Fall 2020 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship Opportunity
Notice to Third-Year Law Students and Recent Graduates
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Women’s Rights 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. 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 Women’s Rights Project of the National office in New York 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 Women’s Rights Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Liberty, which is dedicated to the principle that we are all entitled to determine the course of our lives based on who we are and what we believe, free from unreasonable government constraint and baseless stereotypes. The Center for Liberty encompasses the ACLU’s work on women’s rights, reproductive freedom, LGBT rights and the rights of people living with HIV, freedom of religion and belief, and the rights of people with disabilities.
Founded in 1972 by Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Women's Rights Project (WRP) has been a leader in the legal battles to ensure women’s full equality in American society. WRP is dedicated to the advancement of the rights and interests of women and works to break down gender stereotypes that limit opportunities for individuals. Through litigation, advocacy, grassroots mobilization, and public education, WRP pushes for change and systemic reform in those institutions that perpetuate discrimination based on gender. WRP has been an active participant in virtually all of the major gender discrimination litigation in the Supreme Court, in advocacy efforts for women’s rights at the state and federal level, and in significant communications efforts on behalf of women and girls.
We are particularly interested in a project addressing bias in big data and algorithms. Increasingly, the widespread adoption of artificial intelligence in both public and private decisions means that engaging with algorithmic systems is crucial to protecting civil rights and civil liberties in the twenty-first century. The ACLU is uniquely well-positioned to address these issues because it possesses deep expertise on both civil rights enforcement, and on the impacts of big-data driven tools and digital systems on equality. The Women’s Rights Project, Racial Justice Project and the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project work at the intersection of these technology-driven concerns, seeking to protect the rights of those most harmed by the explosive growth of these new systems—members of groups already marginalized by discrimination and exclusion.
Building on litigation already filed by the National ACLU and its affiliates relating to algorithmic discrimination, the fellow’s project will focus on one or both of the following two emerging areas, depending on their interest and the potential external sponsor:
(1) Challenging the practice of “Weblining” by developing litigation challenging creation of digital marketing tools on platforms that exclude users from receiving advertisements for economic opportunities, such as jobs, housing, or credit, based on discriminatory criteria including gender and race.
(2) Challenging the use of predictive analytics in child welfare interventions. The fellow will develop litigation challenging the secrecy surrounding use of predictive analytics for identifying families for investigation as well as family unification plans and removals.
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.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- 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.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- J.D. or expected to receive a J.D by the spring of 2020.
- Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, gender justice, racial justice, and/or eradicating employment, housing, credit, and algorithmic discrimination..
- Willingness to work closely with the Women’s 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.
HOW TO APPLY
If you would like to be considered for a sponsorship opportunity, please submit: a letter of interest that includes a description of a project proposal (please indicate in your letter of interest whether you only seek sponsorship for your proposal or would be open to other ideas)
- current resume
- legal writing sample
- names and telephone numbers of three references
Materials should be sent to hrjobsWRP@aclu.org referencing “2020 Legal Fellowship Sponsorship – Women’s Rights Project” in the subject line:
We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by June 10, 2019.
Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.
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 job 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, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, record of arrest or conviction, 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 address that is not related to 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.”