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 (Washington D.C.)

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August 21, 2013

The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF)* is currently accepting law student internship applications for Summer 2014 in LDF's Washington D.C. office.  Summer interns will be responsible for legal and policy research, legal writing, policy analysis, monitoring federal legislation and administrative activity, factual investigation, development of educational and outreach material, discovery review, and/or other needs that may arise during the summer.  Intern assignments depend on the needs of LDF’s legal and policy staff during the summer months. Summer interns will be exposed to a variety of activity within the largest national civil rights coalition, including a series of brown bag luncheons featuring prominent civil rights and public interest attorneys, attended by interns from numerous non-profit legal organizations.

The internship positions are unpaid and limited in number.  Students are advised to seek summer funding from their law schools, student-run public interest organizations and foundations.  (Some law schools do not provide funding; we accept students from those law schools too.)  Although we prefer second-year law students, exceptional first-year law students will also be considered. Interns are expected to work for at least eight weeks during the summer, but split summers may be accommodated on a case-by-case basis.

Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, 5-10 page writing sample, and list of three references to the appropriate office below. Positions will be filled on a rolling basis; we encourage applicants to apply as soon as possible beginning October 2013.

Washington D.C. Office:
Debra Finley
1444 Eye Street, N.W., 10th Floor
Washington, DC 20005
No phone calls please.


LDF remains committed to cultivating the next generation of civil rights attorneys; and we also rely 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.  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 disfranchised groups.  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 involved 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, we vigorously challenge policies and practices that limit educational access and opportunity and combat 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, we actively litigate 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 has been the leading minority voting rights advocacy organization.  Litigation aimed at enforcement of the Voting Rights Act and other federal voting rights laws, legislative advocacy and public education remain central to LDF’s Political Participation Group (PPG).  PPG also works on prison-based gerrymandering, redistricting, voter registration/access laws, and other allied issues.  Interns will work closely with PPG attorneys on litigation and other matters to ensure that minority voting rights are defended.  Interns working with PPG will also have the unique opportunity to assist with redistricting efforts after the 2010 Census, and to work on our Prepared to Vote campaign, a public education program geared at empowering communities for 2012 elections.
  • 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 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.