital Punishment Project, and the National Prison Project.

RJP works on a broad range of racial justice issues, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, education and economic justice. In the area of criminal justice, we are dedicated to reducing the unwarranted and disproportionate targeting, arrest and incarceration of people of color, as well as eliminating barriers to reentry after contact with the criminal legal system. Our economic justice work includes fair housing, equal employment and eliminating policies and practices that criminalize poverty – particularly the jailing of people for their inability to pay court fines and fees. In the area of education, we advocate against the racially disproportionate use of police and school discipline among students of color. Working with colleagues across the ACLU, we work to prevent algorithmic discrimination by both state and private actors. Our robust Indigenous Justice practice advances principles of tribal sovereignty through litigation and advocacy in such issues as land and water rights and education.

Our staff will work with candidates to develop their proposals for submission, helping tailor the proposal to address an important civil liberties issue. Proposed projects often combine litigation and advocacy with community outreach and public education.

RJP seeks to sponsor a Legal Fellow to develop a project that advances our campaign to eliminate reentry barriers resulting from contact with the criminal legal system.  These barriers block or limit access to work, housing, credit, transportation and countless other opportunities and services that ensure that individuals, families, and communities can thrive.  RJP is particularly interested in projects that challenge barriers faced by women of color and LGBT people of color who have been targeted by the criminal legal system. 

Some possible proposals include:

  • The particular ways occupational licensing schemes bar women and LGBT people of color with criminal records from entry into a wide swath of professions that are traditionally occupied by those same communities – e.g. nursing, teaching, and the aesthetics industry including work in hair braiding and beauty salons – as a result of “good moral character” requirements.
  • The particular ways in which legal fines and fees impact Black women and other low-income women of color. This would build on RJP’s advocacy and litigation to end debtors’ prison and drivers’ license suspensions resulting from a person’s inability to pay.
  • The particular ways in which sex offender registry provisions impact women and LGBT people of color – e.g. arising from involvement in the sex industry, or convictions that are rooted in HIV status

 

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
  • 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 the mission of the ACLU
  • 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 expected to receive a J.D. by the spring of 2022
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, and racial justice
  • Willingness to work closely with RJP 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

COMPENSATION

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 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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