Posted on July 18, 2019

*Please continue to check this page for updated information about 2020 fellowship opportunities.

The National Women’s Law Center is now recruiting rising third-year law students, judicial clerks, and other recent law school graduates interested in applying for Skadden, Equal Justice Works, or other law fellowships to begin in September 2020, to discuss their interest in basing a fellowship project at the Center. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, with priority given to those received earliest.

The Role

The fellow will support the Center’s work in one of the following program areas: Workplace Justice, Education, Income Security and Child Care, and Reproductive Rights & Health.  Some specific project ideas are described on our website at https://nwlc.org/jobs-at-nwlc/fellowships/, but applicants may draft their own project descriptions for consideration. Responsibilities may include researching and analyzing policy and legal issues; drafting a variety of materials, such as memos, fact sheets, reports, comments on regulations, legislation, legal briefs, and public education materials; and engaging and working with national and state-based coalitions and stakeholder organizations.

Qualifications

Law degree required. Must have excellent analytical, oral and written communications and organizational skills, attention to detail, and a demonstrated commitment to women’s issues. Experience working in a research, advocacy, or policymaking environment preferred. Applicants must be eligible to work in the U.S.

Compensation & Benefits

First year fellows will receive a salary of $61,125 per year or as provided by a specific fellowship program.

The Center offers a comprehensive benefits package, and four weeks of annual vacation.  NWLC is located on Metro’s Red Line in Dupont Circle.

Application

If you are interested in applying for a fellowship, submit a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample, and three references. Electronic submissions are preferred. Please send materials to fellowships@nwlc.org and include the appropriate fellowship application title in the subject line. Hard copies may be addressed to:  Human Resources Department, National Women’s Law Center, 11 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036, FAX: 202-588-5185.

The National Women’s Law Center is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer and values a diverse workforce.  We strongly encourage and seek applications from people with disabilities, people of all genders, people of color (including bilingual and bicultural individuals), veterans, and LGBTQI individuals.

Reasonable Accommodations

As noted above, NWLC welcomes applications from individuals with disabilities. If you require reasonable accommodations during any part of the hiring process, please email us at humanresources@nwlc.org or you may send the request by mail to:

National Women’s Law Center
ATTN: Human Resources Manager-Talent

11 Dupont Circle NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC 20036

 

Project Ideas for 2020

Education Project 1: Countering Forces Opposed to Gender Justice in School 

Since 2017, extremists opposed to gender and educational justice have seen their policies advanced in state legislatures, in the courts, and in the Trump Administration. These policies include attempts to require schools to ignore sexual harassment under Title IX regulations and state law, challenges to gender- and race-conscious affirmative action programs, the success of retaliatory defamation cases with other legal tactics meant to punish survivors for reporting harassment to their schools, and the proliferation in discrimination against transgender women and gender nonconforming students.  

This fellowship will begin mere months before the 2020 election and will continue throughout what will either be the first half of the Trump Administration’s second term or a new Administration. The former will likely result in a doubling down on these attacks on gender justice; the latter a painstaking restoration of students’ civil rights. Regardless of the result, advocates must be prepared to defeat the backlash against women’s rights or restore the harm done by it—and this fellowship presents an opportunity to be involved in that process. Specifically, this project will counter the backlash against gender justice through litigation and policy advocacy to affirm Title IX protections and activities, including protections against harassment and retaliation, the use of gender-conscious affirmative action programs, and the right to be free of discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Activities may include a combination of:  

  1. Local, state, and federal administrative and legislative advocacy to establish and strengthen protections against gender-based and sexual harassment, LGBTQ discrimination, and challenges to affirmative action programs benefiting women and girls in education 
  2. Public outreach and education to expand awareness of current protections under law 
  3. Direct representation and impact litigation to enforce, expand, and protect Title IX and other civil rights laws impacting students.

Education Project 2: Fighting to Keep Girls of Color in School with Counselors, Not Cops 

In response to mass shootings, many have urged lawmakers to protect the lives of children in school. Unfortunately, some policymakers have answered these calls with proposals that make schools look more like prisons than places for learning, e.g., more cops to patrol hallways, the use of militarized weapons in school and a return to zero tolerance policies. These policies do not stop school violence and lead to real harm for Black, Native American, undocumented and LGBTQ students. In addition, girls within these communities are doubly impacted by the threat of criminalization (e.g., increased arrests and referrals to law enforcement) and an increased risk of sexual harassment and misconduct—which is the second most frequently lodged complaint against law enforcement after excessive force. At the same time, these students also face race-and sex-based discrimination that pushes them out of school. 

