Job Announcement
Fall 2023 Policy 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 Policy Department is accepting applications to work as an ACLU Policy Legislative Fellow beginning in Fall 2023!

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 currently pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns (Decriminalizing Poverty, Reimagining Policing and Smart Justice) 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 Policy Department is currently working on a variety of matters, including but not limited to Bail Reform, Clean Slate, Abortion, Reimagining Public Safety, and eliminating racial disparities in our criminal legal system. The Policy Department also engages in other forms of advocacy, including testifying before other government bodies, requesting information under Hawaii’s Public Records law, providing education on public policies, and working in collaboration with our legal and field Departments, as well as community based organizations and groups to advance our campaign objectives.

Fellowship Overview
The ACLU of Hawaiʻi seeks current third-year law and graduate degree students, recent law graduates and students with graduate level degrees (master level degrees and above) to sponsor for a paid one year fellowship to start in Fall 2023.  We also welcome applications from candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and equivalent public policy and legislative experience for a minimum of two years.  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 Policy Legislative Fellow will work full-time, under the supervision of the Policy Director (and also in coordination with other staff), to support the advocacy work of the Policy Department. General responsibilities include: research, interviews, drafting legislation, preparing and submitting testimony relating to ACLU of Hawai’i legislative priorities, meeting with elected and appointed officials and working in coalitions.

The ACLU of Hawaiʻi is currently mostly remote, but in-office space is available to all staff. Some in-person work will be required, so residency in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 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 $55,000.00 and is based on the ACLU of Hawaii's pay equity structure.

Fellows who receive funding through their law or graduate school and/or other outside source are also encouraged to apply.   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 $55,000.00 per year.

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.

We will consider candidates who will have obtained a Juris Doctorate or graduate level degree (i.e. Masters or Doctorate degree) in public policy, sociology, criminology, social work, public health, and other relevant disciplines by summer 2023. We will also consider candidates who have a bachelor’s degree and equivalent public policy and legislative experience for a minimum of two years.

We are looking for candidates with a demonstrated commitment to—and substantive knowledge of—civil rights, civil liberties, equity, and social justice (broadly defined). Candidates should possess strong 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 Policy 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.

How to Apply

If you are a recent (or soon-to-be) law school graduate or graduate student who is excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawaiʻi starting in Fall 2023, 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 2023 Policy Legislative 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 (if any), and any related fellowship restrictions/parameters.
  4. Your cover letter also should address the following:
  5. why you are interested in position
  6. how your skills, expertise, experiences, and mindset make you a good fit for this position
  7. what familiarity do you have with the culture, politics, and history of Hawaiʻi and current challenges to civil rights and civil liberties issues in Hawai‘i.
  8. Resume. Please limit your resume to one page.
  9. Writing sample. Your writing sample must be no longer than 10 pages and should demonstrate your writing and critical 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.
  10. Transcript. Please include a transcript from your law and/or graduate schools. If you are a candidate with a bachelor’s degree and equivalent public policy and legislative experience (minimum of two years), please provide a transcript of your undergraduate institution/s.
  11. 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 2023.  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.