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Fall 2025 Fellowship Sponsorship, Voting Rights Project

aclu · 20 days ago
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The ACLU invites rising third-year law students and law graduates to apply for a sponsorship opportunity to work with us as a Legal Fellow for up to two years.  The Voting Rights Project of the National office in New York, NY seeks applicants to consider for a sponsored fellowship such as Skadden, Equal Justice Works, or other public interest fellowships to begin in the fall of 2025. This is a hybrid role that has in-office requirements of two (2) days per week or eight (8) days per month.

The ACLU Voting Rights Project was established in 1965 – the same year that the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) was enacted – and has litigated more than 300 cases since that time. Its mission is to build and defend an accessible, inclusive, and equitable democracy free from racial discrimination.

We have three principles: (1) all Americans should be eligible to vote; (2) voting should be free and easy; and (3) all people should count equally. The Project is litigation-focused, with active cases across the country, though it helps support legislative advocacy work and public education.

The Voting Rights Project’s recent docket has included over a dozen lawsuits challenging post-2020 Census redistricting in several states, including Allen v. Milligan, in which the Supreme Court upheld the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  In recent years, the Project also litigated more than 30 lawsuits to protect voters during the 2020 election; a pair of cases in the Supreme Court challenging the last administration’s discriminatory census policies: Department of Commerce v. New York (successfully challenging an attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census) and Trump v. New York (challenging the exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the population count used to apportion the House of Representatives); and cases challenging other new legislation restricting voting rights in states like Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Montana, Ohio, and Texas.

Project staff will provide guidance to the selected fellowship candidate to develop their proposal for submission, helping tailor the proposal to address an important voting rights issue.  Proposed projects for the Voting Rights Project should have an impact-litigation focus, but successful projects also frequently include an integrated advocacy approach (weaving in policy advocacy, public education, etc.). Fellowship candidates are encouraged to review successful project descriptions on funder websites.

Examples of projects successful VRP fellowship candidates have developed in the past include:

  • Reducing racially-disparate wait times at polling places,
  • Combatting prison-based gerrymandering,
  • Improving voting access for people with disabilities,
  • Challenging wealth-based restrictions on voting rights restoration for former felony offenders, and
  • Challenging earlier voter registration deadlines.

Applicants for host sponsorship will be asked to submit an idea for a project proposal with their applications. These proposals need not be fully formed (and should be no more than 2 pages, inclusive of footnotes), but an applicant selected for an interview should be prepared to discuss the problem their proposal addresses and some details of their litigation plan (including the legal claims they would bring and potential target jurisdictions).  Our goal is to assess how you would identify, articulate, and tackle a voting rights issue and work with impacted communities to redress it.  An ideal project proposal would expand upon our current work, without duplicating past candidates’ proposals.  We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by July 12, 2024.


Reporting to the Project Director and/or Deputy Director, the Fellow will

  • Conduct legal research and analysis and develop theories to support their fellowship projects and other new litigation projects.
  • Draft legal memoranda, pleadings, affidavits, motions, and briefs.
  • Interview potential clients and witnesses and seek input from impacted communities.
  • Participate in discovery and trial practice.
  • Draft and edit public education and nonlitigation advocacy materials.
  • Provide support and assistance to ACLU affiliates and cooperating attorneys.
  • Help manage summer legal internship program and supervise student interns.
  • Engage in public speaking and attend meetings and/or conferences as needed.

We will review applications on a rolling basis, but priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by July 12, 2024.

The Fellow must secure external funding, please email for funding requirements. Our staff will work with candidates to develop their proposals for submission, helping tailor the proposal to address an important civil liberties issue.


  • Be committed to advancing the mission of the ACLU
  • Center and embed the principles of equity, inclusion and belonging in their work by demonstrating commitment to diversity with an approach that respects and values multiple perspectives
  • Be committed to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and conflicts


  • J.D. or expected to receive a J.D by the spring of 2025
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest law, civil liberties, criminal justice, and racial justice
  • Willingness to work closely with Voting Rights Project through the funding application process
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and a proven ability to work independently as well as within a team


The ACLU has a litigator scale that determines pay for attorneys in our Legal Department. The range of salaries are the following, based on year of law school graduation (please consult the hiring manager for specific salary details, based on individual circumstances):

  • 0-2 years since law school graduation: $89,250-$111,491
  • 3-5 years since law school graduation: $124,873-$147,324
  • 6-10 years since law school graduation: $154,069- $173,808
  • 11-15 years since law school graduation: $177,058-$187,108
  • 16-20 years since law school graduation: $188,874-$193,738
  • 21-25 years since law school graduation: $194,719-$198,708
  • 26-30+ years since law school graduation: $199,666- $203,553

These salaries are reflective of positions based in New York, NY. The salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people.

We know that great people make a great organization. We value our people and know that what we offer is essential not just their work, but to their overall well-being. 

At the ACLU, we offer a broad range of benefits, which include:

  • Time away to focus on the things that matter with a generous paid-time off policy
  • Focus on your well-being with comprehensive healthcare benefits (including medical, dental and vision coverage, parental leave, gender affirming care & fertility treatment)
  • Plan for your retirement with 401k plan and employer match
  • We support employee growth and development through annual professional development funds, internal professional development programs and workshops


Accessibility, equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. For us diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion are not just check-the-box activities, but a chance for us to make long-term meaningful change.  We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression, anti-ableism and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

With this commitment in mind, we strongly encourage 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.    

The ACLU 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 email If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Last updated on Jun 28, 2024

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