2025 Legal Fellow Sponsorship for Organization-Funded Fellowships


Position: Legal Fellow Sponsorship 

Terms of Employment: Full-Time/Temporary/Exempt/Union Position

Location: New York Civil Liberties Union, 125 Broad Street, NY, NY 10004

Salary: Subject to the NYCLU’s attorney salary scale, which is   based on years of legal experience (new law-school graduates currently start at $82,000 for 2025) * 

Application Deadline: Friday, June 14, 2025 (applications will be considered   until the 

position is filled) 

The New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) is one of the nation's leading advocates on behalf of constitutional rights and liberties.  Founded in 1951, as the New York affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, the NYCLU is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization with more than 90,000 members and supporters, and eight offices statewide. We work in the courts, in the legislatures and on the streets to advocate for racial and economic justice, free speech, freedom of religion, privacy and equality before the law for all New Yorkers. For more information, please visit our website: www.nyclu.org


The NYCLU affirmatively values the humanity and contributions of those we work with, inside and outside of the organization; and will take action to build and sustain an equitable, anti-racist culture that centers the voices and experiences of marginalized and directly impacted people and communities, and an organizational environment where all people feel valued, trusted, and respected. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and having a workforce that reflects the population that we serve and actively recruit people of color, women, people with disabilities, formerly incarcerated people, and LGBTQ and gender non-conforming people.


The NYCLU seeks rising third-year law students, judicial clerks, and recent law graduates to sponsor for one- or two-year legal fellowships with a funding organization, such as the Skadden Fellowship Foundation, Equal Justice Works, Justice Catalyst, and Soros. We will work with a successful applicant to develop a project proposal to submit. Please note that the NYCLU does not have independent internal funding for fellowships (but does cover the difference between external funding and the NYCLU salary scale). 

Applicants will be asked to submit ideas for a project proposal relating to civil liberties and civil rights in New York. Proposed projects often combine litigation, advocacy, community outreach, and public education. We encourage projects that are new and innovative, allowing the NYCLU to serve unmet legal needs or expand our reach to other populations. Proposals should include a short description of the problem your project seeks to address, concrete strategies and tools to address the problem, goals for what you want to accomplish during the fellowship, why you are the best candidate for this fellowship project, and how your project fits into the NYCLU’s work. We understand that project proposals may be broad at this stage.

To assist candidates in developing projects that best align with our current priorities, we particularly encourage project proposals that focus on racial justice, criminal justice and police accountability, voting rights, gender equity, reproductive rights, LGBTQ rights, education equity, privacy and technology, economic justice, environmental justice and immigration. 

NYCLU staff is currently working in a hybrid model. A number of in-person days will be required.  


The ideal candidates should have a demonstrated commitment to public-interest law, civil liberties, and racial justice, as well as a commitment and ability to work with and support a wide range of communities and a diverse and inclusive workplace. We seek candidates willing to collaborate with the NYCLU to shape the project proposal through the funding application process. Once the NYCLU selects its candidates, the NYCLU will work with the candidates to craft a fellowship proposal and submit a joint application to the sponsoring organization.


If you would like to be considered for sponsorship, please submit an application, including a resume, writing sample (no more than 5-10 pages), a cover letter, and a brief description of a project proposal (no more than one- page, single-spaced) via  https://recruiting.paylocity.com/recruiting/jobs/Details/2442687/New-York-Civil-Liberties-Union-Foundation/2025-Legal-Fellow-Sponsorship-for-Organization-Funded-Fellowships 

Application materials submitted as a single .pdf are preferred but not required. To the extent possible, briefly indicate in your proposal how your project would also advance racial justice (e.g., by identifying, challenging, and undoing the effects and ideologies of racism). Because we are still assessing which subject areas to submit funding proposals for, please include in your cover letter whether you seek sponsorship for only your proposed project or whether you would be open to projects we suggest. Though the NYCLU will consider applications submitted after June 14, 2024, priority consideration will be given to those who submit applications by that date. 

The NYCLU is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, sex, gender identity or expression, age, disability, religion, national origin, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. 

The NYCLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail Director of Human Resources Lisa DeCicco at ldecicco@nyclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process. 

If you encounter any issues submitting your application or have specific questions about the application that are not answered in this posting, please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions below or contact: fellowships@nyclu.org. 

Fellowship FAQs

How long are fellowships at the NYCLU? 

Fellowships are limited term positions. Fellows are expected to complete either a one- or two-year term, depending on the length provided for by their external funding.

What is the external funding process like? 

Selected applicants will work together with the NYCLU to develop and submit proposals for national public interest law fellowships, such as the Skadden, Soros, Equal Justice Works, or Justice Catalyst Fellowships. These fellowships typically have deadlines in early fall. 

