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

Legal Fellowships
New York
July 10, 2017

William J. Brennan First Amendment Fellowship [BFRW-01]
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, 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 Speech, Privacy, and Technology 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. In addition to the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, the Center for Democracy includes the Human Rights Program and the National Security Project.

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 ACLU has long worked to defend the freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment, and it has litigated numerous free-speech cases before the United States Supreme Court. Historically, the ACLU has been vigilant in fighting government censorship that disproportionately impacts marginalized speakers and communities, including immigrants, people of color, lesbians, and gay men. Currently, the ACLU is at the forefront of groundbreaking cases to protect freedom of expression on the Internet. The ACLU is also fighting government efforts to silence protestors and suppress the free speech and privacy rights of other individuals. The Brennan Fellow will function as an integral part of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, and will focus on our extensive docket of First 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.


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 2018);
  • 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 Amendment 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—via email to hrjobsSPT@aclu.org (with [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 October 1, 2017.

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, 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.”

Stay Informed