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 Intern during Summer 2022!
Who We Are
The ACLU of Hawai‘i is an affiliate office of the American Civil Liberties Union, a national nonprofit 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.
Interns will have the option to work in their preferred Department (“Legal Intern” or “Policy Intern”):
- Legal Interns will, under the supervision of the Legal Director, 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.
- Policy Interns will, under the supervision of the Policy Director, 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 and presenting to coalition partners, and preparing advocacy materials.
The summer 2022 internships will be in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, our office has been working remotely, and anticipates continuing to work (mostly) remotely through summer 2022. However, current Hawaiʻi state labor laws do not allow us to have paid interns who are not in the state of Hawaiʻi during the internship period.
The internship is a paid position. Interns will be paid $18 per hour with an anticipated internship period of 40 hours a week for ten weeks (except in the event that you seek to pursue pro bono or externship credit such that you cannot be paid).
We will consider current law school students and/or graduate school students seeking degrees in public policy, sociology, criminology, social work, public health and other relevant disciplines. We are looking for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to 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 interns 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.
How to Apply
If you are a current student who is excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawaiʻi this summer, please send—in a single combined PDF, and in the following order—(1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample, and (4) transcript to firstname.lastname@example.org. The subject line of your transmittal email must be in the following form: “2022 Summer Legal/Policy Internship Application – [Last Name], [First Name]”. We will accept applications until May 13, 2022, or until the position(s) are filled. However, we may review applications and make offers on a rolling basis. So we encourage you to apply sooner rather than later.
Here are further instructions on each application component:
- Cover letter. Your cover letter should not exceed 600 words. In the first paragraph, please state (a) your preferred position(s), (b) preferred start and end dates, and (c) how you learned about the position.
- Resume. Please limit your resume to one page.
- 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.
- Transcript. An unofficial transcript is acceptable.
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.
 If you have a disability/ies and need a reasonable accommodation regarding any part of the application process, please contact us by email with “2022 Summer Legal/Policy Internship –Disability Accommodation Request” in the email subject line.