Fall 2019 Law & Policy Internships
Location: San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno, CA offices
Deadline: Please apply early in the hiring cycle as decisions are made on a rolling basis.
The ACLU-NC invites applications for internships for law and graduate students in the Legal-Policy Department. Students willing to work with intensity and focus will find an internship at the ACLU-NC a rewarding learning experience. Qualified applicants are enthusiastic, creative, and detail-oriented; have excellent research, writing, and oral communication skills; and, can articulate a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU.
We are currently accepting applications for Fall 2019.
About the Legal-Policy Department
The Legal-Policy Department pursues cutting edge impact litigation and promotes policy change in order to defend and expand the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The work of the Department covers a vast span of issues with particular emphasis in ten core areas: Criminal Justice, Education Equity, Equality (including economic, environmental, and racial justice, in addition to gender equality), First Amendment, Immigrants’ Rights, LGBT Rights, National Security, Reproductive Justice, Technology and Civil Liberties, and Voting Rights. The Department’s attorneys, policy directors, and assistants are based in San Francisco, Sacramento-metro office, and Fresno. Department staff work closely with the other departments within the ACLU-NC, including Organizing & Community Engagement, Communications, Development, Finance & Administration, as well as with ACLU of California Center for Advocacy and Policy in Sacramento.
Litigation Interns work directly with one or more attorneys and conduct legal research and writing in support of active and potential impact litigation that spans the ten core issue areas. Interns may be asked to draft legal memoranda, portions of court documents, and pre-litigation demand letters. When possible, interns attend appellate arguments, trial proceedings, and depositions. Additionally, interns may be asked to investigate facts and possible legal claims arising from intakes received via the Civil Liberties Hotline. Interns are encouraged to attend and participate in monthly program meetings, where prospective litigation and strategy are discussed.
Applicants must currently be attending law school. For fall applicants, preference is given to students who will have completed their second year of law school, but applications from all interested students are welcome. The Legal-Policy Department accepts 3-4 Litigation Interns per term. Litigation intern positions are open in our San Francisco, Sacramento-metro, and Fresno offices.
Technology & Civil Liberties Internship
The Technology and Civil Liberties Intern will participate in cutting edge legal and policy work to safeguard privacy and free speech in the modern digital world. Interns will conduct legal and factual research and help draft reports, analyses, articles, and testimony to the legislature and regulatory agencies and brief the ACLU of California and National ACLU staff on a variety of technology issues. Interns will have the opportunity to participate in strategy meetings with other ACLU staff, work with other interns in the San Francisco office, and likely attend technology meetings and events throughout the Bay Area.
Applicants must currently be enrolled in law school or a graduate program in Computer Science, Engineering, Information Science, Public Policy, Political Science, Journalism, or a related field, and must demonstrate a strong interest in the intersection of civil liberties and new technology, particularly privacy and free speech. This internship is only available for the San Francisco office.
Reproductive Justice Internship
The Reproductive Justice Intern will assist with projects to ensure that Californians have access to the services, information, and other supports they need to make reproductive health decisions and exercise their reproductive rights. Interns will have the opportunity to conduct research, draft materials, and otherwise work on various issues encompassed by our Reproductive Justice Project. Interns will participate in staff meetings and strategy meetings with coalition partners and assist in fact-gathering for local and state advocacy efforts through Public Records Act requests, field interviews, and other strategies.
Applicants must currently be enrolled in law school or a graduate program in public health, social work, public policy, or a related field, and applicants must demonstrate a passion for reproductive justice and a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU. This internship is only available for the San Francisco office.
Criminal Justice Internship
The Criminal Justice (CJ) Intern will participate in the CJ Project’s new Prosecutorial Accountability Project: What a Difference a DA Makes. The project aims to increase engagement in prosecutorial elections, increase accountability and prevent error, and draw attention to the immense power and discretion exercised by prosecutors. Interns will conduct legal and policy research and analysis, help author reports, draft advocacy materials, and assist with legislative or other local campaigns. Interns may attend and participate in public hearings at the state and county level and participate in meetings with criminal justice policy-makers and advocates as such opportunities arise.
Applicants must currently be attending law or graduate school and demonstrate a passion for criminal justice issues and a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU. This internship is only available for the San Francisco office.
School Year Internships
School year internships are full- or part-time, generally requiring a 16 – 24 hours per week commitment. Students on the semester system must be able to commit to working 12 – 14 weeks. Students on the quarter system can serve shorter quarter-long internships. We greatly prefer that part-time interns commit to work full days (i.e., two eight-hour days rather than four four-hour days) and recommend that students commit as many days a week as possible for the best internship experience. Semester interns earn academic credit as determined by their law schools. School year internships are available in our San Francisco, Sacramento-metro, and Fresno offices.
Summer internships are full-time for 10 – 12 weeks and usually begin the day after Memorial Day. “Split” summers may be considered where the intern is available for a minimum of 10 weeks. Part-time internships are not available during the summer. For summer internships, students are encouraged to seek independent funding through their schools where available. The ACLU-NC will consider matching grants and may provide additional funding as available. Summer internships are available in our San Francisco, Sacramento-metro, and Fresno offices.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early in the hiring cycle as decisions are made on a rolling basis.
- Spring term: Applications will be accepted beginning September 15 for the following spring term.
- Summer term: Applications will be accepted beginning October 15 for the following summer term.
- Fall term: Applications will be accepted beginning March 5 for the following fall term.
How to apply
Applications from all interested students are welcome. Applications must include the following in PDF format: (1) Cover Letter that includes a statement about (a) which internship you are applying for and what location, (b) a brief statement about why you want to work on that issue and location at the ACLU-NC, and (c) how you encountered the internship opening; (2) Resume; (3) Writing Sample; and, (4) List of References with contact information.
Submit Fall 2019 applications online at
The ACLU of Northern California advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, arrest or conviction record, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU-NC strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is supportive and free from discrimination.