SUMMER 2017 LEGAL INTERNSHIP - ACLUF, Equality Center, Disability Rights Program, San Francisco and New York

National Offices, California
August 26, 2016

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Equality Center, Disability Rights Program, San Francisco & 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 defending the rights of people with disabilities, 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 ACLU has a long history of defending the rights of people with disabilities. It played a major role in securing passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, has battled discrimination against persons with HIV/AIDS, and stood up for the voting rights of persons with disabilities in the ongoing debate over electoral reform. It has fought to obtain adequate health care and access to services for prisoners with disabilities across the country and is now addressing fundamental civil rights issues in education, voting, criminal justice, and guardianship. 

The Equality Center – Disability Rights Program of the ACLU’s National Office in New York City and San Francisco seeks applicants for Summer 2017 Legal Internships. A stipend is available for those students who do not receive outside funding and/or course credit. Arrangements can be made with educational institutions for work/study or course credit.


The Disability Rights Program is currently focused in three areas:  reducing the use of restraint and seclusion in schools, fighting the overuse and abuse of guardianship (and moving toward Supported Decision Making models), and fighting the over-representation of people with disabilities in the criminal justice system. 


The internship is full-time and typically requires a 10 week commitment.


Our legal internship program is designed to provide legal interns with the opportunity to learn about public interest law, with a disability rights focus. Interns will work closely with the Equality Center – Disability Counsel.   Legal interns will gain experience by:

  • Providing legal research, analysis, and writing.
  • Conducting Internet and other factual research and collaborating with staff in preparing background memoranda on selected policy issues.
  • Collecting and analyzing statistical and social science data for use in litigation and policy presentations.
  • Supporting outreach to disability organizations.
  • Supporting the development and maintenance of website materials and other public information outlets.
  • Working on special projects and other duties as assigned.


The internship is open to students, who are currently enrolled in law school, who have completed their first semester, and who possess the following:

  • Excellent research, writing and communications skills.
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite, including Internet research.
  • Ability to work independently.
  • Experience with disability rights law, legislative lobbying, and personal experience with disability preferred.
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties issues. 


Please send a letter of interest describing your interest in disability rights and civil liberties, including any relevant life or work experience gained before or during law school; a resume; a writing sample (less than five pages); and the names and phone numbers of two references to - It is imperative that you reference [2017 Summer Legal Internship-Equality Center/ACLU-W] in the subject line. Please specify your desired office location in the cover letter. This email address is specific to Equality Center – Disability Rights Unit postings. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this internship opportunity.

Students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible as decisions are made on a rolling basis.

Applications will be accepted until the internship 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, 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 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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