LEGAL FELLOWSHIP – EXTERNALLY FUNDED

DEADLINE DATE

These applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis keeping in mind that several of the potential fellowship application deadlines are in the Fall of each year. Priority will be given to those applications submitted before July 5.

POSITION OVERVIEW

The ACLU of Kansas welcomes graduating third-year law students, judicial clerks, and recent law school graduates to apply for a sponsorship opportunity with our legal team. Selected applicants will work with the ACLU of Kansas to develop and submit their selected proposal for national public interest law fellowships, such as Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Soros, the Justice Catalyst, as well as law school sponsored fellowships. We will help tailor a fellowship project that dovetails with our priorities, the fellow’s interests, and the funding organization’s requirements. 

We welcome project applications relating to any of the ACLU of Kansas’s civil rights or civil liberties issue areas. Applicants should review our website for a better understanding of our work.  Proposals related to criminal legal reform, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, freedom of speech and immigration align with our current organizational priorities. Whatever the topic, we will work with the selected fellowship candidate to support a proposal that builds on the candidate’s interests and skills and ensures appropriate supervision to advance the project’s goals.

The Legal Fellow will participate in both litigation and non-litigation advocacy activities to advance civil liberties and civil rights in Kansas. The Legal Fellow is involved in investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, and brief writing. In addition, the Legal Fellow has non-litigation advocacy responsibilities including public speaking and outreach. This position is based in the Kansas City Metropolitan area, in the ACLU of Kansas’s office.

Please note the ACLU of Kansas does not have independent internal funding for this position. The position is contingent on a successful application to a national public interest law fellowship.

PRIMARY RESPONSIBILITIES

Legal

  • Participate in investigating, developing, and litigating impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court.
  • Conduct factual and legal research, prepare memoranda, draft Open Records Act requests, write demand letters, draft pleadings and briefs, conduct discovery, and help write appellate and amicus briefs.
  • Review, comment, and edit letters and briefs of co-counsel and other staff.
  • Support the legal work of others in the Legal department, as needed.

Advocacy/Public Education

  • Advocate for civil liberties and represent the ACLU-KS at events and in coalitions, as appropriate.
  • Work with other staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns utilizing high-impact communications, legislative, field organizing, and legal strategies.
  • Review and analyze proposed bills for Advocacy team members, raising any potential constitutional or civil rights concerns in the legislation in the applicant’s fellowship project subject area.

Administration, Coordination and Support

  • Contribute to the maintenance of the legal docket.
  • Work with the Legal Director and other attorneys to screen and develop promising civil liberties cases.

SKILLS

  • Exceptional writing and analytical skills are required. 
  • A strong understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, civil liberties, civil rights, and the mission of the ACLU. Experience in non-profit advocacy or other community-based groups is valuable.
  • Demonstrated skills in working independently, jointly, and under pressure.
  • Excellent communication skills as to both legal and non-legal audiences.
  • Demonstrated skills in legal analysis, research, and strategic thinking.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other staff members, and with community organizations and coalitions.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socioeconomic circumstance.
  • Creative, result-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an aggressive schedule.
  • Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • A flexible, well-organized, reliable, creative, and energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities; a self-starter and finisher.
  • A team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well organized.
  • Willing to work beyond 9-5 as needed, including occasional weekend meetings and travel.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • J.D.
  • Judicial clerkships and/or experience litigating federal civil rights and civil liberties cases are a plus.
  • Exceptional research and writing skills.
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues.
  • Proficiency with computers: Windows and Microsoft Office in particular.

SALARY

This opportunity is not funded by the ACLU of Kansas; however, we may provide certain benefits or other support depending on the exact terms of the fellowship award. The ACLU of Kansas will only be hosting the position if the candidate receives a fellowship award.

HOW TO APPLY

  • To be considered for sponsorship, please submit a cover letter that: 
    • Identifies a specific area of interest, specific fellowship project, and goals for what you want to accomplish during the fellowship; and specifies the fellowships for which you would like to apply.
    • Although the cover letter should provide some details about the project, it should be no more than 2-3 pages.
  • Please append a resume and three professional references to your cover letter. 
  • Applications should be emailed to [email protected] with the subject line: Legal Fellow Application. Applications for sponsorship will be accepted on a rolling basis keeping in mind that many of the fellowship opportunities have deadlines in the Fall of each year. Applications received before July 5 will receive priority consideration.

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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply. 

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.