Fall 2019 William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellowship [BFRW-01], Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, NY

Legal Fellowships
New York
October 1, 2018

FALL 2019 William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellowship [BFRW-01]

Notice to Third-Year Law Students and Recent Graduates

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Speech, Privacy, and Technology 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, 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, and record of arrest or conviction.

The Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project of the ACLU’s national office in New York City invites applications for the William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellowship, which will begin in September 2019 and last for one year.



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

The Speech, Privacy and Technology Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology. The ACLU has long worked to defend the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment and the right to privacy guaranteed by the Fourth Amendment. It has litigated numerous free-speech and privacy cases before the United States Supreme Court. Historically, the ACLU has been vigilant in fighting government censorship and surveillance that disproportionately impact marginalized individuals and communities, including immigrants and people of color. Currently, the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project is litigating cases and conducting other advocacy efforts on a variety of issues, including political protest, freedom of expression online, privacy of electronic information, journalists’ rights, scientific freedom, and openness in the courts.

The Brennan Fellowship, established by a special gift from author Tom Peters and poet Catherine Abbe and named after retired Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, was created to give people just starting their careers an opportunity to receive training and experience in First Amendment advocacy, and to help the ACLU advance its First Amendment goals. The Brennan Fellow will function as an integral part of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, and will work on our extensive docket of First and Fourth Amendment cases.



The Brennan Fellow's responsibilities will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  • Participating in trial litigation at all levels of federal and state courts, including conducting legal and factual research, interviewing clients, drafting briefs and pleadings, and assisting in discovery and motion practice 
  • Assisting in drafting amicus curiae briefs
  • Providing support for ACLU affiliate litigation
  • Serving as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work
  • Advancing ACLU policy goals through public education and through organizing and participating in coalitions
  • 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 who possess the following:

  • J.D. (or an expectation of receiving one by the Spring of 2019)
  • Skill at performing complex legal analytical work
  • Demonstrated commitment to public-interest law
  • Excellent legal research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  • Proven ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Ability to self-start and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Excellent computer skills including knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite
  • Knowledge of First and/or Fourth Amendments issues is preferred, but not required 
  • 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.



Please send application materials—which should include a cover letter, resume, two letters of recommendation, and at least one legal writing sample to: hrjobsSPT@aclu.org - please reference [BRFW-01/ACLU-W] in the subject line.


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

The application deadline is November 15, 2018.


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.

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 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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