West Michigan Legal Fellow

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Job location
1514 Wealthy Street SE
Suite 260
Grand Rapids, MI 49506
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
ACLU of Michigan
Street address: 
1514 Wealthy Street SE, Suite 260
Grand Rapids
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

The West Michigan Legal Fellow will participate in both litigation and non-litigation advocacy activities on a broad range of issues. The Legal Fellow will be involved in investigation, client interviewing, legal and factual research, discovery, and brief writing. In addition, the Legal Fellow will have the opportunity to engage in non-litigation advocacy, including policy work, public speaking, and community engagement. Examples of past fellow activities include writing amicus briefs that led to favorable criminal law rulings in the Michigan appellate courts, taking and defending depositions in Does III, conducting know your rights trainings for detained Hamama class members, leading advocacy efforts to oppose ordinances targeting the unhoused in Grand Rapids, and arguing in the Sixth Circuit in Corridore.

Specific Responsibilities

(1) Legal
• Participate in investigating, developing and litigating impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court.
• Conduct factual and legal research, draft pleadings and briefs, prepare memoranda, draft Freedom of Information Act requests, write demand letters, conduct discovery, and help write appellate and amicus briefs.
• Review, comment, and edit letters and briefs of co-counsel and other ACLU staff.
• Communicate with clients; answer client questions and manage class member interactions in several ongoing pieces of class action litigation.
• Support the legal work of the ACLU’s Legal Department, as needed.

(2) Advocacy/Public Education
• Advocate for civil liberties and civil rights and represent the ACLU at events and in coalitions, as appropriate.
• Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing ACLU’s communication, legislative, field organizing, and legal programs.

(3) Administration, Coordination and Support
• Contribute to the maintenance of the legal docket.
• Work with volunteer lawyers to screen and develop promising civil liberties and civil rights cases.
• Assist in managing the West Michigan office.


The Legal Fellow will work within the Legal Department under the direct supervision of the West Michigan office’s Senior Staff Attorney. The Legal Department is supervised by the Legal Director. The Legal Fellow may also work on assignments with other departments (e.g., political) as needed.



• Must have JD. Must be admitted to a state bar (Michigan or elsewhere), or become admitted within six months of starting the position.
• A strong understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, civil liberties and civil rights.
• Exceptional writing, research and analytical skills, which can be demonstrated through clerkship, clinical, summer internship, or other experience.
• Excellent communication skills to both legal and non-legal audiences.
• Ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other ACLU staff, and community partners.
• A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual regardless of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.
• Proficiency with computers: Windows, Microsoft Office, and Excel in particular.
• Applicants with language skills relevant to immigration-related work in Michigan are encouraged to apply.

Personal Characteristics: Ideally, the successful candidate will be the following:

• Personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with an understanding of a broad range of civil liberties and civil rights issues and their implications.
• Creative, flexible, well-organized and reliable, able to handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities and manage a demanding schedule; a team player who is able to work independently, jointly, and under pressure; willing to learn; a self-starter and finisher.
• Willing to work beyond 9-5 as needed, including occasional weekend meetings and travel.
• Cultural competency to work with a diverse team and effectively partner with diverse communities.

To apply: 

Please submit in digital form, by email, a detailed letter of interest addressed to Miriam Aukerman, a resume, a legal writing sample and contact information for three references. Send to [email protected]. We will begin considering applications on October 9, 2023, and will continue to consider them on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

The ACLU of Michigan is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail [email protected] and include “Accommodation” in the subject line. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Equal Opportunity Employer. The ACLU of Michigan is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction and any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
Salary range: 
Submission deadline: 
Monday, October 9, 2023