Job Announcement
Fall 2024 Legal Fellowship Opportunities
American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i
Honolulu, HI


ACLU of Hawaiʻi Logo

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi is excited to announce that our Legal Department is accepting applications to work as an ACLU Legal Fellow beginning in Fall 2024!

Who We Are
The ACLU of Hawai‘i is an affiliate office of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest organization devoted to the protection of civil liberties and civil rights through litigation, legislative advocacy, organizing, and community education. The ACLU of Hawaiʻi works primarily on issues that directly impact people who live in Hawaiʻi.

We take pride in our reputation of over 50 years fighting for people whose civil rights are challenged. And now—with never-before-imagined threats to civil liberties nationally, the increased need to be a check on government locally, and the 400-years overdue increased awareness of the impacts of systemic racism on every element of our society—it is the ideal time to join us and make a meaningful impact on the future of Hawai‘i and the United States.

We are currently pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns (Decriminalizing Poverty, Reimagining Policing, and Smart Justice) to expand civil liberties and civil rights while building the long-term power of the ACLU and the civil liberties movement. 

What We Do
The Legal Department is currently working on a variety of matters, including litigation relating to police misconduct, the criminalization of houselessness, prisoners’ rights, abortion access, gender equity. The Legal Department also engages in other forms of advocacy, including by sending demand letters, filing amicus briefs, testifying before government bodies, and holding know-your-rights trainings.

Fellowship Overview
The ACLU of Hawaiʻi seeks current third-year law students and recent law graduates to sponsor for internally funded or externally funded one- or two-year legal fellowships to start in Fall 2024. The Fellowship offers a unique opportunity to gain experience working with leading civil liberties advocates on exciting and rewarding matters in a supportive environment.

Position Description
The Legal Fellow will work full-time, under the supervision of the Legal Director (and also in coordination with other staff), to support the litigation and other advocacy work of the Legal Department. Responsibilities include: legal research, drafting, interviewing, and investigation for cases involving constitutional and civil rights.

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi office is located in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. The ACLU of Hawaiʻi has a hybrid work model with three in-office days required each week. Residency in Honolulu is required.

Compensation, External Funding, and Benefits
This is a full-time, salaried, exempt fellowship position for one year. The salary for this position is $55,000 with generous vacation and sick leave; 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; individual/family employer-provided health insurance with 100% of premiums covered for the employee; long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; paid parking; and 13 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Although the fellowship may be funded internally, the ACLU of Hawaiʻi strongly encourages candidates to seek external funding through their law schools and/or other outside sources. Applicants are expected to contact the public interest or career resources office of their law school about potential funding opportunities. If you receive funding from your school or external source, the ACLU of Hawaiʻi will supplement the fellowship funding amount so that the fellow will receive a salary of $55,000 per year.

We will consider candidates who will have obtained a J.D. by summer 2024. We are looking for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to—and substantive knowledge of—civil rights, equity, and social justice (broadly defined). Candidates should possess strong legal research, writing, and analytical skills, as well as strong communications, organizational, and time management skills. We value lived, educational, and professional experience that would make a Legal Fellow effective at working with communities that have been impacted by violations of civil rights and civil liberties. While not required, we prefer candidates who are familiar with Hawaiʻi—its culture, politics, history, and current civil rights and civil liberties challenges. Finally, we also prefer candidates who have judicial clerkship experience and/or are admitted to (or intend to seek admission to) the Hawaiʻi bar.[1]

How to Apply
If you are a recent (or soon-to-be) law school graduate who is excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawaiʻi starting in Fall 2024, please send—in a single combined PDF, and in the following order—(1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample, (4) transcript, and (5) two references to The subject line of your transmittal email must be in the following form: “Fall 2024 Legal Fellowship Application – [Last Name], [First Name]”.

The ACLU of Hawai’i is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you are an individual with a disability and need a reasonable accommodation relating to the job announcement and application process, please email

Here are further instructions on each application component:

  1. Cover letter.
    1. Your cover letter should not exceed 800 words and must include the following in the first paragraph:
      1. your earliest available start date and your preferred start date
      2. how you learned about the position
      3. what funding source(s) you intend to seek, and any related fellowship restrictions/parameters.
    2. Your cover letter also should address the following:
      1. why you are interested in this position
      2. how your skills, expertise, experiences, and mindset make you a good fit for this position
      3. what familiarity you have with the culture, politics, and history of Hawaiʻi and current challenges to civil rights and civil liberties issues in Hawai‘i.
  2. Resume. Please limit your resume to one page.
  3. Writing sample. Your writing sample must be no longer than 10 pages and should demonstrate your writing and legal analysis skills and/or your ability to present ideas or arguments in a clear and organized manner. Your writing sample must also be your own work product.
  4. Transcript. Please include a transcript from your law school.
  5. References. Please include a sentence about each reference that describes your relationship and identifies what information or perspective the person can provide on your candidacy.

We will review applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled, with a target start date of September 2024. When the position is filled, this job posting will be removed.

The ACLU of Hawai'i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. It is our policy to employ qualified people without regard to:  race; color; religion; sex; national origin; age; ancestry; disability; sexual orientation; veteran’s status; marital status; civil union status; arrest or court record; citizenship; credit history; genetic information; gender identity or expression; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalking; or any other characteristic protected under federal or state law.

[1] If the Legal Fellow is not admitted to the Hawaiʻi bar, they shall not engage in the practice of law in Hawaiʻi. All of the Legal Fellow’s work shall be done under the direct supervision of the Legal Director, who is licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi.