The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine (ACLU of Maine) seeks third-year law students and practicing attorneys with up to three years’ experience to apply for a two-year Legal Fellowship to work on the ACLU of Maine’s priority issues. The fellowship will be for a two-year term, to begin no later than September 2021, and earlier if practicable. This position is a bargaining unit position.
The fellow’s tasks will include litigation-related work, as well as other forms of advocacy such as drafting and providing testimony on bills in the legislature, drafting letters to and speaking before public bodies, and giving presentations to community groups.
The ACLU of Maine is committed to developing the next generation of civil rights leaders; recognizing that talent comes from a variety of backgrounds, the ACLU of Maine has created this position to develop the talent of that next generation. The ACLU of Maine is deeply committed to racial equity and social justice, and is driven to act on these core values. The fellow must recognize the ways our identities intersect and play out in our work, and demonstrate the cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively engage with historically marginalized communities.
About ACLU of Maine
We are the Maine affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union. We fight for equality, justice, and freedom for all Mainers in the statehouse, in the courthouse, and through public education and engagement. We are active in the areas of criminal legal reform, racial justice, immigrants' rights, reproductive rights, women's rights, Indigenous rights, LGBTQ+ rights, voting rights, privacy, and freedom of speech and religion.
Responsibilities of Legal Fellow
The Legal Fellow will support the Legal Department’s litigation work and, our response to bills affecting civil rights and civil liberties in the legislature, especially while in session. The Legal Fellow will participate in both litigation and non-litigation advocacy activities on a broad range of issues. The Legal Fellow will be involved in investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, and brief writing. In addition, the Legal Fellow will have the opportunity to engage in non-litigation advocacy, including policy work, public speaking, and community engagement.
Specific responsibilities include:
- Participate in investigating, developing, and litigating impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court.
- Conduct factual and legal research; prepare memoranda; draft Freedom of Information Act requests; write demand letters; draft pleadings and briefs; conduct discovery; help write appellate and amicus briefs.
- Review, comment, and edit letters and briefs of co-counsel and other ACLU staff.
- Communicate with clients; answer client questions and manage class member interactions in ongoing litigation.
- Support other legal work of the ACLU’s Legal Department, as needed.
(2) Advocacy / Public Education
- Support the Policy Department in preparing for and during the legislative session.
- Analyze proposed legislation; draft and present testimony on behalf of the organization to state and municipal policymakers.
- Advocate for civil liberties and civil rights and represent the ACLU at events and in coalitions, as appropriate.
- Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communication, legislative, field organizing, and legal programs.
(3) Administration, Coordination, and Support
- Contribute to the maintenance of the legal docket.
- Track legislation and maintain the legislative calendar.
- Work with volunteer lawyers to screen and develop promising civil liberties and civil rights cases.
- Assist in day-to-day operations in the Legal Department and Policy Department.
The Legal Fellow will work within the Legal Department under the direct supervision of the Legal Director. The Legal Fellow will also work on assignments with other departments (e.g., policy) as needed.
- Must have JD and be admitted to a state bar or become admitted within six months of starting the position after taking the summer bar exam. Admission to the Maine Bar is a preference, but not a requirement.
- A strong understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, civil liberties and civil rights.
- Exceptional writing, research, and analytical skills. Excellent communication skills to both legal and non-legal audiences.
- Ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other ACLU staff, and community partners.
- A commitment to equity; a personal approach that values the individual regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.
- Proficiency with computers: Windows, Microsoft Office and Excel in particular.
- Applicants with language skills relevant to immigration-related work in Maine are encouraged to apply.
Ideally, the successful candidate will be the following:
- A creative, flexible, well-organized, and reliable person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities, and manage a demanding schedule; a team player who is able to work independently, jointly, and under pressure; willing to learn; a self-starter and finisher.
- Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of a broad range of civil liberties and civil rights issues and their implications.
- Willing to work beyond 9-5 as needed, including occasional weekend meetings and travel.
- Cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with diverse communities.
This is a two-year position with a salary range of $50,000-$60,000, depending on experience. Excellent benefits including health insurance, a 401(k) plan, and generous vacation time.
Please submit in digital form, by email, a detailed letter of interest addressed to Emma Bond and a resume. The letter of interest should describe the applicant’s qualifications, including the applicant’s cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with historically marginalized communities. Send to firstname.lastname@example.org, with the subject line including the position, “Legal Fellow Application,” and your name. We will begin considering applications on April 15, 2021, and will continue to consider them on a rolling basis until the position is filled.
The start date in fall 2021 is negotiable and the position will remain open until filled. In your letter of interest, please indicate when you would be available to begin the fellowship, if selected.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction. You are encouraged to self-identify in the application materials. Doing so is optional.