Location: For Spring 2023, students located in proximity to one of our three office locations (Fresno, Sacramento, or San Francisco) may opt to work with us in-person. Students not located in proximity to one of our three office locations may work with us remotely.
Deadline: Open until filled.
The ACLU of Northern California’s Legal-Policy Department invites law students to apply for an internship embedded within the Legal-Policy Department, working with the Legal Director to research and evaluate emergent issues and referrals that cut across all six of our programmatic issue areas. Students willing to work with intensity and focus will find this opportunity at ACLU NorCal a rewarding learning experience. Qualified applicants are enthusiastic, creative, and detail-oriented; have strong research, writing, and oral communication skills; and can articulate a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU.
About the Legal-Policy Department
The Legal-Policy Department promotes policy change and pursues cutting edge impact litigation to defend and expand the civil liberties and civil rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. The Department’s work focuses on six broad program areas: Criminal Justice; Democracy & Civic Engagement; Gender, Sexuality & Reproductive Justice; Immigrants’ Rights; Racial & Economic Justice; and Technology & Civil Liberties. The Department’s staff is based in San Francisco, Sacramento, and Fresno. Department staff work closely with other departments within ACLU NorCal, including Organizing, Communications, Development, Finance & Administration, as well as with ACLU California Action.
Legal Director Internship
The Legal Director Intern will work directly with the ACLU NorCal Legal Director (with a primary focus on legal research and writing) to advance the goals of the Legal-Policy Department writ large. Interns will conduct legal and factual research and will be asked to draft legal memoranda, analyses and summaries of case law, and portions of briefs. Additionally, interns may be asked to investigate facts and possible legal claims arising from intakes or to further research areas of law or questions presented in internal memos. Interns are encouraged to participate in strategy meetings with other ACLU staff and coalition partners, as well as monthly department meetings where prospective litigation and policies strategy are discussed. At times, work may arise that gives interns the opportunity to work across the Department’s six broad program areas, including in the areas of Democracy & Civic Engagement, Racial and Economic Justice, Immigrants’ Rights, Criminal Justice, Gender, Sexuality & Reproductive Justice, Technology and Civil Liberties and with the National ACLU and other ACLU offices across the state of California.
Applicants must currently be attending law school. Applicants must demonstrate a passion for and a commitment to work for social justice and the ideals of the ACLU. The Legal-Policy Department accepts one Legal Director Intern per term.
School Year Internships (Spring and Fall Terms)
School year internships are full- or part-time, generally requiring a 16 hours per week minimum 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. Please note: School year interns must earn academic credit, as determined by their institution, for their participation in our Spring/Fall internship programs.
Applicants are encouraged to apply early in the hiring cycle.
- Spring term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around August 22 for the following Spring term.
- Summer term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around September 5 for the following summer term. ACLU NorCal staff will not begin to review applications from first year law students until December 2, 2022.
- Fall term: Applications will be accepted beginning on or around March 15 for the following Fall term.
How to apply
Applications from all interested law and graduate students are welcome. (Please note that ACLU NorCal does not consider applications from undergraduate students.) Applications must include the following in PDF format: (1) Cover Letter that includes (a) a brief statement about why you want to work on the particular Program/Issue Area you’ve applied for, (b) whether you are interested in in-person work or remote work, and (c) how you encountered the internship opening; (2) Resume; (3) Writing Sample; and, (4) List of References with contact information.
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, ACLU NorCal strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is supportive and free from discrimination.