The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Virginia seeks one or more applicants to sponsor for public interest fellowships. The ACLU of Virginia will consider applications from third-year law students and attorneys who are seeking funding from outside sources such as Equal Justice Works, the Skadden and Soros Foundations, and school-specific sources.

Formally established in 1969, the ACLU-VA is Virginia’s premier guardian of civil liberties and a recognized champion of civil rights for all Virginians. The ACLU-VA is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that promotes civil liberties and civil rights for everyone in the Commonwealth through public education, litigation, and advocacy with the goal of securing freedom and equality for all. The ACLU-VA is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender nationally of civil liberties guaranteed by our nation’s Bill of Rights. To learn more about our work, please visit www.acluva.org and www.aclu.org.

ACLU-VA litigates impact cases addressing a wide range of constitutional issues, including free speech, religious freedom, police misconduct, reproductive freedom, voting rights, privacy, drug policy, LGBT rights, and the rights of people of color, women, immigrants, and prisoners.

Subject Area of Fellowship: ACLU-VA welcomes fellowship applications on any significant issue involving civil liberties or civil rights. ACLU-VA is particularly interested in issues related to criminal justice reform, ending sex discrimination, challenging LGBT discrimination, advancing equality for immigrants and racial and ethnic minorities, and the intersection of privacy rights and technology.

ACLU-VA will work with successful applicants to develop a proposal and tailor a fellowship program that both addresses an important civil liberties issue and develops the fellow’s skills as a lawyer, while satisfying the funding organization’s requirements. The fellow will work with the ACLU-VA Legal Director and staff attorneys on litigation, including trial and appellate work, as well as non-litigation advocacy work (e.g., public education, public speaking, and legislative work), with other ACLU-VA staff.

Major Responsibilities/Activities:

  • Assist the Legal Director with all aspects of litigation, including conducting legal research and analysis and developing theories to support new litigation projects;
  • Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs;
  • Interview potential clients and witnesses;
  • Participate in discovery and trial practice;
  • Draft and edit public education and non-litigation advocacy materials; and
  • Engage in public speaking and attend meetings and/or conferences, as needed.

Minimum Requirements:

  • Received J.D. from an accredited law school.
  • Admitted to the Virginia Bar or eligible for admission within one year, if required by the fellowship.
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills.
  • Extensive knowledge of the Bill of Rights, and major civil rights laws.
  • Strong commitment to the mission of the ACLU.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, and able to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.

Essential Mental Functions:

  • Ability to take initiative, problem-solve, multi-task, and work independently.
  • Ability to work well with people and as a part of a team.
  • Demonstrated ability to juggle and prioritize many concurrent tasks at once, manage a high-volume workload, pay extremely close attention to detail, adapt quickly to changing organizational priorities, and meet moving deadlines.

How to Apply: Applications must include a cover letter describing your interests, proposal outline, and qualifications for the fellowship together with a resume and writing sample. Applications should be addressed to Leslie Mehta, Legal Director, ACLU of Virginia, 701 E. Franklin Street, Suite 1412, Richmond, VA 23219 and sent to jobs[at]acluva.org with subject line “Legal Fellowship.” ACLU-VA will review applications on a rolling basis as fellowship deadlines require.

The ACLU of Virginia is an equal opportunity employer.  We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Virginia encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.   Persons with disabilities may request accommodations.

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