Law Graduate Public Interest Fellowship Opportunities

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The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is a national network of close to fifty community-based organizations in 35 states that build organizing power to transform the local, state and national policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community organizing groups and progressive labor unions nationwide. CPD provides legal and strategic support on state and local legislative campaigns that advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda, while building a federal campaigning program that is at the forefront of efforts to stop Trumpism.  Alongside our policy campaigns, we collaborate with established and emerging grassroots organizations in our network as they develop and refine their community organizing methodology and internal management, fundraising, and communications infrastructure.

Our national staff of more than 60 includes campaigners, organizers, researchers, communications experts, digital organizers, and 11 attorneys and law graduates, based in offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and satellite offices in California, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Texas and Puerto Rico.  Our lawyers provide policy, legal, and strategic support on a wide array of legislative and administrative campaigns.

CPD is developing and moving cutting-edge policies in partnership with some of the most sophisticated community and labor organizations in the country.  Currently, we are:

  • Challenging discriminatory policing policies and practices;
  • Fighting overly aggressive immigration enforcement policies and advancing an affirmative agenda for immigrants’ rights, including municipal ID, language access, state citizenship, and non-citizen voting;
  • Advancing next-generation wage and hour standards like sustainable scheduling, the right to full-time hours, and a right to earn sick leave;
  • Designing policy solutions to help organize low-wage workers in industries including fast food, logistics/warehousing, retail, car wash, childcare, and others;
  • Securing access to affordable, safe housing for urban communities and ensuring that states provide affordable housing region-wide;
  • Advancing ambitious climate justice policies rooted in the priorities of low income communities and communities of color, such as cap & div policies;
  • Pursuing a vision of quality public education for all, including accountability of charter schools and expansion of the community school model; and
  • Building a stronger and more inclusive democracy by protecting the right to vote and winning pro-democracy reforms including automatic and same-day voter registration, ex-offender re-enfranchisement, redistricting and campaign finance reforms.    
  • Building political and organizing power to resist Trump’s attacks on workers, immigrants, communities of color, women and Muslims.

Through our work with state affiliates we are building and exercising power to protect our communities, fight to defend and advance our rights, and to win and protect progressive policy gains. We are working to advance high-impact city and state policy changes that working families can see, touch and feel every day, while also helping to build a base for a broader shift in values and national priorities. 

About the Fellowship Process: Organizations such as Equal Justice Works and the Skadden Fellowship Foundation each provide two-year fellowships to graduating law students or outgoing judicial clerks who are motivated to work at a public interest law office. CPD seeks talented, public interest-oriented graduating law students and outgoing clerks to sponsor for all fellowships (including EJW, Skadden, Soros, Kirkland Ellis, Liman, and other school-specific fellowships) in the fall of 2016, to begin work at CPD in the fall of 2018.  Candidates should be interested in deploying their legal skills in support of grassroots movements and learning about strategic policy advocacy.

All public interest fellowship programs are very competitive, and applicants need time to develop project proposals and complete applications.  CPD thus strongly encourages all interested applicants to apply as early as possible. Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, legal writing sample for which the applicant is the sole or primary author, most recent transcript (unofficial is fine) and three references, including daytime telephone numbers, to We will work with applicants to develop proposals, but please include a brief discussion of potential project ideas and why CPD would be an appropriate host organization for the contemplated project in your cover letter.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis but must be received as by Wednesday, July 5.  Please note: only 3Ls graduating in 2018 or outgoing judicial clerks are eligible to apply. You will not be contacted if your application is incomplete.  Please contact with any questions.

CPD is an affirmative action employer. We actively recruit people of color, people with disabilities, and people with diverse gender and sexual identities.

Location: New York, NY
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