The Brennan Center for Justice brings impact litigation, advises lawmakers on the constitutionality of bills, drafts legislation and regulations, and produces public education materials on a number of topics. We have three programs: Democracy, Justice, and Liberty & National Security.
- The Democracy Program focuses on issues of voting rights and elections, money in politics, redistricting and representation, government dysfunction, and fair courts. The program conducts research, publishes influential studies, convenes conferences, develops policy proposals, supports strategy development, and participates in litigation to defend campaign finance laws, ensure a fair judiciary, uphold fair representation, and oppose laws that restrict the rights of voters.
- The Justice Program works on habeas corpus, abuse of executive power, access to counsel, and the rights of prisoners and ex-prisoners, among other topics.
- The Liberty & National Security Program seeks to build institutions and define policies that result in a fair, accountable, and transparent national security system.
We hire legal interns to work in New York and Washington, D.C., alongside Brennan Center staff policy on 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.
We also offer some opportunities, such as the Public Policy Advocacy Clinic, exclusively for NYU School of Law students. Law students are sometimes able to earn credit for their work, may be able to develop law review pieces and other papers on subjects growing out of the center's activities, and are encouraged to apply for post-graduate fellowships at the Brennan Center.
Legal interns receive one-on-one supervision from attorneys on our staff. If students need to complete a particular type of writing assignment for their coursework requirements, we do our best to accommodate by allowing students to write law review-style articles about legal questions that arise in our work.
Funding: Legal interns are not compensated by the Brennan Center. Select summer interns, who would not otherwise be able to live and work in New York or Washington, D.C., may apply for the James E. Johnson Legal Intern Fund. Named for our former board chair, who served for seven years, the fund was created in 2011 to pay tribute to Johnson’s extraordinary leadership and ongoing commitment to building the Brennan Center. The program is a prestigious opportunity and helps nurture future leaders in the public interest field.
Qualifications: Excellent legal research, analysis, and writing skills; initiative, imagination, and versatility; and a passion for our issues. These positions are only open to current law school students.
To apply: Please visit our employment portal and upload your cover letter, resume, current transcript, a legal writing sample of up to 10 pages, and contact details for three references. In your cover letter, please specify the program that most interests you. No phone calls, please.
Fall 2021 Deadline: July 15th or 31st depending on internship.