2020 Bertha Justice Fellowships

September 9, 2019

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October 9, 2019


The Center for Constitutional Rights is hiring four Bertha Justice Fellows, for 9/2020-9/2022.

The Bertha Justice Fellowship at the Center for Constitutional Rights is a two-year program for emerging lawyers (0-2 years out of law school) who are interested in gaining both practical experience working on cutting-edge social justice litigation and a theoretical understanding of how legal advocacy can create social change. The Center for Constitutional Rights will host four Bertha Justice Fellows, starting in September 2020. This position requires a two-year commitment from September 2020 to September 2022.

The 2020 Bertha Justice Fellows will have an opportunity to work on a broad range of our cases and projects challenging oppressive and intersecting systems of power – including challenging racial oppression, gender oppression including hetero-patriarchy, economic oppression, and abusive state power. Our work focuses on racial justice, immigrant rights, combating mass incarceration and economic inequality, gender justice and the struggle for LGBTQIA+ liberation, international human rights, protecting the right to dissent and the struggle to free Palestine, and addressing government overreach, including the Guantánamo detentions, surveillance, and Muslim profiling. 

For descriptions of our current cases, issues or projects, including Al Otro Lado v. U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Alobahy v. Trump,  Al Qahtani v. Trump, Al-Shimari v. CACI, Ashker v. Governor of California, Awad v. Fordham University, Black Love Resists in the Rust v. City of Buffalo, Bronner v. Duggan, Davis v. Cox, Doe v. Hood, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Barr, East Bay Sanctuary Covenant v. Trump, Energy Transfer Equity v. Greenpeace,  Floyd v. City of New York, Furlow v. Belmar, Migrant Justice v. Nielsen, Ramapough Mountain Indians v. Township of Mahwah, Silber v. Airbnb, Tanvir v. Tanzin, Turkmen v. Ashcroft, and White Hat v. Landry, check out: http://www.ccrjustice.org/home/what-we-do/active-cases.

Bertha Justice Fellows are sponsored by the Bertha Foundation, which hosts emerging lawyers at several legal organizations across the world. In addition to gaining legal experience on our cases, Bertha Justice Fellows will have opportunities to (1) attend regional and international meetings, (2) network with lawyers from around the world, and (3) receive additional mentoring and non-traditional training such as leadership, media and advocacy, and activism and movement building.

HOW TO APPLY: Qualified candidates should visit https://ccrjustice.wufoo.com/forms/bertha-justice-fellow-2020/ to submit an online application. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and strong consideration will be given to early applications. No phone calls please.

Applications are strongly encouraged from candidates reflecting diverse educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds. CCR is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, and we encourage applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBTQIA+ and gender non-conforming people.

Note: Due to the large number of applications we expect to receive, we will only contact those applicants who are selected for an interview. 


The deadline for submission is October 9, 2019. 

Recommendation letters are due by October 16, 2019.

Interviews for selected candidates will occur in November and early December 2019.

We expect to make fellowship offers by January 2020. 

Start date will be Wednesday, September 23, 2020.


1. Resume

2. Essay (Maximum length: 1,000 words, double-spaced)

Effective essays will incorporate the following information:

a) What unique background, beliefs, values, and/or experiences (personal and professional) shaped your decision to go to law school and your interests in participating in the Bertha Justice Fellowship program at the Center for Constitutional Rights?

b) Please describe your specific interest in the Center for Constitutional Rights' work, including which of our areas of focus you would most like to work on. 

c) How do you expect participation in the Bertha Justice Fellowship program at the Center for Constitutional Rights to contribute to your long-term personal and professional goals?

d) What is your understanding of the Center for Constitutional Rights' goals and needs, and how do you see yourself contributing to our effectiveness? Describe how your education, experience, and skills match our needs and goals

3. Legal writing sample excerpt (not to exceed 10 pages) - At the top of your writing sample, provide a two-sentence description of the writing sample.

4. Names and contact information for three (3) references (two can be the same as the individuals who wrote your letter of recommendation).

5. Two letters of recommendation submitted via email to berthafellowsearch@ccrjustice.org.

a) Letters must be received by October 16, 2019 to be considered

b) Your recommender must put the following information in their e-mail subject line: “Fellow’s Last Name, First Name – Letter of Recommendation”


  • Work with staff attorneys in conceiving, developing, and managing complex litigation that advances our organizational mission, including developing case theory, conducting factual and legal research, identifying appropriate clients, pursuing appropriate and strategic litigation opportunities, and filing claims in domestic and international fora. 
  • Work with staff attorneys in all aspects of litigation, including drafting pleadings, briefs, affidavits, and correspondence; assist attorneys in taking and defending depositions; assist attorneys in managing complex discovery, conducting negotiations with opposing counsel, appearing in court, and examining witnesses; assist attorneys in negotiating, implementing, and monitoring settlement agreements.  
  • Work with staff attorneys and advocacy program managers in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies in support of our clients, cases, and/or projects. Engage in public outreach and education efforts including drafting or reviewing of advocacy materials (such as reports, FAQs, action alerts), participating in legislative efforts, and public speaking.  Engage with community groups, cooperating attorneys, co-counsel, progressive lawyers, law students, legal groups, and other allies as appropriate and directed by supervising attorneys.
  • Support all aspects of the communications department activity including reviewing press materials, responding to press inquiries, appearing in various media interviews, drafting timely opinion pieces, and reviewing and editing as appropriate.
  • Work with and supervise student interns and volunteers; where appropriate support work of pro bono or cooperating counsel assisting on our cases and projects.
  • Assist development department in managing individual and foundation relationships, including development and review of grant proposals, participation in donor meetings, fundraising and donor appreciation activities, and periodic out-of-state travel for development trips and activities.
  • Participate in Bertha Justice Network activities, including attendance at Bertha Justice Network conferences abroad, publication of materials, including blogs for the Bertha Justice Network.
  • Participate in trainings designed for the Bertha Justice Fellows to strengthen their litigation and movement lawyering skills.
  • Participate in departmental and organizational planning and organization-wide committees and carry out work assigned.
  • Obtain bar membership in New York and maintain good standing in New York and other state bars as appropriate, including fulfilling requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) and where necessary, security clearance.
  • Other related work as requested by the Legal Director.


  • J.D. degree, or comparable LL.M degree as of start date. 
  • 0-2 years out of law school. This means you received your Juris Doctor in 2018, 2019 or will receive it in 2020. 
    • This program is meant for early-career lawyers, someone who is 0-2 years post receipt of their law degree.
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of the Center for Constitutional Rights. 
  • A demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Proven ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and human rights, and creativity in crafting strategies to advance justice in our priority areas.
  • Commitment to working in and with communities affected by government misconduct and discrimination, among other structures of institutional oppression.
  • Integrity and a sense of humor.
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Non-English language skills a plus.


Salary is commensurate with experience and subject to union collective bargaining agreement. The current salary range for this position is $69,779 to $81,893.

Benefits include employer contribution to 401K plan and flexible spending account, vacation, sick leave, and holidays, and 100 percent organization-paid health benefits, including medical, dental, life, and long-term disability insurance.


Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions document below for more information. 



Updated: September 9, 2019