Fall 2017 Legal Internship Opportunity, ACLUF, National Prison Project, Washington, DC

Legal Internships
District of Columbia
April 7, 2017

Fall 2017 Legal Internship Opportunity
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
National Prison Project, Washington, DC

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, 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. With more than a 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 or national origin.

The National Prison Project of the ACLU’s National Office in Washington, D.C. invites applicants for Fall 2017 Legal Internships. The Fall Legal Internship is either full-time or part-time with weekly hours that are negotiable, requires a commitment for the semester, and has a preferred start date of early September 2017. Stipends will be offered to interns who do not receive course credit and/or outside funding. Arrangements can be made with educational institutions for work/study or course credit.


Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project (NPP) seeks to ensure constitutional conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention facilities. The Project has successfully litigated on behalf of prisoners in more than 25 states. Since 1991 it has represented prisoners in five cases before the United States Supreme Court. The ACLU through its National Prison Project is one of several organizations that litigate conditions of confinement cases nationwide on behalf of men, women, and children.

NPP policy priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner health care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in prisons, jails, and other places of detention. The Project leads the nationwide Stop Solitary campaign, which works to end the excessive and inappropriate use of solitary confinement. The Project also coordinates a nationwide network of litigators, conducts training and public education conferences, and provides expert advice and technical assistance to activists and lawyers throughout the country.

The Project also works to challenge the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. This is an opportune moment to reform those policies. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response to non- violent behavior that could better be addressed through other means. The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 15 years and now approaches two and a half million. Facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; and work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate. This failed experiment does not make us safer, it is not affordable, and it exacerbates the racial disparities that have long plagued the criminal justice system.



Legal interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the National Prison Project team. Interns will gain experience by:

  • Conducting factual and legal research related to ongoing litigation.

  • Researching prospects for new litigation, including both factual and legal claims.

  • Assistance in drafting of pleadings, briefs and other litigation documents.

  • Researching and drafting materials for public education.


The legal internship is open to all law students who will have completed their first year of law school before the internship commences. Desired qualifications include:

  • Excellent research, writing, analytical and communication skills.

  • The initiative to see projects through to completion.

  • The ability to work with a wide range of people.

  • A familiarity with criminal justice issues is highly desirable.


Please send a cover letter describing your interest in prison reform and civil liberties, including any relevant life or work experience; a legal writing sample; a resume; and three references tohrjobsNPP@aclu.org. Reference [Fall 2017 Legal Internship, NPP] in the subject line. If applying for a part-time internship, please specify in your application your preferred weekly schedule.


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


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the description and/or 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, and veteran status.


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:hrjobsincl@aclu.org. 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.”

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