Fall 2020 Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellowship - Racial Justice Program

  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • New York
  • Jun 04, 2019
Full time Public Policy

Job Description

Fall 2020 Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellowship - Racial Justice Program



Title:  Fall 2020 Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellowship

Office:  National Offices

Location:  New York, NY

Posted:  June 4 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 Racial Justice Program seeks applicants for a full-time, one-year Fellowship in its New York Office.  The Karpatkin Fellow will function as part of the Racial Justice Program’s litigation team.



The Karpatkin Fellowship was established by the ACLU Board of Directors in memory of Marvin M. Karpatkin, the late General Counsel of the American Civil Liberties Union, who died in January 1975, at the age of 48.  Mr. Karpatkin was one of the ACLU's most active attorneys during the 1960s and early 1970s.  He left his special mark in the areas of selective service and military law.  His interest in those areas grew out of his own strong opposition to the Vietnam War and his desire to help those who, younger than himself, were faced with performing military service in a war they would not support.

Racial Justice Program (RJP) attorneys and staff work to challenge racial discrimination and related issues that have a disparate impact on communities of color, particularly in the areas of criminal justice, economic justice, and education. In the area of criminal justice, RJP is dedicated to reducing the unwarranted and disproportionate targeting and incarceration of people of color.  In the area of education, RJP seeks to ensure that all children have access to quality education, regardless of race or ethnicity and also seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline that funnels children of color out of the education system into the criminal and juvenile justice systems. RJP has filed federal lawsuits against the practice of jailing and suspending the driver’s licenses of indigent people simply because of their inability to pay court fines and fees and is exploring other practices which have the effect of criminalizing poverty.  The program is also challenging racial profiling and working to counteract the negative effects of criminal history in accessing and retaining housing.



  • Conduct legal research and analysis and develop theories to support new litigation.
  • Conduct factual investigation to identify policies and practices that can be challenged through litigation.
  • Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs.
  • Review and analyze documents to support litigation and advocacy.
  • Interview witnesses and potential plaintiffs.
  • 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.
  • 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. degree at hire or by the Spring of 2020.
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, and racial justice.
  • Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively in a team and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks and see projects through to completion.
  • Excellent computer skills including knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite.
  • Commitment to the mission and goals 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.



Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation and at least one legal writing sample to   HRJobsRJP@aclu.org - reference  “2020 Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellowship”  in subject line.

The application deadline is October 1, 2019.

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

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.