The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida (ACLU-FL) invites first- and second-year law students to apply for a summer clerkship with our Miami regional office. The deadline for submission of applications is June 5, 2023, but applications will be considered—and offers may be made—on a rolling basis; it is possible that all available slots will be filled before the deadline passes. The clerkship requires a commitment for a minimum of 10 weeks, with the option of extending the clerkship through the Fall and Spring of 2024.
The ACLU-FL, Florida’s largest legal and public advocacy organization, is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization employing litigation, public advocacy, public education, and communication to protect and promote a broad range of constitutional issues and individual rights. The ACLU-FL is an affiliate of the national ACLU, which implements its vital civil liberties mission in all 50 states in large part through affiliate entities such as the ACLU-FL. Operating out of six offices in Miami (main), Tampa, Pensacola, Orlando, Tallahassee, and Jacksonville, the Florida affiliate is among the larger ACLU affiliates in the nation. Our work ranges from educating the public to representing individual and organizational clients in state and federal courts including the Florida Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.
The ACLU-FL endeavors to attract diverse students who demonstrate a strong commitment to social justice and exceptional leadership potential to work on pressing legal issues involving—among other things—voting rights, criminal justice reform, and immigration. A summer clerk’s work may include a particular focus on criminal justice, immigrants’ rights, and voting rights, but students should anticipate their assignments will include experience in other areas as well.
The ACLU-FL litigates a broad range of complex constitutional cases in federal and state courts through direct representation, filing amicus briefs, and submitting administrative complaints to state and federal agencies. ACLU law clerks work closely with staff attorneys and have the unique opportunity to research and apply constitutional legal theories to real-world problems and gain a practical understanding of constitutional issues.
This position is specifically focused on the ACLU of Florida’s Immigrants’ Rights Campaign Detention Program, which focuses on litigation and legal advocacy to address abuses in conditions of confinement for immigrants in ICE detention. The law clerk will specifically focus on the Florida Detention Database, in both collecting complaints, investigating complaints of confinement in ICE detention, and working one on one with detained clients seeking redress and assistance for abusive conditions in ICE custody. The law clerk will work closely with Immigrants’ Rights staff attorneys and other Immigrants’ Rights staff members to focus on an integrated advocacy approach to protect the right of immigrants in detention, end abuses in ICE detention, and educate the public about the reality of life in ICE detention facilities.
The law clerk will be primarily responsible for:
- Managing the Detention Database intake line and escalating egregious complaints for further investigation
- Conducting research and investigating complaints of abuse, especially to identify patterns of abuse
- Conducting intake and client meetings
- Conducting factual, legal, and policy research
- Researching prospects for new litigation, including factual and legal claims
- Drafting pleadings, briefs, and other litigation documents
- Assisting the Immigrants’ Rights Detention Program with various advocacy efforts, which will include meeting with individuals (either virtually or in person) in ICE detention facilities, working within coalition spaces to address abuses in ICE detention, and participating in ongoing programs to further the Immigrants’ Rights Campaign goals within the Detention Program.
DESIRED EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
- Excellent legal-writing, research, and communication skills
- Ability to analyze complex legal issues
- Self-motivation and demonstrated initiative to see projects through to completion
- Ability to handle multiple projects and meet deadlines
- Experience with policy advocacy and/or public education preferred
- A demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties issues
- Fluency in Spanish
Students are strongly encouraged to seek funding from their law schools or other foundations to sustain them financially, although hourly payment may be available in some circumstances.
HOW TO APPLY
Applicants should send a cover letter, résumé, law school transcript, original legal writing sample, and contact information for three references to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please indicate “2023 Immigrants’ Rights Detention Program Legal Clerkship” in the subject line of your email and where you learned of this job posting.
The ACLU of Florida is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Florida 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, or veteran status. We encourage formerly incarcerated individuals to apply. If selected for an interview, please advise if financial assistance is needed in order to attend.
The ACLU of Florida undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions. Fluency in Spanish or Creole is desired but not required.