Fall 2019 National Security Fellowship [NSP-13], National Security Project, NY

Legal Fellowships
New York
October 1, 2018

FALL 2019 National Security Fellowship [NSP-13]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

National Security Project, 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, 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, national origin, and record of arrest or conviction. 

The National Security Project of the ACLU National office in New York City invites applications for the National Security Fellowship, which will last for a two-year period beginning in September 2019.



The National Security Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to strengthen democratic institutions and values, and advocates for government transparency and accountability, and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The Center for Democracy includes, in addition to the National Security Project, the Human Rights Program, the Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, the Immigrants’ Rights Project, and the Voting Rights Project. 

The National Security Project is dedicated to ensuring that U.S. national security policies and practices are consistent with the Constitution, civil liberties, and human rights. The Project seeks to ensure that our nation’s core democratic values are the foundation of its strength and security, and that our government’s response to national security concerns comport with those values. Through litigation and advocacy strategies, the Project responds to specific government measures, and strives also to educate the public and shape the law so that the courts, Congress, and citizenry can serve as an enduring check against abuse. The Project’s litigation and advocacy focuses on issues including: government surveillance, targeted killing, unlawful detention, accountability for torture, discrimination, censorship, and secrecy.



The National Security Fellow functions as an integral part of the ACLU’s National Security Project. The Fellow’s responsibilities will include but are not limited to the following:

  • 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 to ACLU affiliates
  • 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, and record of arrest or conviction
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts



The Fellow is selected from third-year law students or recent graduates and will serve for a two-year period starting September 2019.

 Applicants must possess:

  • J.D. from a U.S. law school 
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  • A 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
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion and be self-starters
  • A demonstrated commitment to public interest law
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the ACLU
  • Knowledge of and interest in civil liberties issues related to national security is preferred, but not required.



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



Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation and at least one legal writing sample (preferably unedited by anyone other than the applicant) via email to hrjobsNSP@aclu.org - reference [NSP-13] in the subject line.

The application deadline is November 15, 2018.

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


This fellowship 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 fellowship 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, veteran status, and 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: hrjobsincl@aclu.org. Correspondence sent to this 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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