Location: We expect our Summer 2022 internships will proceed in-person at our offices in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno. In your application materials please include your preference and willingness to be based in each of these locations.  

Deadline: Open until filled.

The ACLU of Northern California’s Legal-Policy Department invites law students to apply for its Democracy & Civic Engagement Internship.  Students willing to work with intensity and focus will find an internship at ACLU NorCal a rewarding learning experience. Qualified applicants are enthusiastic, creative, and detail-oriented; have strong research, writing, and oral communication skills; and can articulate a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU. 

About the Legal-Policy Department

The Legal-Policy Department pursues cutting edge impact litigation and promotes policy change in order to defend and expand the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Department’s work focuses on six broad program areas:  Criminal Justice; Democracy & Civic Engagement; Gender, Sexuality & Reproductive Justice; Immigrants’ Rights; Racial & Economic Justice; and Technology & Civil Liberties.  The Department’s staff is based in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno, although staff is currently carrying out work remotely due to Covid-19.  Department staff work closely with other departments within ACLU NorCal, including Organizing, Communications, Development, Finance & Administration, as well as with ACLU California Action.

Democracy & Civic Engagement Internship

Democracy & Civic Engagement Interns work directly with one or more attorneys in support of the Program’s litigation and policy work, which focuses on voting rights, the First Amendment, and open government. Interns are responsible for conducting legal research, as well as for drafting legal memoranda, court documents, pre-litigation demand letters, and public records act requests. Additionally, interns may be asked to investigate facts and possible legal claims arising from intakes received via the Civil Liberties Hotline.  When possible, interns will attend appellate arguments, trial proceedings, and depositions. Interns are also encouraged to participate in regular meetings with team members and with Department staff to discuss litigation and policy strategies.  At times, assignments may arise that provide interns the opportunity to work across the Department’s six broad program areas, including in the areas of Racial and Economic Justice, Technology and Civil Liberties, Criminal Justice, and Immigrants’ Rights.

Applicants must currently be attending law school.  The Legal-Policy Department accepts 1-2 Democracy & Civic Engagement Interns per term. 

Application Process

Summer internships are full-time for 10 – 12 weeks and usually begin the day after Memorial Day. “Split” summers may be considered where the intern is available for a minimum of 10 weeks. Part-time internships are not available during the summer.

For summer internship funding, students should seek available funding through their schools. For students coming from schools that do not offer summer funding or who do not obtain adequate school funding, ACLU NorCal will consider providing funding to students, as available.

Application deadlines

Applicants are encouraged to apply early in the hiring cycle. 

  • Spring term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around September 24 for the following spring term.
  • Summer term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around October 5 for the following summer term. ACLU NorCal staff will not begin to review applications from first year law students until December 2, 2021.
  • Fall term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around March 15 for the following Fall term.

How to apply

Applications from all interested law and graduate students are welcome. (Please note that ACLU NorCal does not consider applications from undergraduate students.)  Applications must include the following in PDF format:  (1) Cover Letter that includes (a) a brief statement about why you want to work on the particular Program Team you’ve applied for, (b) your preference and willingness to be based in each of our three office locations (San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno), and (c) how you encountered the internship opening; (2) Resume; (3) Writing Sample; and, (4) List of References with contact information. 

The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU NorCal strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.  ACLU NorCal will consider for employment all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

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