Summer 2014 Legal Internship-ACLUF Center for Democracy, New York

October 21, 2013

Center for Democracy, New York

For more than 93 years, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country.  Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU has offices in all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and brings together the country’s largest team of public interest lawyers, lobbyists, communication strategists, members and activists in the advancement of equality, fairness, and freedom, especially for the most vulnerable in our society. 

The Center for Democracy (CFD) of the ACLU’S National Office in New York City seeks legal interns in the areas of national security, human rights, and speech, privacy, and technology for the Summer of 2014.


The ACLU’s Center for Democracy works to strengthen democratic values, promote human rights and ensure government accountability. The Center for Democracy includes the National Security Project, the Human Rights Program and the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project.

The Human Rights Program (HRP) is dedicated to holding the U.S. government accountable to its international; human rights obligations and commitments. The Program uses human rights strategies to complement existing ACLU legal and legislative advocacy primarily in the areas of immigrants' rights, national security, women's rights, prisoners’ rights, criminal law reform, and racial justice. It conducts human rights documentation and related advocacy to combat human rights violations in the U.S., and it engages in advocacy and litigation before U.S. courts and international bodies, including the United Nations and regional human rights bodies (such as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights).

The Speech, Privacy and Technology Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry.  It is also dedicated to expanding the right to privacy, 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 Project is currently 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 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 believes 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 must comport with those values.  Through its litigation and advocacy strategies, NSP not only responds to specific government measures, but also strives to educate the public and shape the law so that the courts, Congress, and citizenry can serve as an enduring check against abuse. The National Security Project’s litigation and advocacy focuses on issues including: targeted killing, unlawful detention, accountability for torture, discrimination, government surveillance, censorship, and secrecy.


The Center for Democracy is offering Summer Legal Interns the opportunity to work on all aspects of litigation.  Our Summer Legal Internship requires a 10 to 12 week commitment and is full-time.  Students are highly encouraged to seek public interest fellowship funds.  Arrangements can also be made with the student's law school for work/study stipends or course credit.


Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working alongside the Center’s attorneys. While Interns will have the opportunity to work with each of the Center’s three Projects, they will work primarily with one of them. (Applicants should indicate their preferences in their cover letters.) Interns will gain hands on experience in all aspects of litigation, including but not limited:

  • Conducting legal research and factual investigation.
  • Drafting memoranda, affidavits, and briefs.
  • Other projects as assigned.


This Legal Internship is open to first and second year law students who possess the following:

  • Excellent research, writing, and communication skills.
  • A strong commitment to human rights and civil liberties issues. 
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion.


Applicants should send a cover letter explaining their interest in the internship, their preference for a “primary” Project, a resume, a list of three references, an official or unofficial transcript, and a legal writing sample, of 10 pages or less to (please reference [CFD Summer 2014 Legal Internship] in the subject line) or by mail to:

Law Student Intern Program
RE: CFD Summer 2014 Legal Internship
American Civil Liberties Union
125 Broad Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10004

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 from second year law students must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2013.  Applications from first year law students may be submitted beginning December 1, 2013 and must be postmarked no later than January 15, 2014.

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, 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 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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