Law Clerk and Internship Opportunities with the Civil Liberties Defense Center
Who we are
The CLDC is a nonprofit organization of practicing public interest attorneys and organizers focused on defending and upholding the rights of activists through education, outreach, litigation, and legal support. The CLDC formed in January 2003.
Our goals include: 1) Making the progressive social change movement in Oregon and around the country more effective by educating activists about their rights; 2) making sure activists have adequate legal protection from corporate and government attacks on their civil liberties; and 3) helping organize a movement to confront threats to our rights from the USA PATRIOT Act, AETA, and other right-wing initiatives.
To accomplish these goals, we: 1) Provide activists with free or reduced rate legal representation for activists working on a variety of environmental and social justice causes (and provide referrals); 2) act as a resource for activists and activist attorneys by providing free legal advice, legal research, legal briefs and trainings; and 3) organize other attorneys, activists and the general public in campaigns to stop attacks on civil liberties.
How we mentor
Fall & Spring Semesters: During the academic year, the CLDC offers a variety of pro bono clerkship opportunities. The number of hours required varies depending upon the clerk and our schedules. Clerks provide research and litigation assistance to the CLDC on an assortment of government and police misconduct cases, protestor defense cases, and timely topical and legislative research topics.
Due to our staff size, we are able to supervise only 2 clerks per semester. We are willing to consider long distance/electronic clerkships for students attending law schools other than the University of Oregon, but we prefer working with students locally in Eugene, Oregon.
Summer Program: Legal interns perform 200 hours of legal research and/or program work regarding a plethora of civil liberties issues. Past interns worked on the use of RICO, anti-terrorist statutes, and other environmental and animal rights based laws passed in recent years. We have several federal police misconduct cases ongoing, including challenging the use of tasers. It is likely that we will also assist activists arrested during demonstrations throughout the summer. We will also continue developing and updating our brief bank databases, websites, Patriot Act materials, and presentations. Attorney Lauren Regan will primarily supervise this intern position.
We are seeking secure funding for modest summer stipends. We strongly encourage applicants to secure funding through their schools, the National Lawyers Guild (NLG), or other public interest funding sources. We willingly cooperate in any way possible to assist students to secure fellowships, stipends, or private grants that are able to fund their summer work with the CLDC. We are also more than happy to assist clerks attempting to secure academic or other credit through their schools as well.
We require all summer clerks to work from our Eugene, Oregon office, though in rare circumstances we will consider long-distance applicants as well.
Undergraduates and Others
The CLDC offers internship opportunities for undergraduates and other people who are serious about contributing to the program work of our organization. We participate in providing academic credit to a variety of colleges and universities. We select 2 non-law student interns per term. Unfortunately, these positions currently are pro bono (unpaid). Interns work with the staff and attorneys on program research, outreach, and litigation support. We also offer internships for students looking for nonprofit or fundraising experience as well.
Interns provide 8-10 hours of work per week. Depending on the project or assignment, some of this work can be completed outside of the Eugene office.
Fall clerks should submit their materials by August 1st
Fall term begins on approximately September 1st
Spring clerks should submit their materials by December 1st
Spring term begins on approximately January 15th
Summer clerks should submit their materials starting on February 1st. Applications will no longer be accepted after March 15th
Summer term begins on approximately June 15th
Fall interns should submit their materials by September 1
Fall term begins on approximately October 1
Winter interns should submit their materials by December 1
Winter term begins close to January 1
Spring interns should submit their materials by March 1
Spring term begins on approximately April 1
Summer interns should submit their materials by May 1
Summer term begins approximately June 1
(Summer internships are more competitive, so we encourage you to apply early)
How to Apply
Please provide us with the following materials—electronic format is fine:
- Cover letter illustrating your public interest background or desires, when you want to commence your internship with us, and any other special needs or considerations we should know about in evaluating your application.
- Your current resume
- 4 references, including at least 1 that can attest to your public interest or activist experience
- You will be required to submit our “volunteer application” for security screening and confidentiality purposes.
- Please specify which term you are applying for in your cover letter
Please contact info [at] cldc.org with any concerns or questions.
The Civil Liberties Defense Center (CLDC) does not discriminate with respect to employment, membership, or provision of services on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, disability, socio-economic background, age, sexual orientation, marital status, political affiliation, national origin, ancestry, status with regards to public assistance, or immigration status. The CLDC is committed to diversity in staff, leadership and membership. Our outreach, recruitment, and hiring practices reflect our commitment to actively developing the skills of a diverse community.