Summer 2019 Legal Internship - Racial Justice Program, NY

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • Oct 11, 2018
Intern Legal

Job Description

Summer 2019 Legal Internship, Racial Justice Program, NY

Office:  Legal Internships

Location:  New York

OCTOBER 9, 2018



American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Racial Justice Program, NY


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.  Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, 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 and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. 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 Racial Justice Program of the ACLU’s National Office in New York City seeks legal interns for the Summer of 2019. A stipend is available for those students who do not receive outside funding and/or course credit.  Arrangements can also be made with the students’ law school for work/study stipends or course credit.



The ACLU's Racial Justice Program challenges racial discrimination and other practices and policies that have a direct or disparate impact on communities of color with a particular emphasis on education, criminal justice, and economic justice issues.

RJP seeks to ensure that all children have access to equal, high quality educational opportunities, regardless of race or ethnicity. Likewise, RJP is dedicated to exposing and eliminating discriminatory practices and policies which have a disproportionate impact on communities of color throughout the criminal justice system, particularly those that criminalize poverty by subjecting indigent people to jailing, driver’s license suspension, or other disproportionate punishment because of an inability to pay court fines and fees. RJP has worked to assure that persons of color have access to economic opportunities in the areas of government programs and access to fair credit home and home ownership.

Recognizing the potential of new forms of discrimination resulting from the rapid advance of digital technology, RJP has increasingly turned its attention to taking steps to monitoring and taking action to counter the discriminatory effects of digital platforms. RJP also seeks to expand its work on providing protection against discrimination for Native American individuals and tribes. And we want to explore cutting edge ideas for new litigation strategies to advance racial justice.

In furtherance of these goals, RJP, often working with the ACLU's 53 affiliates nationwide, has filed lawsuits challenging disparate educational opportunities, racial and ethnic profiling, policies and practices which push children out of the education system into the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, unfair lending practices and a range of police and criminal justice system practices which have a particularly adverse impact on communities of color. RJP has also engaged in other innovative advocacy and public education efforts including the development of resource materials and web sites addressing a number of racial justice issues. RJP is part of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality, which also includes the ACLU's work on criminal justice reform, eliminating the death penalty, and upholding the rights of those who are incarcerated in American prisons and jails.



The Racial Justice Program is offering Legal Interns the opportunity to work on all aspects of litigation.  The Internship is full-time and typically requires a 10 week commitment.



Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the RJP team. Interns will assist in all aspects of litigation.  Interns will gain experience by working on the following:

  • Conducting factual and legal research
  • Drafting pleadings, briefs and other litigation documents
  • Researching prospects for new litigation, including factual and legal claims
  • Assisting in the preparation of expert and percipient witnesses for courtroom testimony



The opportunity is open to all law students who will have completed their first year of law school before the internship commences. 

Applicants should possess:

  • Excellent research, writing, analytical and communication skills
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion
  • A demonstrated commitment to racial justice issues, civil rights, and civil liberties



Applicants should send a cover letter, describing their interest in racial justice issues and civil liberties, including any relevant life or work experience gained before or during law school; a resume and two references, and a legal writing sample of no more than ten pages in length, to  Reference  [RJP Summer 2019 Legal Internship/W]  in the subject line.  Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address.  This email address is specific to Racial Justice Program postings.  In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address.


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.

Students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, as decisions are made on a rolling basis.


This posting provides a general but not comprehensive list of the opportunities of the internship. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the posting at any time without advance notice.

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 record of arrest or conviction.  

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:  Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”




A stipend is available for those students who do not receive outside funding and/or course credit. Arrangements can be made with the student’s school for a work/study stipend or course credit.