Civil Rights Legal Internship Program – Summer 2023

August 25, 2022

Disability Justice, Environmental Justice, Health Justice

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a community-driven civil rights organization, seeks second-year law students (2L’s) with a demonstrated commitment to public interest work to apply for our summer Civil Rights Legal Internship Program.


About NYLPI’s Civil Rights Legal Internship Program

NYLPI’s summer Civil Rights Legal Internship 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 public and private 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. Students enrolled in an accredited Historically Black College and University, or a public law school are particularly encouraged to apply.
  • Health Justice seeks to end discriminatory barriers to healthcare and promote healthy lives by focusing on healthcare advocacy using a lens of racial justice and immigrant rights. Our advocacy combats the human rights abuses in immigration detention and includes significant work to improve healthcare access for New Yorkers that are undocumented with serious medical needs.

Typical work assignments include

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

Additional learning opportunities have included

  • Attending court and legislative hearings
  • A legislative advocacy training led by NYLPI’s lobbyist
  • Program tours to facilitate experiential learning in NYLPI’s three program areas
  • “Brownbag” lunch discussions to learn about community organizing campaigns

NYLPI interns are expected to be available for work from our New York City office, and for in-person work as work requires. Currently, in-office work is voluntary due to high rates of COVID transmission.  NYLPI anticipates a gradual return to a minimum of two days per week of in-office work this fall. NYLPI requires all staff, interns, and volunteers to be up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, including boosters and show proof of COVID vaccination and booster before beginning the internship.



For more than 45 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for New Yorkers marginalized by 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, 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 low-income communities of color. To learn more about NYLPI, visit

Please send applications to [email protected] with the subject line “Attention: Civil Rights Legal Internship Program – Summer 2023.”  Applications for our program are accepted and assessed on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. We strongly encourage early applications. Applications must include:

  • Detailed cover letter explaining your interest in a summer legal internship with NYLPI and indicating any program area preference, with 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. Please also reference in your cover letter where you saw this posting.
  • Resume
  • Legal writing sample (no more than five pages)

We strongly encourage candidates fluent in multiple languages and candidates from historically marginalized populations to apply.  We are committed to advancing social 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 retain, a staff that is diverse along many axes, including race, ethnicity, national origin, disability, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and gender identity.


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