- Department: Legal
- Supervisor: Legal Director
- Classification: Full-Time Exempt; 2-year position
- Supervisory Position: No
The ACLU of Kentucky welcomes applicants to apply for a sponsorship opportunity to work with our legal team. Selected applicants will work with the ACLU of Kentucky 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 available law school sponsored fellowships, including University of Chicago’s Postgraduate Public Interest Law Fellowship. 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 Kentucky’s civil rights or civil liberties issue areas. Applicants should review our website for a better understanding of our work. Proposals related to ending discriminatory criminal justice policies, reforming abusive police practices, protecting reproductive freedom, and protecting and expanding voting rights 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. As an example, our most recent sponsored fellow worked on issues related to reforming Kentucky’s overcrowded jail and prison population, including litigating for incarcerated people’s release during COVID-19.
The Legal Fellow will participate in both litigation and non-litigation advocacy activities to advance civil liberties and civil rights in Kentucky. 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 community outreach. This position is based in the ACLU of Kentucky’s (ACLU-KY) Louisville office.
Please note the ACLU of Kentucky does not have independent internal funding for this position. The position is contingent on a successful application to an external public interest law fellowship.
Primary Responsibilities/Essential Duties:
- Participate in investigating, developing, and litigating impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court, specifically related to the project designed by the fellow and approved by an external funding source.
- 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.
- Advocate for civil liberties and represent the ACLU-KY 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.
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.
- 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.
- JD (or expected within one year)
- 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
This opportunity is not funded by the ACLU of Kentucky and is dependent on funding from the external funding source. Nevertheless, the ACLU-KY may provide certain benefits or other support depending on the exact terms of the fellowship award such that the fellow receives compensation and benefits as otherwise provided under the ACLU-KY’s compensation scale for litigators, which starts at $61,000.
The ACLU of Kentucky 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 a writing sample to your cover letter.
Applications should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line: Sponsored Legal Fellow Application. We will begin to review applications on a rolling basis on August 2, 2021. We will continue to accept and review applications until the position is filled. The fellowship position will have a start date in September 2022.
The ACLU of Kentucky is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail Tracy@ACLU-KY.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodations for the interview process.
The ACLU of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to having a diverse workplace and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kentucky encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction and any other characteristic protected by applicable law.