U.S. Advocacy and Litigation Legal Intern

Reporting To: U.S. Advocacy and Litigation Staff Attorney

Department: U.S. Advocacy and Litigation

Part-Time, Non-Exempt

Location: Remote/Hybrid (Students have the option to work out of our New York City, or Washington D.C.)

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is seeking candidates for legal internships within the U.S. Advocacy and Litigation team to advance our work in combating human rights abuses in the U.S. criminal and immigration systems. Applications are considered, and positions are offered on a rolling basis, but preference will be given to applications received by 11:59 pm EST on Sunday, November 5, 2023.

About the U.S. Advocacy and Litigation team:

The U.S. Advocacy and Litigation team partners with grassroots human rights defenders to reduce the size, scope, and power of mass incarceration in American society. Working across the country, we educate people and policy makers on human rights, document human rights abuses for use in advocacy and litigation, expose corruption and impunity, and litigate cases that bring structural change.

Examples of our work include stopping medical abuse of immigrants held in isolated immigration detention centers; partnering with activists to pass legislative bans on solitary confinement of juveniles; documenting systemic abuse of Black immigrants at the U.S. border in human rights reporting cited in federal civil rights lawsuits and United Nations hearings; extracting government records on deaths of transgender people in federal custody; and litigating accountability cases against local police departments who have violated human rights to freedom from racial discrimination and extrajudicial killings.

The U.S. Advocacy and Litigation Legal Intern will assist the team in planning, researching, and drafting advocacy and litigation materials, primarily related to racial discrimination, solitary confinement, and other abusive prison conditions. Ongoing projects that the Intern might contribute to include investigation and preparation of human rights reports and federal civil rights complaints, federal litigation under the Freedom of Information Act and Federal Torts Claim Act seeking accountability for human rights abuses, and preparation for submission and hearings before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and United Nations treaty bodies concerning human rights abuses in the criminal and immigration systems.

Internship Responsibilities:

  • Assisting in legal research, including litigation strategies related to accountability for police and prison abuses under the Federal Torts Claim Act, habeas corpus, and other laws

  • Analyzing documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act for use in grassroots policy and legislative change campaigns

  • Researching and drafting submissions to international human rights treaty bodies

  • Providing on-site legal information presentations at isolated immigration detention centers around the U.S.

  • Providing additional support to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights staff on an as-needed basis.

A successful candidate must have the following skills and experiences:

  • Current law student;

  • Excellent legal writing and research skills;

  • Interest in and commitment to racial justice, social movements, and the transformation of the criminal and immigration legal systems;

  • A demonstrated passion for RFKHR’s mission and demonstrated commitment to community-centered advocacy;

  • Strong verbal and written communication skills;

  • Strong attention to detail and able to scope out errors, including a willingness to own and fix mistakes;

  • Exceptional time management, including the ability to manage multiple tasks and projects at once;

  • Flexible, patient, and able to stay gracious under pressure;

  • High level of integrity and discretion in handling confidential information;

  • Innovative thinking, willingness to voice your opinions, and a strong work ethic are essential;

  • Strong sense of teamwork that builds positive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and a willingness to help others;

  • Believes in inclusivity when working with colleagues with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Preferred but not required qualifications:

  • Second language skills, particularly Spanish and Haitian Kreyol are a plus;

Availability and Compensation:

  • Fall and spring semester internships are eligible for school credit.

  • Interns will receive a $750 monthly stipend and any needed commuting expenses will be covered.

  • Application Deadline for Spring 2024 internships is November 5, 2023.

How to Apply:

  • Submit your resume and cover letter to [email protected] with “Your Name + U.S. Advocacy and Litigation Legal Intern” in the subject heading.

  • In your cover letter please include how you heard about this role and why you’re interested in this position.

No phone calls please. RFK Human Rights will contact qualified candidates directly.

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer and believes we are stronger and more effective by working internally and externally with people of all abilities, diverse backgrounds, and a range of perspectives, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or underrepresented. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We do not discriminate in our hiring practices and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seek a diverse applicant pool. If you’re in need of an accommodation at any time during the application and hiring process please contact us by emailing your request to [email protected] with the subj. line “Accommodation Request”. Examples include, but are not limited to:

  • Having documents in alternate formats or read aloud

  • Having interviews in a more accessible location/format