Civil Rights Legal Internship Program – Summer 2024

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: working 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: confronting environmental racism and working to eliminate the unfair burden of environmental hazards borne by low-income communities and Indigenous, Black, Brown, Asian, and other communities of color in an effort to create a more equitable and sustainable New York. NYLPI supports local, bottom-up leadership and strengthens communities’ ability to assert their right to a healthy and sustainable environment. 
  • Health Justice: bringing a racial equity and immigrant justice focus to multi-faceted advocacy to ensure health care for all.  In close partnership with frontline communities, the Health Justice team fights for healthcare coverage for all New Yorkers, seeks alternatives to police intervention for people experiencing mental health crises, works to address the social determinants of health, and combats the devastating human rights crisis wrought by the immigration detention machine. 

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 and organizations
  • 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 duties require. NYLPI currently expects a minimum of two days in the office. 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 opposing marginalization based on race, immigration status, poverty, disability, and a range of intersectional identities. 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 frontline communities. To learn more about NYLPI, visit

Please send applications to [email protected] with the subject line “Attention: Civil Rights Legal Internship Program – Summer 2024.”  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.  Students enrolled in an accredited Historically Black College or University or a public law school are also encouraged 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 maintain a staff that is diverse along many axes, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; sexual orientation; and gender identity. 


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