Please read the application instructions below carefully
The Brennan Center for Justice at New York University School of Law is a non-partisan public policy and law institute that focuses on the fundamental issues of democracy and justice. Our work ranges from voting rights to campaign finance reform, from racial justice in criminal law to presidential power in the fight against terrorism. A singular institution – part think tank, part public interest law firm, part advocacy group – the Brennan Center combines scholarship, legislative and legal advocacy, and communications to win meaningful, measurable change in the public sector.
We seek law students to work alongside staff in our New York and Washington offices 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 starts on May 27, 2014 and lasts for 10 weeks. We may accommodate a limited number of split summers.
The Brennan Center is pleased to offer grants of up to $5,000 to students accepted to the internship program in need of summer funding through the James E Johnson Legal Intern Fund. All students who are unable to secure adequate funding from outside sources will be eligible to apply for Johnson fellowships.
Qualifications: Excellent legal research, analysis, and writing skills; initiative, imagination, and versatility; and a passion for our issues.
The Brennan Center, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applicants of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, including people who have been previously incarcerated.
The Center’s Program Areas
Democracy Program (NY based)
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 level; and protecting the independence, impartiality, and integrity of the courts.
Justice Program (NY based)
The Justice Program seeks to secure our nation’s promise of “equal justice for all” by ensuring that our justice system is rational, effective, and fair. Its primary project is to reduce mass incarceration by reducing the size and severity of the criminal justice system to both improve public safety and protect individual rights. The Program works to publish empirical reports and engage in federal and state legislative advocacy, media and communications outreach, and strategic litigation. It uses these multiple tools to: document the true toll of mass incarceration on communities and the country; devise and enact new, innovative legal changes to eliminate over-criminalization, over-punishment, racially biased enforcement, and the perverse financial incentives that fuel mass incarceration; and change the public “tough on crime” mindset.
The Program’s secondary project is to increase the effectiveness of the civil justice system to better serve the needs of all people. By working to close this “justice gap,” the Program aims to ensure that everyone has equal access to an effective and fair civil court system to protect their basic rights.
Liberty and National Security Program (NY or DC)
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 are currently focusing on the government's intelligence collection practices (e.g., how intelligence agents are controlled, what dangers they pose to privacy and the 1st amendment, profiling concerns) and on combating excessive government secrecy (e.g., over classification of documents). There are positions available in NY and DC.
Washington, DC Office
Interns working in the DC office will have to opportunity to work on all of our policy issues. They can expect their work to have a greater emphasis on advocacy and policy research than on litigation, though they will gain exposure to all facets of our work. We will be hiring one legal intern to work with our Liberty and National Security Program and one intern to work with the Director of our DC office on a variety of Brennan Center issues.
How to Apply: Interested students should upload a single PDF or WORD document containing 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.
If you upload these items separately, please also paste your cover letter into the appropriate box.
We will only accept applications submitted through this website. If you have any difficulties with the online system, upload just your cover letter and resume and email the remaining documents to email@example.com with "Summer Legal Internship" in the subject line.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and decisions will be made as soon as appropriate candidates are identified. Therefore, we encourage students with a strong interest in joining us to apply early.