Sponsored by the Federal Bar Association LGBTQ+ Law Section
Position: Law Student Externship - Fall 2023 & Spring 2024
Office Location: Within a Lambda Legal Regional Office*
Work Type: Per Lambda Legal's Work From Home (WFH) Policy, Work From Office (WFO) and WFH options are available with supervisor approval.
Reports To: Senior Counsel and Youth in Out-of-Home Care Project Director
Stipend: $3,000 per 10-week semester based program
Hours: Minimum of 15 hours per week
Who We Are
Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ+ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, DC.
We believe that serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, we must approach our work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, we recognize the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, we prioritize awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.
Federal Bar Association LGBTQ+ Law Student Externship
The Federal Bar Association LGBTQ+ Law Section, in partnership with Lambda Legal, has established a program for two law students to work as in-house legal externs at Lambda Legal during the Fall Semester 2023 and Spring Semester 2024.
The Federal Bar Association LGBTQ+ Law Section is the newest addition to the Federal Bar Association, striving to create an open, inclusive, and engaging space for all federal practitioners—LGBTQ+ and allies alike. The Section strives to provide timely discussions on areas of law where LGBTQ+ legal rights are at issue and aims to provide high quality content to its members and to partner with other parts of the Federal Bar Association and external organizations to accomplish these goals.
Although tremendous progress has been made towards LGBTQ+ equality, the spate of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation and policy proposals over recent years has demonstrated the fragility of that progress, and, in turn, the tremendous importance of the work of organizations like Lambda Legal. Through this program, the LGBTQ+ Law Section seeks to contribute to furthering the cause of LGBTQ+ equality, while providing two law students with a demonstrated commitment to the goals of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (“DEIB”), and interest in representing LGBTQ+ persons in civil actions and through public policy work, with an opportunity to contribute substantively to Lambda Legalʻs vital work, build skills and experience advocating for LGBTQ+ individuals, and meaningfully advance DEIB initiatives.
The law student externs will provide valuable assistance with ongoing Lambda Legal litigation, law and policy development, and education efforts and receive valuable training and mentorship at a world-renowned organization dedicated to the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights and the rights of everyone living with HIV.
- Conduct factual and legal research in support of new and active litigation, policy work, and other client advocacy, with particular emphasis on identifying and addressing important LGBTQ+ and HIV legal issues that affect LGBTQ+ youth and youth who are involved in out-of-home care systems such as foster care, juvenile justice, services and programs for youth experiencing homelessness and survivors or at risk of trafficking, and undocumented immigrant youth.
- Assist with drafting court documents and parts of briefs for cases in state and federal courts and agencies.
- Analyze and prepare responses to state and federal legislation, regulations, and other executive actions affecting LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV.
- Research and draft policy and advocacy materials, such as publications, articles, and fact sheets, with particular emphasis on developing legal resources focused on the specific challenges LGBTQ+ people face in institutional settings such as schools, shelters and criminal legal systems - and on the specific challenges of people living with HIV.
- Participate in case team meetings, internal strategic discussions, and external coalition meetings.
- Candidates must be able to commit to a one semester long legal externship with a total of 150 hours of work per semester (15 hours per week for ten weeks) and be a current law student in their second or third year of law school at the time of the externship
- Externs must possess a high level of independence and initiative, good judgment, excellent research and writing skills, and the ability to work collaboratively and collegially with lawyers and other staff members to produce high-caliber legal work under demanding deadlines.
- Due to the focused and challenging nature of the work Lambda Legal does, we prefer to hire law students who have some experience with issues relating to our mission. Thus, a background in or familiarity with issues important to lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and those living with HIV will greatly strengthen an application. Commitment to public interest law also greatly strengthens an application. Lambda Legal encourages applications from people of color and people with disabilities, including HIV.
Successful candidates will welcome the opportunity to work in a racially- and gender-diverse environment and to contribute to a positive and inclusive atmosphere. A law student externship at Lambda Legal requires a demonstrated awareness of and commitment to the concerns of the breadth of the communities that Lambda Legal serves. Serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ+ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and a commitment to addressing the multilayered and interlocking forms of discrimination and oppression that exist in our society, including discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, immigration status, disability, religion, education, and class. Any successful candidate must be able to demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of the importance of integrating our commitment to combating these other forms of discrimination into our work to eradicate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, nonconformity with gender stereotypes, or HIV status.
Thanks to funding through the Federal Bar Association Foundation and the FBA’s LGBTQ+ Law Section, Lambda Legal is able to provide a stipend of $3,000 per semester. Externship participants will receive $1,500 at the beginning of the semester and $1,500 at the conclusion of the semester.
Students interested in applying should fill out the application form and submit a current resume and cover letter. In the cover letter please indicate your interest in a Fall 2023 externship, Spring 2024 externship, or if you would be open to consideration for either option.
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Lambda Legal believes in creating a more equitable playing field for applicants and values the depth of relevant skills built through successful education, work, and life experiences. If your background and skills are a close match for this position, you are strongly encouraged to apply.
Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ+, HIV-affected and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. Lambda Legal encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship or immigration status, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color, lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, transgender and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals and individuals living with HIV are all encouraged to apply.