• American Civil Liberties Union
  • New York, NY, USA
  • May 29, 2019
Full time Public Policy

Job Description




Title:  Fall 2020 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship

Office:  National Offices

Location:  New York, NY

Posted:  May 24 2019



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. 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 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 Immigrants’ Rights Project of the National office in New York, NY and San Francisco, CA 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 2020.




The Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) is a national project of the ACLU with offices in New York, NY and San Francisco, CA. Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach, the Project carries on the ACLU’s commitment to protecting the rights and liberties of immigrants. In federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, and state courts, the Project conducts the nation’s largest impact litigation program dedicated to defending and expanding the rights of immigrants, enforcing the guarantees of the Constitution, and achieving equal justice under the law.


The Project has most recently been engaged in litigation and advocacy to challenge:

  • the separation of parents and children at the border;
  • policies that bar eligibility for asylum, force asylum seekers to await their removal proceedings in Mexico, and deny asylum to survivors of domestic violence or gang violence;
  • the detention of asylum seekers,
  • use of mandatory and prolonged immigration detention,
  • detention of immigrants based on their lack of financial resources;
  • the Muslim travel ban;
  • the lack of due process in the deportation system, including the lack of appointed counsel and federal court review of deportation orders;
  • constitutional violations that arise from state and local immigration laws and enforcement policies, including state anti-immigrant laws and immigration-related civil rights violations by local police and sheriffs;
  • the arbitrary termination of grants Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) without notice or process;
  • illegal enforcement tactics used by federal immigration and border patrol agents, including abusive immigration detainer practices and unjustified cross-border shootings by U.S. Border Patrol.


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.  Some examples of past proposals include: challenging barriers to equitable public education for immigrant youth; establishing a right to counsel for children in immigration proceedings; protecting the rights of immigrants to drivers’ licenses and higher education; challenging discrimination against Dreamers in employment and education; protecting the rights of children and asylum seekers in immigration proceedings.




  • 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.
  • Help manage summer legal internship program and supervise student interns.
  • Engage in public speaking and attend meetings and/or conferences as needed.
  • 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, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.




  • D. or award of a J.D by the spring of 2020.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, and/or immigrants’ rights.
  • Willingness to work closely with the Immigrants’ 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.
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.




The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale, to supplement the external funding.




If you would like to be considered for a sponsorship opportunity, please submit:

  • a letter of interest that includes any particular immigrants’ rights issues that you find most compelling
  • a current resume
  • unofficial law school transcript
  • legal writing sample
  • names and telephone numbers of two references


Materials should be sent to  hrjobsIRP@aclu.org  referencing  “2020 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship – IRP”  in the subject line.


Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Priority consideration will be given applications received by June 11, 2019.


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 e-mail 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.




The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.