Dunn Legal Fellowship, 2021

  • 915 15th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, USA
  • Full-time

Company Description

The ACLU-DC is an affiliate office of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national nonprofit organization devoted to the protection of civil liberties and civil rights through litigation, legislation, and public education. The ACLU-DC works primarily on issues that directly impact people who live in, work in, and visit the District of Columbia, and also on challenges to certain federal government policies and practices where they fall within the jurisdiction of the D.C. federal courts.

Job Description


The ACLU-DC seeks a law student or recent law graduate for a full-time, two-year fellowship to begin in fall 2021.

Among the matters currently on our docket are: representing Black Lives Matter-DC and individual activists in challenging the attack by federal and local law enforcement on civil rights demonstrators in Lafayette Square on June 1; two lawsuits against the District of Columbia over inadequate protections for prisoner health at the D.C. Jail and a psychitatric hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic; a challenge to the D.C. Department of Public Works’ failure to provide a reasonable accommodation for an employee who uses medical marijuana off duty to treat a disabling medical condition; and defending on appeal an injunction we won against new rules implemented by the administrative arm of the federal judiciary that would prohibit more than 1,000 federal employees from expressing their views publicly about partisan candidates for office. To learn more about our work, visit acludc.org.


We seek an attorney who has a passion for defending civil rights and civil liberties and is committed to serving the public interest. The Dunn Fellow will work full-time in the ACLU-DC Legal Department under the supervision of experienced civil rights litigators, who are deeply committed to providing comprehensive feedback and mentorship. Primary responsibilities include interviewing witnesses and potential clients; conducting legal research in support of both litigation and policy initiatives; investigating potential cases including through public records requests; taking and responding to discovery; and drafting complaints, motions, and other litigation documents. The Fellow will also support the Policy Department as a part of the ACLU-DC’s integrated advocacy, particularly where bills before the D.C. Council relate to current or potential ACLU-DC litigation.

Legal fellows have in the past had the opportunity to develop their own cases and serve as lead counsel, testify before the D.C. Council, conduct Know Your Rights trainings, co-author reports documenting civil rights abuses, take depositions, argue in court, and speak on behalf of the ACLU-DC to national and local media outlets.

Salary: $65,000 per year. Benefits currently provided to all ACLU-DC employees include employer-paid health insurance; vacation and sick leave; 401(k) availability with employer match.


  • You will have obtained a J.D. by fall 2021.
  • You have excellent work ethic, including dependability, diligence, the ability to take ownership over projects, and the commitment to see projects through to completion in a fast-paced, collaborative environment. 
  • You are receptive to feedback, enthusiastic about learning and self-improvement, and eager to incorporate feedback into future work.
  • You have excellent legal research skills, including the judgment to discern what cases are relevant to a particular research question, and thoroughness in covering the question asked.
  • You have the capacity to engage in thoughtful and perceptive legal analysis, including the ability to build a logical and persuasive argument, to read and understand legal decisions and statutes, and to grasp whether and how legal authorities apply to a new set of facts.
  • You have excellent legal writing skills, including the ability to present ideas in a clear and organized manner and to write a memo that teaches the reader what you have learned through research (whether the meaning of a specific case or the state of a body of law in general).
  • You have the empathy and interpersonal skills necessary to connect with, listen to, learn from, advise, and work collaboratively with clients and other community members.
  • Your experience includes at least one clinical or externship semester or summer internship working in a litigation setting involving legal research and writing.
  • You will be a D.C. Bar member by fall 2021 or will seek admission (or obtain permission to practice via diploma privilege, if applicable) during the fellowship.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.