Community Lawyer-Organizer Fellowship

  • ACLU of Idaho
  • Boise, ID, United States

Job Description

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho Foundation announces a two-year, funded fellowship for a Community Lawyer-Organizer. The fellow will be located in our office in Boise.


This fellowship is unusual. We are looking for a community-based organizer and lawyer who is anticonventional. The fellow will learn and use an array of advocacy strategies that go beyond the courtroom.


About the fellowship


This is a fellowship for lawyers who recognize the inherent limits of traditional litigation and the value of community organizing and collaboration with local partners in the struggle for justice. While litigation will be part of the fellow’s work, it will be just one tool, used only to reinforce the community-based approach at this fellowship’s center. The fellowship is already fully funded for two years. You will not have to apply to Equal Justice Works, Skadden, or your law school to secure funding.


The person who gets this fellowship will work over two years to develop a sustainable practice as a community lawyer and organizer. The fellow will help us design and build complex legal and organizing strategies in one of the most difficult advocacy environments in the United States: a wild and rural state with decades of history as an incubator for repressive, patriarchal, xenophobic, and racist ideas and policies.


The fellow will develop skills in a range of advocacy techniques, including investigation, community organizing, litigation, coalition building, strategy development, lobbying, mass media, social media, art, and social practice ( The fellow’s responsibilities will include investigating and developing major advocacy projects using those skills, as well as working one-on-one with prospective clients from indigenous, immigrant, refugee, trans, queer, and other impacted and oppressed communities to provide meaningful support and information as part of our intake program. The fellow will work extensively to advance our intake program, incorporating anti-oppressive and culturally competent organizing strategies to increase its responsiveness for impacted communities in Idaho. The fellow will provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates, and other organizers across the state of Idaho; organize and lead community and stakeholder education events; run trainings for local activists and organizers; and conduct outreach and advocacy to public officials.


About the ACLU


The ACLU is the nation’s premier guardian of liberty. A nationwide, nonpartisan nonprofit organization, the ACLU is dedicated to defending and expanding civil liberties and human rights across the country. The ACLU of Idaho and its foundation operate jointly as private, nonprofit organizations devoted to furthering the ACLU’s mission in Idaho. The ACLU of Idaho’s Legal Department employs community-based movement lawyering strategies in tandem with complex and cutting edge impact litigation to advance freedom and equity, reduce harm, and empower marginalized communities throughout Idaho. To learn more, visit and


Our staff of six full-time employees works in a fast-paced, friendly office in the heart of downtown Boise, Idaho. Boise, the City of Trees, is the capitol of Idaho and the core of a metro area of 660,000 people. The city enjoys all four seasons in a dry climate and offers an exceptional quality of life and a diverse business community with high tech industries. Recreational activities include whitewater rafting and kayaking, climbing, fishing, hunting, and skiing. There is a 135 mile foothill trail system for hiking and mountain biking and a 25 mile riverside greenbelt along the Boise River which flows through the city. Cultural opportunities include museums, contemporary theater, outdoor Shakespeare Theater, ballet, opera, symphony, dance, and rodeo. Boise is also a hub for LGBTQ communities and political activism in Idaho. Downtown offers thriving restaurants, shops, concerts, and public markets, and an ever expanding number of local microbrew pubs and wineries. See more in this video:




We anticipate selecting a fellow who will be graduating from law school or finishing a judicial clerkship or another public interest fellowship in 2017, though we will also consider applications from experienced lawyers and law students graduating or finishing a clerkship or other fellowship in early 2018. The fellow we select will have excellent research, writing, analytic, interpersonal, teamwork, communication, time-management, and advocacy skills. Applicants must also have patience, emotional intelligence, and cultural competency, including the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people of all races, ethnicities, abilities, genders, ages, classes, and geographies. Applicants must be able to work some evenings and weekends, and to travel throughout Idaho and, occasionally, other parts of the country.


The fellow must be admitted to the Idaho State Bar at their earliest opportunity.


The ACLU of Idaho is an equal opportunity and affirmative action workplace. We encourage people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, people excluded elsewhere because of religion, people with marginalized sexual orientations or gender identities, people who have lived in poverty, and people who have experienced incarceration to apply.


Compensation and benefits


The fellow will receive an annual salary of $42,000, for two years. The fellowship will end after two years. The ACLU of Idaho also provides an excellent benefits package, including health and disability benefits fully paid for by the employer, and optional 401K benefits.


To apply


Compile the following into a single PDF file:


  • A one-page cover letter that plainly demonstrates the applicant’s commitment to the ACLU’s mission and experience with or preparation for community organizing and lawyering.
  • A résumé.
  • A practice statement: a brief written description, like an artist’s statement, of the vision you have for your practice of law and organizing. For examples and more information about artist’s statements, consider these three articles:  

  • A writing sample, of ten pages or fewer, that demonstrates the applicant’s legal research and writing skills.


We will ask applicants that we interview for two recommendation letters and to prepare additional written materials in response to prompts that we will provide. We encourage applicants to give the people who may prepare recommendation letters advance notice now, to avoid delay during the interview phase.


Submit application materials to Richard Eppink, Legal Director, by email, Use “Community Lawyer-Organizer Fellowship” as the subject line for this email.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. When it is filled, we will remove the fellowship announcement from our website at

Education Requirements