The ACLU of Kentucky is accepting applications from third-year law students, judicial clerks, and recent law school graduates for its Legal Fellowship.  The Legal Fellowship is a two-year program that will begin in the late summer/fall of 2019 and is a full-time position.  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 will work under the direction of the ACLU of Kentucky’s Legal Director to help develop and litigate cases at the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts on a wide variety of cutting-edge civil liberties issues. Likely areas of emphasis include criminal justice/smart justice, reproductive freedom, free speech, and immigration.

The Legal Fellow will be involved in investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, and brief writing. In addition, the Legal Fellow will have non-litigation advocacy responsibilities including public speaking and outreach.

The ACLU of Kentucky works to defend and expand individual rights and personal freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and state and federal civil rights laws. The ACLU legal team litigates a broad range of constitutional cases in state and federal courts, including, but not limited to, free speech, freedom of religion, LGBTQ rights, reproductive freedom, criminal justice, prison and jail conditions of confinement, immigrants’ rights, and privacy rights. An affiliate of the national ACLU, the state affiliate has members throughout Kentucky and engages with all levels of government.

Specific Responsibilities

(1) 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 ACLU staff.

•           Support the legal work of the Legal Director and Staff Attorney, as needed.

(2) Advocacy/Public Education

•           Advocate for civil liberties and represent the ACLU at events and in coalitions, as appropriate.

•           Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communication, legislative, field organizing, and legal programs.

(3) Administration, Coordination and Support

•           Contribute to the maintenance of the legal docket.

•           Work with the Legal Department and the ACLU of Kentucky’s Litigation Committee to screen and develop promising civil liberties cases.


The Legal Fellow will work within the Legal Program under the direct supervision of the ACLU of Kentucky’s Legal Director. The Legal Fellow may also work on assignments with other departments, as needed.


•           JD (or an expectation of receiving one by the Spring of 2019). Must be a member of the Kentucky Bar Association or eligible to be immediately admitted into the Kentucky Bar Association pursuant to SCR 2.110 or 2.111.

•           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.

•           Exceptional writing and analytical skills are required. Judicial clerkships and/or experience litigating federal civil rights and civil liberties cases are a plus.

•           Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues.

•           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.

•           Proficiency with computers: Windows and Microsoft Office in particular.

Personal Characteristics

Ideally, the successful candidate will be the following:

•           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.


This is a two-year position with a salary of $50,000. The ACLU of Kentucky offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package including paid vacation, medical and dental insurance, pension plan, life and long-term disability insurance and generous paid holidays.

Application Procedure

Please submit in digital form, via email, a detailed letter of interest, resume, legal writing sample, and contact information for three references to The start date for this two-year position is set for September 2019 but a different start date may be negotiable. In your letter of interest, please indicate how you learned about the fellowship.

Applications should be emailed to and include “Legal Fellow Application” in the subject line.

Please apply as soon as possible.  We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by January 4, 2019.

The position will remain open until filled.

The ACLU of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kentucky 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, immigration status, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction.


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