September 16, 2022


Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Bakersfield Office Note: Hybrid and Remote opportunities are available upon request and approval. Must reside in CA from start of employment. 



Deadline date

Open until filled

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California seeks a recent graduate or attorney with 0-3 years of experience for a one-year fellowship on the First Amendment and Democracy Project (“FAD”). The Fellow will join the FAD Project in developing litigation and supporting legal and policy advocacy to protect and expand free expression rights, freedom of religion, separation of church and state, access to government, and meaningful civic participation throughout Southern California. The Fellow will also join the Staff Attorney in providing technical assistance to community groups and equipping people with knowledge and tools to enhance free expression rights, ensure government transparency, and inform the public on their rights to engage with local government.

Founded in 1923, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Southern California (“ACLU SoCal”) has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Santa Ana), the Inland Empire (San Bernardino), and Kern (Bakersfield). ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including criminal justice, police practices, First Amendment rights, voting rights, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, education equity, and economic justice.

ACLU SoCal comprises two organizations: the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California. These two entities operate jointly as non-profit public interest organizations. The ACLU SoCal staff of more than 90 works in a fast-paced, friendly, and professional office environment.


The FAD Fellow will work with Director of the FAD Project and the FAD Staff Attorney to help develop and litigate state and federal cases; help create and implement policy advocacy campaigns to advance the rights of free expression, access to government, and government transparency; engage in public education; and provide technical assistance to coalitions, community partners, government officials, and government bodies. The Fellow may also support intersectional work in other issue areas as needed.

The FAD team advocates on the full range of free expression, access to government, and government transparency issues on which the ACLU SoCal engages locally and statewide. Litigation, advocacy, and public education campaigns include: protecting people’s rights to engage in protest, political advocacy, whistleblowing and other forms of free expression; ensuring local governments do not constrain people’s ability to comment on and criticize government policies; expanding and protecting access to government bodies and information and ensuring people can meaningfully participate in government proceedings; providing technical assistance and support to social justice movements and other ACLU teams needing support with protest and government access issues in their campaigns; and stopping government favoritism of religion or particular religions. The FAD fellow will also collaborate intra-organizationally to support other ACLU SoCal Project teams’ work to stop the use of religion to restrict other rights. The FAD Fellow may also support the FAD team’s voting rights work when needed and may also support intersectional work in other issue areas as needed.

The Fellow will also work with other attorneys, policy advocates, organizers from other ACLU of SoCal Projects; attorneys and advocates in ACLU Northern California and San Diego and Imperial Counties offices; advocates in our Sacramento legislative office, and communications staff as needed and when intersectional issues arise.

The Fellow will be supervised by the Director of the FAD team within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department.
The position requires a willingness to work beyond a standard 7.5 hour workday, including evening and weekend meetings and events. Work weeks in excess of 40 hours are anticipated to be common.

The Fellow is expected to model professional behavior and standards, and clearly and enthusiastically demonstrate guiding principles of integrity, respect, accountability, compassion, and leadership.


Full-time, Exempt; Term Limited, One-year position.


The ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Fellow will work on cases, advocacy projects, public education, and campaigns. The attorney’s responsibilities will be the following:

  • Conduct research, legal advocacy, and factual investigations to help develop and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.
  • Be part of litigation teams, serve as co-counsel, and work in conjunction with other legal, policy, and organizing staff within the ACLU SoCal, the other two California ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations.
  • Serve as, and help other Project staff serve as, a First Amendment and government access and transparency policy expert and advocate in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, and outreach, as well as writing demand letters, sign-on letters, advocacy materials, op-eds, articles, reports, blogs, toolkits, and social media content.
  • Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region; run trainings for activists and organizers; and establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and ACLU members to identify issues.
  • Conduct and support other Project staff’s outreach, advocacy, and technical assistance to public officials and government bodies.
  • Help organize and attend lobbying visits with state and local officials, provide testimony to administrative agencies and governing bodies, and develop and cultivate relationships with lawmakers and decisionmakers to advance organizing and policy advocacy objectives.
  • Help devise and present engaging "know your rights" presentations, trainings, and engage in public speaking.
  • Help organize, lead, and participate in community education events and meetings.
  • When necessary, built, lead, and participate in coalitions, and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions.
  • Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work, as needed.
  • Supervise the work of interns, as needed, and support intern hiring.


The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring an attorney or recent graduate with approximately 0-2 years of experience for this position and will consider all applicants with approximately that level of experience with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, racial justice, and strong advocacy and litigation skills.


  • Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.
  • Ability to help develop and support litigation of impact cases.
  • Ability to work in diverse coalitions and develop advocacy campaigns.
  • Demonstrated ability to participate in inclusive and engaging spaces for all.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead projects, build strong relationships, and work well in collaboration with others.
  • A deep commitment to the cause of civil liberties and civil rights.
  • Willingness to travel regularly within Southern California as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.
  • Admitted to practice law in the state of California, awaiting results from the California bar exam, or intends to take the California bar exam during the Fellowship.


  • Familiarity working in the area of free expression, access to government, and/or government transparency.
  • Familiarity with and connections to the Southern California region and advocacy communities and movement in Southern California.
  • Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events.
  • Spanish language fluency.


  • Understanding and Applying Racial Equity

    • Demonstrate commitment to building or deepening understand of racial equity:
      • Core terms and concepts such as structural racism, white privilege, and anti-Blackness.
      • The role that racial inequity has played and continues to play in our society.
      • How race impacts supervisory relationships, team dynamics, and organizational culture.
      • Personal/implicit/unconscious bias.
  • Working for Racial Equity
    • Consistently assess structural implications and racially disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions within the context of their job responsibilities; race/ethnicity, intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, identity, and/or sexual orientation.
    • Consistently adhere to organization’s racial equity policies and procedures, including those that relate to hiring, retention, and promotion.
    • Consistently identify and disrupt ways in which bias plays out in work and/or team.


The Fellow will be paid pursuant to the ACLU SoCal’s salary scale, with the salary dependent on bar passage and years of experience: $62,500-$67,500. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long- term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and fifteen paid holidays.


Please also attach your resume, list of three references, a writing sample, and school transcript to our online recruitment portal:


Candidates are strongly encouraged to highlight their experience, skills, and demonstrated commitment and enthusiasm to work at ACLU SoCal in any of the identified issue areas. Compelling applications will also demonstrate experience and interest in engaging and collaborating with coalitions of community partners representing diverse interests.


The ACLU SoCal anticipates a start date in Fall 2022. Applications are open until filled.


Please include a detailed cover letter describing your interest in working with ACLU SoCal, your interest in working on the identified issue areas, and any relevant legal research, litigation, policy advocacy, and community engagement experience. Please also clearly identify any geographic preferences (Los Angeles, Inland Empire, Kern, and/or Orange County).
Please also attach your resume, list of three references, a writing sample, and school transcript.

The ACLU of Southern California is committed to developing a culture of diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion and to strive to maintain a workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer that does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply and value people of all races, genders (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientations, disabilities, citizenships, ages, religions, and national origins and who have different marital statuses, family caregiving responsibilities, lived experiences with the criminal justice systems, and genetic information. The ACLU SoCal does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics.

The ACLU SoCal is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodation for the interview process.