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Summer 2019 Legal Internships in NYC

The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve the systems of democracy and justice in the United States. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. The Brennan Center’s work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from ending mass incarceration to preserving Constitutional protections in the fight against terrorism. Part think tank, part advocacy group, part cutting edge communications hub, we start with rigorous research. We craft innovative policies. And we fight for them – in Congress and the states, in the courts, and in the court of public opinion.

We seek law students to work alongside staff in our New York office on the Brennan Center’s policy advocacy, research, and litigation initiatives. Activities may include legal and policy analysis; legislative drafting at federal, state, and local levels; administrative and legislative advocacy; public education and scholarship; and litigation in trial and appellate courts. The Brennan Center’s interns are integral to all aspects of our work, including programmatic and strategic planning. We strive to offer a fun and intellectually-challenging legal intern experience that supports and supplements the vital advocacy offered by the Brennan Center. The internship lasts for 10 weeks. We may accommodate a limited number of split summers.

Qualifications: Excellent legal research, analysis, and writing skills; initiative, imagination, and versatility; and a passion for our issues.

The Center’s Program Areas

Democracy Program (New York based only)

The Democracy Program seeks to perfect the ideal of representative self-government by advocating for public policies and institutions that reflect a diverse, engaged, and energetic democracy. The Program collaborates with grassroots groups, advocacy organizations, and reform-minded government officials to promote policies that eliminate barriers to full and equal political participation.

Assignments will be drawn from work on voting rights (including the rights of students and people with felony convictions); reform of election administration (including voter registration modernization, ballot design, and defensive work against photo ID and other practices likely to suppress the vote or have a disproportionate impact on communities of color); campaign finance reform at the federal, state, and local levels; protecting the independence, impartiality, and integrity of the courts; eliminating partisan gerrymandering and other manipulations of electoral maps; and combating efforts to undermine the fairness and integrity of the census.

Justice Program (New York based only)

The Justice of electoral maps Program seeks to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all” by creating a rational, effective, and fair justice system. Its priority focus is to reform the criminal justice system so that it better reduces crime and reduces mass incarceration. The program uses economics to produce new empirical analysis and innovative policy solutions to advance this critical goal. It also works to ensure a fair civil legal system.

Liberty and National Security Program (New York and Washington, DC based)

The Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security (LNS) Program fights to preserve constitutional values in the post-9/11 world. Our work centers on innovative policy recommendations, litigation, and public advocacy to ensure that our nation’s commitment to national security comports with the rule of law and our fundamental freedoms.

We work to end or reform policies at the intersection of national security, immigration, and law enforcement, including those relating to high-tech surveillance, that intrude on privacy and First Amendment rights -- particularly those of Muslim Americans and communities of color.  Our work reflects a strong focus on ensuring democratic accountability, including through pushing back on excessive secrecy and expansive assertions of executive power.

Interns may assist with a variety of activities, including conducting legal research and writing for amicus briefs, policy reports, and other advocacy documents; drafting communications to legislators; assisting with writing comments to federal agencies; attending coalition meetings; drafting posts for the Brennan Center blog; and more. 

How to Apply: Visit https://brennancenter.applytojob.com/apply/K98A9pU3dl/Summer-2019-Legal-Internships-In-NYC and upload all of the following:

  1. a cover letter explaining which particular programs or projects they are interested in joining: Democracy Program (NY), Justice Program (NY), Liberty & National Security (NY or DC), or DC Office;
  2. a current law school transcript (1Ls may send the transcript separately, as soon as it is available);
  3. a legal writing sample;
  4. a current resume; and
  5. contact information for three references.

Applications should be submitted through our website. 

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We encourage interested students to apply early, as the position will be filled once qualified candidates are found.  Applications will close on February 28, 2019.

The Brennan Center for Justice is committed to a workplace based on equal opportunity and a strong belief in the increased effectiveness that comes from a diverse workforce. To this end, Brennan Center

  • Hires staff that reflects this country's full range of racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic identities; 

  • Creates a workplace where true diversity is fostered and different perspectives are valued and freely exchanged; 

  • Ensures that all members of the Brennan Center community feel welcome and respected, and have equal opportunities to thrive and advance within the institution; and 

  • Is committed to supporting low-income communities and communities of color particularly affected by social inequities.
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