Legal Fellowship Program

The Bertha Justice Fellowship 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 CCR cases and a theoretical understanding of how legal advocacy can create social change. CCR is currently hosting three Bertha Fellows, through September 2018. The application process for the 2018 Bertha Justice Fellowship is now closed.

As a member of the global Bertha Justice Network, the Center for Constitutional Rights hosts Bertha Justice Fellows to train the next generation of human rights and movement lawyers in pursuit of social justice. The Bertha Justice Fellowship Program provides two-year fellowships to emerging lawyers at the best public interest law centers around the world, where fellows get practical experience working alongside renowned professionals. The program will train 1,000 lawyers – who are motivated to work alongside activists and storytellers – in the next ten years. The Center for Constitutional Rights typically hosts four Bertha Justice Fellows. 

At the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Bertha Fellows will be assigned to work alongside lawyers in one of our three docket areas: (1) Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative; (2) Government Misconduct/Racial Justice; and (3) International Human Rights.  There may also be opportunities to do work which straddles different dockets.

Fellows gain practical experience working alongside renowned professionals and build connections with a global network of like-minded Fellows and senior lawyers for solidarity and mentorship. Fellows get exposure to movement lawyering, in which lawyers are deeply connected with social movements and work collaboratively with activists to define legal strategies, and to the use of media as a tool to advance legal advocacy campaigns.

See here for descriptions of all our cases, issues or projects.

Docket Descriptions

Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative (GGJI): GGJI attorneys are at the forefront in challenging extrajudicial detention, torture and abuse in Guantánamo and related domestic and international outposts of the executive branch’s “war on terror.” The Bertha Fellow assigned to this docket will work with CCR staff to continue and broaden CCR’s efforts – through litigation and advocacy – to challenge executive branch practices premised on expansive conceptions of wartime executive authority, as well as long-standing racism and xenophobia, including indefinite and preventive detention, military commissions, targeted killings and abusive interrogations.

International Human Rights (IHR) The IHR team focuses on litigation and advocacy in U.S. courts, foreign courts, and international fora to press the U.S. government, foreign government officials, corporations and other private actors to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law. Their work also includes providing support to international human rights activists.

Government Misconduct/Racial Justice (GMRJ): GMRJ attorneys develop creative litigation and advocacy projects in areas such as: racial justice; economic and social rights; the government’s criminalization of dissent; mass incarceration; immigrant justice; policing; national security; environmental justice; gender equality and LGBTQI rights.


Current Class of Bertha Justice Fellows

The current (2020-2022) Bertha Justice Fellows are Luna Martinez, Elsa Mota, Samah Sisay and Rafaela Uribe.

Previous Bertha Justice Fellows were:

  • 2018-2020: Lupe Aguirre, Aya Saed, Astha Sharma Pokharel, and Brittany Thomas
  • 2016-2018: Stephanie Llanes, Britney Wilson, and Noor Zafar
  • 2014-2016: Zachery Morris, Somalia Samuel and Omar Shakir
  • 2012-2014: Susan Hu, Jessica Lee, and Chauniqua Young

Last modified 

October 19, 2020