NAACP Legal Defense Fund : Defend, Educate, Empower

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"The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is simply the best civil rights law firm in American history." -- President Obama

Summer 2014 Law Students Internships (New York City)

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August 22, 2013

;The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)* is currently accepting applications from law students for internships in LDF’s New York Office for Summer 2014. Summer legal interns will be responsible for legal research, memorandum writing, factual investigation, development of educational and outreach materials, discovery review, and a host of other needs that arise in LDF’s litigation and advocacy efforts in the areas of Education, Political Participation, Economic Justice and Criminal Justice. Summer interns in the New York Office also will take part in weekly brown bag luncheons featuring prominent civil rights and public interest attorneys, participate in regular group discussions of LDF’s work, and attend social events which provide opportunities for interaction with LDF attorneys and fellow interns in a relaxed setting.

Internships are unpaid and limited in number.  Students may seek summer funding from their law school’s student-run public interest organizations and foundations.  Although LDF prefers to hire second-year law students, we will consider exceptional first-year law students.  Interns are expected to work for at least ten (10) weeks during the summer; split summers, however, may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis. 

Intern applicants should send a cover letter, résumé, 5-10 page writing sample, and list of three references to the address below.  LDF will fill summer legal intern positions on a rolling basis.  However, we encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible beginning October 2013, and no later than January 2014.

New York Office:
Director of Human Resources
NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc.
40 Rector Street, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10006
No phone calls please.


As part of LDF’s long-standing commitment to training the next generation of civil rights attorneys, LDF, through our internship program, relies on assistance from law students to support our litigation and advocacy efforts.  If you plan to pursue a career in racial justice and civil rights law, we want to hear from you.

BACKGROUND ON LDF:  LDF is a non-profit civil rights law firm founded in 1940 under the leadership of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and Charles Hamilton Houston.  For decades LDF has worked through the courts and Congress to make our nation’s constitutional and statutory guarantees of equal treatment and civil rights a reality for African Americans and other people of color.  LDF’s current docket reflects its continued commitment to combating race discrimination and its effects, ensuring equality of opportunity, and promoting inclusion of those who have been excluded from full participation on account of race.  In addition, LDF is engaged in policy and legislative work on civil rights issues at a national level.

LDF is nationally and internationally recognized for its pioneering and long-standing racial justice advocacy in its four main project areas: 

  • EDUCATION:  LDF’s Education Group recognizes that African American students and other students of color continue to be denied high quality, inclusive educational opportunities.  Through legal, legislative and policy advocacy, the Education Group vigorously challenges policies and practices that limit educational access and opportunity, and combats racial bias and discrimination in K-12 and higher education.
  • ECONOMIC JUSTICE:  LDF’s Economic Justice Group fights to ensure equal access to jobs and housing and to address other economic issues facing African American communities.  To that end, the Economic Justice Group actively litigates employment discrimination, housing discrimination, environmental justice, and fair lending cases in trial and appellate courts around the country, including the United States Supreme Court.  As new barriers to full economic participation for people of color are erected, LDF challenges them through litigation, policy reform, and public education.
  • POLITICAL PARTICIPATION:  For decades, from trial through the U.S. Supreme Court, LDF’s Political Participation Group (PPG) has been the leading minority voting rights advocacy organization.  Litigation aimed at enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights laws like the National Voter Registration Act, legislative advocacy, and public education remain central to PPG’s work.  PPG also works on prison-based gerrymandering, redistricting, voter registration/access laws, and other related issues.  Legal interns will work closely with PPG attorneys on litigation and other advocacy efforts to ensure that minority voting rights both are defended and advanced. 
  • CRIMINAL JUSTICE:  The Criminal Justice Project (CJP) focuses on the intersection between race and the criminal justice system.  The CJP docket includes, but is not limited to, work on the death penalty, jury discrimination, indigent defense representation, juvenile life without parole, and the “War on Drugs.”  CJP also maintains an active U.S. Supreme Court practice and has a long-standing history of representing death-sentenced prisoners throughout the country, leading to our involvement in some of the most seminal U.S. Supreme Court cases, including Furman v. Georgia, 408 U.S. 238 (1972) and McClesky v. Kemp, 481 U.S. 279 (1987).  Through litigation, legislative reform, advocacy and public education, CJP strives to fulfill its overarching mission to end the criminalization and mass incarceration of African Americans

* Founded in 1940, LDF is the leading law firm fighting for racial justice in America.  LDF has been a separate entity from the NAACP since 1957.