Job Announcement
Fall 2022 Legal or Policy Fellowship Opportunities
American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai'i
Honolulu, HI



The ACLU of Hawaiʻi is excited to announce that our Legal Department and Policy Department are accepting applications to work as an ACLU Legal or Policy Fellow beginning in Fall 2022!

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, the still-evolving impacts of the COVID crisis on our rights, 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 taking our organization to a new level by pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns (on policing, decriminalizing poverty, and mass incarceration) to achieve measurable goals that will 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, abortion access, and gender equity, and amicus brief practice on police disciplinary records, First Amendment retaliation, and COVID-19’s impact on people incarcerated in jails and prisons. We are also investigating other matters. The Legal Department also engages in other forms of advocacy, including by sending demand letters, testifying before government bodies, and holding know-your-rights trainings.


The Policy Department is currently working to advance the ACLU of Hawaiʻi’s policy objectives in the areas of criminal legal reform, police reform, and the decriminalization of poverty, through direct lobbying on pending legislation before the Hawaiʻi State Legislature, which session ends in May. After the legislative session is over, the Policy Department will lay the groundwork for future state legislation, as well as lobby at the county/local level. This requires researching the efficacy of policy change implemented in other jurisdictions, drafting legislation, conducting research, meeting with elected and appointed officials, and working in coalitions.

Fellowship Overview
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 Title/Description
Fellows will have the option to work for their preferred Department (“Legal Fellow” or “Policy Fellow”):

  • The Legal Fellow will, under the supervision of the Legal Director (and in coordination with other staff), support the litigation and other advocacy work of the Legal Department. This may include research, writing, interviewing, and fact investigation for cases involving constitutional and civil rights.
  • The Policy Fellow will, under the supervision of the Policy Director (and in coordination with other staff), support the policy and other advocacy work of the Policy Department. This may include policy and legal research, drafting memoranda, reviewing and drafting legislation, meeting with lawmakers and coalition partners, and preparing advocacy materials.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, our office has been working remotely. However, because we anticipate returning to the office soon, this position is located in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.

Fellows will be required to receive funding through their professional schools and other outside sources. Applicants are expected to contact the public interest or career resources office of their relevant professional school about potential funding opportunities. ACLU of Hawaiʻi will provide additional funding in accordance with our internal pay equity salary range structure.

We will consider recent law school graduates and/or graduates with degrees in public policy, sociology, criminology, social work, public health and other disciplines  (i.e., those who have graduated with a professional legal or other graduate degree by summer 2022). 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 and/or policy 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 Fellow effective at working with communities that have been impacted by violations of civil liberties. Finally, while not absolutely required, we prefer students who are familiar with Hawaiʻi—its culture, politics, and history. For those candidates specifically interested in the Legal Fellow position, 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 or policy graduate who is excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawaiʻi starting in Fall 2022, 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 2022 Legal/Policy Fellowship Application – [Last Name], [First Name]”. We will review applications immediately and will continue until the positions are filled. For priority consideration, we encourage application submissions by May 13, 2022.[2]

Here are further instructions on each application component:

  1. Cover letter. Your cover letter should not exceed 700 words. In the first paragraph, please state (a) your preferred position(s), (b) your earliest available start date and your preferred end date, and (c) how you learned about the position. Your cover letter also should address the following: (d) how do your skills, expertise, experiences, and mindset make you a good fit for this position? (e) what familiarity do you have with Hawaiʻi?
  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/policy or research 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 relevant professional 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.

Excellent benefits include: 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 14 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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 or Policy Fellow is not admitted to the Hawaiʻi bar, they shall not engage in the practice of law in Hawaiʻi. That is, the Legal or Policy Fellow shall neither provide legal advice to clients or prospective clients nor represent or imply to anyone in the general public that they are authorized to practice law in Hawaiʻi.  All research, written work product, or other law-related activities shall be done under the direct supervision of the Legal Director or Policy Director, both of whom are licensed to practice law in the State of Hawaiʻi.

[2] If you have a disability/ies and need a reasonable accommodation regarding any part of the application process, please contact us by email with “Fall 2022 Legal/Policy Fellowship Application – Disability Accommodation Request” in the email subject line.