These girls deserve schools that promote fairness in their discipline policies, that address sexual harassment in a comprehensive and preventative manner, and that ensure student’s physical and mental health needs are met. This fellowship will help make that ideal a reality by centering the needs of Black, Native American, undocumented girls, and gender-nonconforming students in discussions about school safety by highlighting the harm of police in schools and calling for more resources that build positive behavior and culturally responsive mental, social, and emotional supports for students in school. Activities may include: 

  1. Direct representation and impact litigation on behalf of girls facing overly harsh discipline and physical violence at the hands of school-based law enforcement; 
  2. Local and state administrative and legislative advocacy to: 
    1. Repeal vague laws that disproportionately criminalize Black girls for normal teenage behavior (e.g., school disturbance laws) and
    2. Strengthen students’ right to be free from discrimination in school—including in the allocation of mental health resources and other supports, as well as in interactions with school police; and  
  3. Public outreach and education to expand awareness of current protections under law. 

Income Security Project: Building Income Security for Women and Their Families

In an economy that rewards the wealthy and corporations, women and families are struggling to make ends meet. Women of color are getting paid less, build less wealth and fewer assets, and make up a disproportionate share of low-wage workers, compared to men and white, non-Hispanic women. At the same time, an increasing number of women face precarious jobs, where workplace protections are eroding and employer-provided benefits are nonexistent. Yet public benefits programs have not kept pace with modern employment trends. It is no surprise that women, especially women of color, are at a higher risk of falling into poverty, especially if they are raising children on their own.

Public benefits like Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and housing assistance, among others, help women provide a basic standard of living for themselves and their families. Federal tax credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) and Child Tax Credit (CTC) also provide a much-needed boost to the incomes of families with children, and the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (CDCTC) can help families meet the high cost of child care they need in order to go to work or school. (Many states offer versions of these credits that benefit millions of families across the country). These tax credits also counterbalance entrenched racial and gender-based inequities in the tax code.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration and some state policymakers have attacked programs that provide women and families meet basic needs like health care, food, and shelter, by proposing drastic funding cuts and structural changes that undermine the purpose of programs like Medicaid, SNAP, and housing assistance, including through work requirements that would prevent women struggling to make ends meet from accessing these critical benefits. These efforts to cut benefit programs for struggling families reflect the Administration’s hostility to so-called “welfare” programs (as well as to the women of color that this term implicitly references), and come on the heels of the 2017 Trump tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy and corporations. Recent policy proposals by the administration around benefits also reflect hostility to immigrant families. In advance of the 2020 presidential debates, this is an especially critical time to advocate for economic security for women and people of color.

The fellow would work with the Center to protect and improve public benefits and income supports for low-income women and families.  Specifically, the fellow would work to: (1) combat policy proposals that would cut or weaken public benefits for women and their families at the federal and state levels by using a range of advocacy tools and strategies, including administrative advocacy and, possibly, litigation efforts directly and/or alongside partner organizations, and (2) develop and advance affirmative policy proposals for income supports and tax policies that meet the needs of women and their families, and advance racial and gender justice.

Reproductive Rights & Health Project: Ensuring Access to Abortion

Right now our country is engaged in one of the greatest gender justice fights of our time, and reproductive rights are under unprecedented attack. Anti-abortion politicians are banning abortion, shutting down clinics, criminalizing providers, and shaming and judging women who seek abortion. In 2019 alone, state legislators introduced over 400 new abortion restrictions and enacted 58 restrictions, including several near total and unconstitutional bans on abortion. These attacks on abortion are not new; from 2010 to 2015, state lawmakers passed 288 abortion restrictions. But with Justice Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, the nomination and appointment of numerous lower court judges opposed to reproductive rights, and the anti-abortion rhetoric of the Trump administration, anti-abortion advocates have felt more emboldened than ever to pursue unconstitutional abortion bans and other restrictions on abortion access.   

But this unprecedented attack on our rights also presents us with an unprecedented opportunity.  In July, the National Women’s Law Center launched the Abortion Rights Project, with the goal of supporting and elevating efforts at the state and local level and connecting that work with action at the federal level. This fellowship would help support Abortion Rights Project initiatives, including providing technical assistance, such as legal and policy research and analysis, to groups working on the frontlines of protecting and expanding abortion access.

As noted, above, please continue to check this page. More projects for other teams may be added.

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