Law Graduate Public Interest Fellowship Opportunities

 About CPD/A

The Center for Popular Democracy (CPD) is a national network of close to fifty community-based organizations in 35 states and Puerto Rico, building organizing power to transform the local, state and national policy landscape through deep, long-term partnerships with leading community organizing groups and progressive labor unions nationwide. CPD provides legal and strategic support on state and local legislative campaigns that advance a pro-worker, pro-immigrant, racial justice agenda, while building a federal campaigning program that is at the forefront of efforts to stop Trumpism.  Alongside our policy campaigns, we collaborate with established and emerging grassroots organizations in our network as they develop and refine their community organizing methodology and internal management, fundraising, and communications infrastructure.

Our national staff of more than 90 includes campaigners, organizers, researchers, communications experts, digital organizers, and 17 attorneys and law graduates, based in offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and satellite offices in California, Minnesota, Illinois, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Texas and Puerto Rico.  Our lawyers provide policy, legal, and strategic support on a wide array of legislative and administrative campaigns.

CPD is developing and moving cutting-edge policies in partnership with some of the most sophisticated community and labor organizations in the country. Currently, we are:

  • Demanding divestment from the criminalization, overpolicing, and mass incarceration of communities of color, and investment into community resources that truly promote public safety;

  • Fighting for strong public schools and against the privatization of public education, and to dismantle the school-to-prison-and-deportation pipeline;

  • Championing the rights of immigrants, including the fight for Sanctuary Cities and legal representation for those facing deportation or detention

  • Advancing the next-generation of worker justice policies, including fighting wage theft and fluctuating work hours, winning minimum wage increases and the right to paid sick days, and policies that facilitate organizing low-wage workers in industries including fast food, logistics/warehousing, retail, and childcare;

  • Securing access to affordable, safe housing for urban communities and ensuring that states provide affordable housing region-wide;

  • Advancing ambitious climate justice policies rooted in the priorities of low income communities and communities of color, such as cap & div policies;

  • Advocating for policies that expand the franchise and make it easier to vote;

  • Pressing for elite economic institutions such as the Federal Reserve Bank to be more transparent and accountable to low-income communities;

  • Supporting local elected officials across the country who are seeking to move progressive local public policy in their communities.

Through our work with state affiliates we are building and exercising power to protect our communities, fight to defend and advance our rights, and to win and protect progressive policy gains. We are working to advance high-impact city and state policy changes that working families can see, touch and feel every day, while also helping to build a base for a broader shift in values and national priorities. 

About the Fellowship Process

Organizations such as Equal Justice Works and the Skadden Fellowship Foundation provide two-year fellowships to graduating law students or outgoing judicial clerks for public interest legal work. CPD seeks talented, social justice-oriented graduating law students and outgoing clerks to sponsor for all fellowships (including Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Soros, Kirkland Ellis, Liman, and other school-specific fellowships) in the fall of 2018, to begin work at CPD in the fall of 2019. Candidates should be interested in deploying their legal skills in support of grassroots movements and learning about strategic policy advocacy.

This position's location is flexible.

Candidates should submit a cover letter, resume, an unedited or lightly edited legal writing sample, most recent transcript (unofficial is fine) and three references, including daytime telephone numbers, to fellowships@populardemocracy.org. Please include a brief discussion of potential projects, and why CPD would be an appropriate host organization. We will work with applicants to develop proposals.

The process of developing project proposals and completing applications is often time-consuming, and CPD strongly encourages all interested applicants to apply as early as possible. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis but must be received as by July 31st. Please note: only 3Ls graduating in 2019 or outgoing judicial clerks are eligible to apply. You will not be contacted if your application is incomplete. Please send questions to fellowships@populardemocracy.org.

CPD is an affirmative action employer.  We actively recruit people of color, people with disabilities, and people with diverse gender and sexual identities.