Civil Rights Legal Internship Program – Summer 2022

August 18, 2021

Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), an interdisciplinary, community driven civil rights organization, invites second-year law students (2L’s) with a demonstrated commitment to public interest work to apply for our Summer Legal Internship Program. Applications for our program are accepted and assessed on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. We strongly encourage early applications. 

About NYLPI’s Summer Internship Program 

NYLPI’s summer program provides ten weeks of substantive legal work and intensive  training in a collaborative environment under the supervision of experienced  attorneys. NYLPI seeks to eliminate financial barriers to participation in our internship program, and invites applicants to discuss the potential for stipends, if  needed. We welcome summer legal interns in three core program areas: 

  • Disability Justice works to advance civil rights and ensure equality of  opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities.  Our advocacy spans many areas, including housing, transportation,  education, community integration, and government programs and services. 
  • Environmental Justice fights to create sustainable, healthy communities  and end disproportionate exposure to pollution, including through community  organizing, legislative advocacy, and litigation in partnership with neighborhoods with low incomes and communities of color that bear an unfair burden of environmental threats.
  • Health Justice seeks to end discriminatory barriers to health care, procure healthful housing and other spaces, and promote healthy lives by focusing on health care advocacy using a lens of racial justice and immigrant rights. Our advocacy combats structural racism that produces adverse social determinants of health, and includes significant work to improve health care access for immigrants with serious medical needs.

Typical work assignments include 

  • Drafting memoranda and conducting legal research in support of litigation and policy campaigns 
  • Interviewing and assisting in representing individual clients 
  • Meeting and strategizing with community organizations 
  • Attending court and legislative hearings

Additional learning opportunities have included 

  • A legislative advocacy training led by NYLPI’s lobbyist 
  • A tour of the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit by a federal judge
  • A tour of the Museum of Modern Art’s accessibility features 
  • “Brownbag” lunch discussions to learn about community organizing campaigns

How to Apply 

Please submit (1) a cover letter explaining your interest in a summer legal internship  with NYLPI, (2) your resume, and (3) a legal writing sample (no more than five pages) via email to [email protected] with “2022 Summer Legal Internship” in the subject line. Please include in your cover letter a specific answer to the following required question: How have your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, prepared you to contribute to our commitment to cultural competency and diversity, equity, and inclusion? Feel free to think broadly about your response to this  question, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences. 

Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion 

We strongly encourage candidates fluent in multiple languages and candidates from groups that have historically experienced oppression to apply. We are committed to advancing racial justice and civil rights in our advocacy, and we value the  dynamism and perspective that staff diversity, equity, and inclusion bring to the work  and culture of our organization. We strive to promote behaviors, attitudes and policies  that enable us to work inclusively and effectively in cross-cultural situations with clients, co-workers, and community partners. We actively recruit and seek to grow and maintain  a staff that is diverse along many axes, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and  national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; and sexual orientation and gender identity. 

About New York Lawyers for the Public Interest 

For more than 40 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for New  Yorkers opposing marginalization on the basis of race, immigration status, poverty,  neighborhood pollution, and disabilities. NYLPI pioneered the practice of community  lawyering in the five boroughs of New York City. These communities shape our  priorities, and their struggles for justice demand innovative solutions. Our  interdisciplinary teams of advocates use every tool available – community organizing,  impact litigation and individual representation, policy advocacy, media, pro bono  partnerships, and public education – to solve seemingly intractable problems, develop  leaders, and build collective power to achieve justice. We strive to create equal access  to health care, achieve equality of opportunity and self-determination for people with  disabilities, ensure immigrant opportunity, strengthen local nonprofits, and secure  environmental justice for communities of color and communities with low incomes.

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