The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is to secure equal justice for all through the rule of law, targeting in particular the inequities confronting African Americans and other racial and ethnic minorities. The Lawyers’ Committee is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to enlist the private bar’s leadership and resources in combating racial discrimination and the resulting inequality of opportunity – work that continues to be vital today.
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law is dedicated to supporting and advancing diversity within its workforce and board. Because our commitment to diversity and inclusion is inextricably linked to our pursuit of equal justice for all, we strive to work with a broad and diverse coalition of partner organizations.
Each undergraduate student intern is assigned to work primarily, but not exclusively, in one of the following areas: Communications/Development, Educational Opportunities (+ PREP), Economic Justice, Public Policy, Stop Hate, or Voting Rights (+ Election Protection).
- The Communications and Development Departments‘ internship offers a unique opportunity to engage in all of the Lawyers’ Committee’s civil rights project areas. Interns will work with staff on press releases, op-eds, speeches, scripts and testimony. They will learn how to build media lists and track news coverage using a highly in-demand public relations and marketing software. Interns will gain valuable experience in creating and posting web content and desktop publishing. Interns will also assist with management of donor files, foundation research and the planning of upcoming events.
- The Educational Opportunities Project strives to guarantee that all students receive equal educational opportunities in public schools and institutions of higher learning by promoting school integration; supporting the mission of the No Child Left Behind Act, and challenging discriminatory discipline and classroom assignment practices as well as school finance inadequacy. The Education Project’s Parental Readiness and Empowerment Program seeks to improve K-12 student performance, retention, and access to equal educational opportunities. PREP serves low-income and minority children in targeted communities (currently San Diego, CA and Arlington, VA) by increasing parental engagement in education and ensuring that parents become successful advocates for their children. PREP is particularly interested in candidates with near or complete Spanish fluency.
- The Public Policy Department leads and coordinates the organizational policy agenda through the development, analysis and support of all Lawyers’ Committee projects by providing policy leadership, advocacy, visibility and materials for the Hill and in coalitions on substantive priorities as they arise on the legislative calendar. Public Policy interns engage in research and writing, producing issue briefs and policy statements. They attend and report on coalition meetings, as well as briefings and hearings taking place on the Hill, and may prepare testimony and talking points for Lawyers’ Committee staff members. Interns are likely to work on a wide range of issues related to any of our substantive projects, such as Voting, Education, and Fair Housing, as well as perform duties related to Public Policy core initiatives, such as the Judicial Diversity Program and Criminal Justice reform efforts. Interns placed in this project should expect a collegial but fast paced and demanding work environment.
- The Voting Rights Project strives to achieve equality and protect advances in voting rights for racial and ethnic minorities and other traditionally disenfranchised groups through an integrated program of litigation, voter protection, research, advocacy, and education. The project is currently active in battles to defend the Voting Rights Act, combat voter ID laws and voter suppression activities, and ensure that eligible voters are able to cast a meaningful ballot on Election Day. The Voting Rights Project leads the Election Protection Coalition, which administers the 1-866-OUR-VOTE voter assistance hotline, analyzes data on existing electoral problems, and supports positive election reforms and advocacy efforts to ensure that all eligible citizens have the right to vote.
- The Economic Justice Project seeks to address persisting inequality and high poverty rates faced by African American and other minority communities. EJP brings challenges to all forms of racial, national origin, and sex-based discrimination in the workplace, both private and public, including discrimination by federal, state, and local agencies. EJP also brings litigation seeking to lift the employment barriers faced by individuals with criminal histories who are seeking to reintegrate into their communities.
- The Stop Hate Project works to strengthen the capacity of community leaders, law enforcement, and organizations around the country to combat hate by connecting these groups with established legal and social services resources. Hate incidents across the United States are surging, devastating individuals and entire communities. To help combat this trend and support those organizations, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law launched the Stop Hate Project in March 2017. Individuals and organizations that call the hotline receive resources they need as we leverage our national network of pro bono attorneys, connect callers and individuals targeted by hate to community organizations, mental health services, and in appropriate cases, provide access to counsel. Interns will gain knowledge about hates crimes and incidents and the laws and policies that are already in place to combat them and the community resources that are available, along with hands-on legal research experience.
- Although assignments for each intern vary, most students are asked to draft documents, track news, and policy changes, write legal research memoranda, conduct factual investigations, participate in conference calls, and complete some administrative work.
The Lawyers’ Committee welcomes applications from current undergraduate students interested in civil rights. At a minimum, all applicants must possess:
- Strong research, writing, and communications abilities.
- Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and/or social justice.
- Experience with Microsoft Office (Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, Publisher, Word).
For Communications interns:
- Skills and experience with social media, web-based multimedia or Adobe Creative Suite are strongly encouraged.
- In your Statement of Interest, please identify the area, or areas, you are most interested in working.
**finalists may be asked to submit an 2-3 page writing sample**
2018 Intern Reflection:
Working for civil rights in DC, the nation’s capital and the heart of the political arena is incredible! I have gone to rallies at the Capitol with my director, heard speeches by several Congressional officials including Cory Booker and Kamela Harris, and have made many visits to the Supreme Court to hear decisions from cases that this law firm has worked on. This summer has been particularly eventful with the end of the SCOTUS term, midterm elections, the SCOTUS vacancy, and the constant threats to civil rights. While I am just an intern, I feel like I have been able to make an impact in this organization through my role in communications. I have written articles for the website, helped increase our presence on social media, and covered many rallies, protests, and marches for the many people who follow us. I have even worked directly with the President Kristen Clarke on assignments such as drafting letters to Senators to keep families together and writing briefings on legislation.
Since there are many summer internship programs sponsored by Lawyers' Committee, there are many legal and undergraduate interns here this summer from all over the country who are interested in civil rights and law. This has not only made the internship so much fun, but has allowed me to connect with people my age who share my passion for social justice through law. The rest of the staff has also been very warm and welcoming as everyone is open to sharing their ideas and sitting down with you to field any questions you might have. We have a lot of brown bag lunches where we debrief on major events, and share our thoughts on what they will mean for the future of civil rights. I think this internship combines the best of a summer civil rights legal experience and meeting like-minded individuals, taking advantage of being in D.C. during such a busy time. This experience has been amazing!
Regina Fairfax '20