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The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (“ACLU”) and Human Rights Watch (“HRW”) invite applications for the Aryeh Neier Fellowship. The fellow will work with both organizations on joint initiatives to strengthen respect for human rights in the United States.

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and the laws of the United States guarantee everyone in this country.  Whether it’s achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, ending mass incarceration, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.

Human Rights Watch is an international human rights monitoring and advocacy organization known for its in-depth investigations, its incisive and timely reporting, its innovative and high-profile advocacy campaigns, and its success in changing the human rights-related policies and practices of influential governments and international institutions.

Human Rights Watch and the ACLU created the fellowship in 2002 with generous funding from the Open Society Institute to honor the legacy of Aryeh Neier. As executive director of the ACLU and then of Human Rights Watch, Aryeh Neier helped develop both organizations into powerful forces for justice and human rights.

A special committee from both organizations will select the fellow, who will begin the two-year fellowship in the fall of 2015. He or she will most likely be placed in the New York City offices of Human Rights Watch and the ACLU, spending a year at each; however, the fellow should be open to placement in the organizations’ offices in other locations in the US.

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Conduct field research in the United States
  • Prepare reports and advocacy materials
  • Assist with the development of litigation strategies


  • A recent J.D. graduate of a US law school or have a J.D. degree granted by June 2015
  • Sit for the bar exam prior to commencing the fellowship in September 2015
  • Eligibility to practice law in the US during the second year of the fellowship
  • Academic or work experience related to some aspect of the protection of human rights and civil liberties in the United States
  • Exceptional analytical skills, and an ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative and follow through on projects to completion
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Proficiency in one language in addition to English is preferred but not required
  • A demonstrated commitment to human rights and justice


The fellow will receive $55,000 in the first year, with a salary increase in the second year.            


Applications should contain a cover letter; resume; two letters of recommendation; at least one unedited, unpublished writing sample (no legal briefs, please); and an official law or graduate school transcript. Complete applications (including transcripts and recommendations) must be received no later than October 15, 2014. Complete applications (including transcripts and recommendations) should be sent by e-mail, under single cover (in one email) and preferably as one PDF file (or, at a minimum, as separate PDF files), to with the name of the fellowship in the subject line.

Applicants must be available for interviews in New York from early November to mid-December 2014. Inquiries may be directed to Please see for more information.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required.  It does not represent a contract of employment.  The ACLU/HRW reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

Human Rights Watch and the ACLU are equal opportunity employers that value a diverse and inclusive culture and encourage applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "ACLU".

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