The American Civil Liberties Union is the largest and oldest organization in the United States dedicated to protecting the civil liberties of all people in this nation through litigation, public education, advocacy, and organizing. The ACLU litigates high-impact cases addressing a wide range of constitutional and civil rights issues, including criminal law reform, immigrants’ rights, racial justice, LGBTQ rights, sex discrimination, freedom of speech, religious freedom, reproductive freedom, voting rights, police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, and privacy. The ACLU of Michigan, with nearly 40 staff, is one of the state’s leading civil rights organizations.
During the academic year, legal interns or externs with the ACLU of Michigan have a unique opportunity to work on cutting-edge civil liberties and civil rights cases. Some of our recent litigation includes:
- a U.S. Supreme Court case on behalf of a woman who was fired from her job when she disclosed to her employer that she is transgender
- a class action lawsuit to overhaul Detroit’s broken cash bail system
- a class action lawsuit to prevent the Trump administration from deporting Iraqis without giving them an opportunity to challenge their removal orders in immigration court
- a class action lawsuit under the Fair Housing Act challenging tax foreclosures in Detroit because of their disparate impact on people of color
- a U.S. Supreme Court case on behalf of a five-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who was not allowed to bring her service dog to school
- a federal lawsuit to obtain safe drinking water for the people of Flint
- a class action lawsuit to reform special education in Flint after the entire population was exposed to lead
- an Eighth Amendment challenge to Michigan’s practice of sentencing children to life in prison without the possibility of parole
Please see our website for more information on our current and past case dockets: https://www.aclumich.org/en/our-work/legal-dockets.
Law students work on many aspects of potential and ongoing cases, such as drafting memoranda, meeting with and interviewing plaintiffs and witnesses, and drafting complaints and briefs. Students may also be asked to analyze the constitutionality of pending legislation or help with discovery.
Internships are available at our Detroit headquarters. Depending on the status of the global COVID-19 pandemic, there may be a need to reevaluate in-office work. We will keep finalist candidates updated as we get closer to winter 2022.
- Must have finished first year of law school
- Excellent research, writing and communication skills
- Commitment to civil rights and civil liberties
- Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion; must value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance
- Students who have studied constitutional law are preferred
Legal interns will be supervised by the legal director, deputy legal director, staff attorneys, and legal fellows. They may also be asked to assist a cooperating attorney on a pending case or to work with other ACLU staff or coalition partners.
We prefer at least a 15 hour per week commitment with at least one day per week in the office. Most students receive academic credit for this unpaid internship/externship.
We will start reviewing applications on a rolling basis. Open until filled. Please email a cover letter, resume and writing sample to:
Bonsitu Kitaba, Deputy Legal Director
American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan
2966 Woodward Avenue
Detroit, MI 48201
Please include in the email subject line: last name, first name, and “Winter 2022 Legal Externship Application”