Selected applicants who are eligible for law-school specific fellowships, such as the Yale Liman Fellowship, NYU-Dedicated Post-Graduate Fellowships, Harvard Law Review Public Interest Fellowship, Columbia Fellowships, or University of Chicago Public Interest Law Fellowships, and similar school-sponsored fellowships, are encouraged to apply for those as well. These fellowships typically have deadlines in late winter and early spring.

External fellowship funders will generally require applicants to submit a project proposal depending on the fellowship’s requirements. Proposed projects often combine legal advocacy and impact litigation, policy advocacy, community outreach, and public education. Whatever the topic, we will collaborate with the selected fellowship candidate to develop a proposal that builds on the candidate’s interests and skills, ensures appropriate supervision and mentorship, fits with the NYCLU’s priorities, and employs strategies most likely to be effective in advancing the project’s goals. The NYCLU will collaborate with candidates to draft an application for external funding and prepare for interviews. 

How many fellows does the NYCLU sponsor? 

The number of fellows the NYCLU sponsors each year (between one and two fellows) depends on the specific fellowships to which applicants are applying and on space limitations. The position is contingent on a successful application to an externally funded fellowship program.

In the past, the NYCLU has agreed to sponsor candidates who we initially sponsored for EJW, Skadden, Soros, or Justice Catalyst but were not selected for a school-sponsored fellowship later on. We will consider sponsoring those candidates who were not selected for organization-based funding through school-based fellowship. The school-based funding must cover most of the annual salary.

What NYCLU departments can fellows work in? 

NYCLU fellows may be housed in the Legal Department, Policy Department, Education Policy Center or Racial Justice Center. Some fellows work in more than one department. 

The Legal Department engages primarily in impact litigation and files lawsuits in federal and state courts in cases that raise civil liberties and civil rights issues that have potential impact on a large number of people. The Policy Department monitors legislative and policy initiatives statewide that implicate constitutional rights and liberties; drafts and supports affirmative legislation that advances constitutional freedoms, and opposes laws, rules, and policies that would compromise those freedoms; represents the NYCLU at the state legislature in Albany; and advocates with state and local government agencies on rules and regulations. The Education Policy Center advances young people’s civil rights and liberties through legislative advocacy, litigation, community outreach and public education, focusing on ending the school-to-prison pipeline, promoting school integration efforts, ensuring safe and supportive schools for all students, and securing comprehensive and inclusive sexuality education across the state. The Racial Justice Center is committed to strengthening efforts of eliminating racism in every corner of NY. The Racial Justice center challenges the ideologies of white supremacy and the impacts of racism, leveraging the NYCLU’s tools of litigation, community advocacy, legislative initiatives, and public education.

Where is the NYCLU’s staff located? 

The Legal Department, Policy Department, Education Policy Center and Racial Justice Center are primarily located in its New York City offices, but the NYCLU will consider applicants who wish to base their work in one of the NYCLU’s regional areas. The Policy Department, Education Policy Center and Racial Justice Center are at 55 Broadway and the Legal Department is at 125 Broad (about a 8-minute walk away from each other).

NYCLU staff is currently working in a hybrid model. A number of in-person days will be required. 

What are the salary and benefits?

A fellow’s salary is subject to the NYCLU’s attorney salary scale, which is based on years of legal experience. 2025 law school graduates currently start at 82,000. If the fellowship pays less, the NYCLU will pay the additional amount to bring the fellow up to the attorney salary scale. 

The NYCLU offers a competitive benefits package. 

After I submit my sponsorship application to the NYCLU, when will I hear back?

The NYCLU will make decisions in July once the priority deadline of June 14th passes. We may consider additional applications until the positions are filled. 

What are some examples of past fellowship projects? 

In the past, we have sponsored fellowship candidates to conduct litigation, research, and/or advocacy on a wide range of issues. Some recent examples include: 

  • Provide direct representation, impact litigation, and policy advocacy to address the overrepresentation of students of color, immigrant youth, and emergent bilingual students in special education in Westchester County.
  • Combatting family separation and surveillance through the child welfare system (“the new Jane Crow”) by improving parent representation through policy advocacy and community education.
  • Providing direct services and impact litigation to promote equal access to education for low-income immigrant children on Long Island who were facing discrimination and inadequate services.
  • Engaging in advocacy, public education, outreach, and litigation to challenge the use of religion to discriminate against individuals seeking reproductive health care and LGBTQ New Yorkers.
  • Protecting the constitutional rights of people on parole in the state of New York.
  • Supporting Section 8 voucher recipients who face discrimination in Onondaga County using public education, direct representation, and impact litigation.