The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, manages a selective, unpaid internship program for undergraduate students who are both highly talented and committed to social justice. Intern coordinators and individual supervisors take great care to see that each student receives high-level assignments, supervision, and regular feedback.
The Lawyers’ Committee was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination. The principal mission of the Lawyers’ Committee is to secure, through the rule of law, equal justice under law.
The Committee uses the skills and resources of the bar to obtain equal opportunity for minority and underserved communities by addressing factors that contribute to racial justice and economic opportunity. Given our nation’s history of racial discrimination, de jure segregation, and the de facto inequities that persist, the Lawyers’ Committee’s primary focus is to represent the interest of African Americans in particular, other racial and ethnic minorities, and other victims of discrimination, where doing so can help to secure justice for all racial and ethnic minorities.
Lawyers’ Committee is an equal opportunity employer with a standing policy of nondiscrimination. This means that all qualified persons are accorded an equal opportunity for selection without regard to actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, personal appearance, genetic information, matriculation, or political affiliation.
Each undergraduate student intern is assigned to work primarily, but not exclusively, in one of the following areas: Communications/Development, Educational Opportunities (+ PREP), Employment Discrimination, Public Policy, 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 Employment Discrimination Project works to dismantle systemic barriers faced by women and minorities in hiring and promotion and challenges many forms of discrimination in both private and government workplaces through high-impact class action litigation and public policy advocacy. The Employment Project also works to dismantle access to employment for those with poor credit histories and criminal records through its Access Campaign.
- 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.
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.
- Fall and Spring Interns: Fall and spring semester interns must work a minimum of 10 a week (with a full course load) and 20 hours without a full course load. For that reason, students should be able to commute to the Committee’s downtown office for at least two days a week during the academic year. Fall and spring interns typically attend colleges and universities in or around the metropolitan District of Columbia region, although the Lawyers’ Committee is also happy to host students who are participating in externship or academic exchange programs.
- Summer Interns: Summer interns must work a minimum of 30 hours per week.
The Lawyers’ Committee welcomes applications from current undergraduate students and recent graduates interested in civil rights to work as interns during the fall semester, spring semester, or over their summer breaks. 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).
- Skills and experience with social media, web-based multimedia, or Adobe Creative Suite are appreciated, but not required.
The Lawyers’ Committee is unable to pay any portion of the applicant’s salary or provide assistance with securing housing during the internship period. However, we are happy to work with students so that they may receive academic credit or outside funding for their work. Students who complete this internship will gain invaluable experience in the field of civil rights and exposure to the exciting work of a non-profit legal organization.
About Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights
The Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, was formed in 1963 at the request of President John F. Kennedy to involve the private bar in providing legal services to address racial discrimination.