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Deadline date

July 10, 2019

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), the New York state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), seeks rising 3Ls, current judicial law clerks, or otherwise eligible fellowship applicants to sponsor for fellowships. For years, we have hosted fellows funded by Skadden, Equal Justice Works, Open Society Foundations, and other organizations and schools, and currently have four fellows for the 2018-19 year.

The NYCLU is one of the nation's leading advocates on behalf of constitutional rights and liberties.  Founded in 1951, the NYCLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with more than 140,000 members and supporters, and eight offices statewide. We work in the courts, in the legislatures and on the streets to advocate for racial and economic justice, free speech, freedom of religion, privacy and equality before the law for all New Yorkers. For more information please visit our website:  www.nyclu.org


In the past we have sponsored fellowship candidates to conduct litigation, research, and/or advocacy on a wide range of issues and we will continue to review any project proposal relating to civil liberties and civil rights.  To assist candidates in developing projects that best align with our current priorities, we provide the following list of examples, among the broad range of issues the NYCLU prioritizes, that may have potential to become fellowship projects for this coming funding cycle:

  • Projects focused on reforming or challenging inequitable policies and practices that exacerbate mass incarceration (e.g., bail, parole, and prosecutorial decisions)
  • Projects that build on our existing work challenging the immigration detention regimes for adults and children
  • Projects regarding the school-to-prison pipeline and the reduction and regulation of police in schools through the development of memoranda of understanding and other forms of advocacy
  • Projects that will benefit students with disabilities and students who are English language learners in the public-school system, including academic supports, due process, access to services, enrollment and matriculation, and school climate improvement
  • Projects focused on ending the use of religion to discriminate against New Yorkers, particularly women and LGBTQ individuals, in various contexts (e.g., health care and insurance, education, employment, and public accommodations)
  • Projects focused on investigating systemic failures in New York State school district elections culminating in a written report on the poor state of these critical elections, as well as litigation and legislative strategies to ensure that these elections are administered in ways that vindicate state and federal protections for the right to vote and to increase political participation.

The ideal candidate should have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and civil liberties and a willingness to collaborate extensively with the NYCLU to shape the project proposal through the Fall 2019 application process. 


If you would like to be considered for sponsorship, please send an application, including a resume, writing sample, a cover letter, and a brief description (1-2 pages) of a project proposal. To the extent possible, briefly indicate in your proposal how your project would also advance racial justice (e.g., by identifying, challenging, and undoing the effects and ideologies of racism). Because we are still assessing which subject areas to submit proposals for, please include in your cover letter whether you only seek sponsorship for your proposed project or would be open to projects that we suggest.  Applications may be emailed to apply.legal@nyclu.org with “2020 Legal Fellowship” as the subject line.  Though the NYCLU may consider applications submitted after July 10, 2019, priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by that date.

The NYCLU is proud to be an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and encourages all applicants regardless of race, sex, gender identity, age, disability, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, veteran status or record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to diversity, equity and inclusion, and having a workforce that reflects the populations that we serve.                                                        

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