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2023 Criminal/Immigration Justice Legal Intern

Reporting To: US Advocacy and Litigation Staff Attorney
Department: US Advocacy and Litigation
Full-Time, Non-Exempt
Location: Remote/Hybrid (Students have the option to work out of our New York City, Washington D.C., or San Francisco offices)   
Qualifications: This internship is for rising second and third year law students

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is seeking candidates for legal internships for Summer 2023 within the US Advocacy and Litigation team to advance our work in combating carceral punishment and the criminalization of migration. The US Advocacy and Litigation Intern will support our work defending human rights in the United States by assisting the team in planning, researching, and drafting advocacy and litigation materials primarily related to the organization’s work in the criminal legal and immigration systems.

About the US Advocacy and Litigation team:
People in the United States, specifically those who face intersectional oppression by race, gender, ethnicity, and class are deeply affected by systematic oppression and human rights violations. The disproportionate impact of mass incarceration, inadequate social support, voter suppression, and other critical issues create a demand to have a program to dismantle the current criminal legal system and amplify community visions of public safety and transformative justice. The RFK Criminal Justice Team redistributes unique resources, access, and visibility to frontline advocates to reduce the scale, scope, and power of carceral systems of punishment. Our program builds on the grassroots movement’s capacity to dismantle systems of mass incarceration and raise the national profile and pressure of community-led demands and campaigns through local and national media placements; involvement of public influencers with large general appeal and followings; providing financial, legal, and risk mitigation infrastructure; and capacity building of local partners from media strategy to policy analysis. 

Through our advocacy we have initiated strategic bailout actions throughout the county, freed thousands of people from jails, represented victims of police violence before international human rights bodies, combatted to end cooperation between local law enforcement and ICE, and worked to expose the inhumane conditions of immigration detention centers. All of our work is centered by a desire to amplify the voices of human rights defenders and community leaders nation-wide in the struggle to end carceral punishment in its many forms. The Criminal/Immigration Justice Project Legal Intern would assist the team in planning, researching, and drafting advocacy materials and in executing any advocacy activities, primarily related to the organization’s work combatting pretrial detention in both the criminal legal system and the immigration system. 

Internship Responsibilities: 
  • Assisting in legal research and data collection on issues in the criminal legal and immigration systems including the use of cash bail, ICE detention center conditions, community curated alternatives to incarceration, and cooperation between ICE and local law enforcement bodies, including sheriff’s offices
  • Analyzing and tracking changes in the criminal legal and immigration systems through policy reform and/or legislation in relevant states and localities
  • Assisting in the drafting of advocacy materials to support the work of community partners 
  • Providing additional support to Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights staff on an as-needed basis.

A successful candidate must have the following skills and experiences:
  • Rising second and third year law students;
  • Excellent legal writing and research skills;
  • Interest in and commitment to racial justice, social movements, and the transformation of the criminal and immigration legal systems;
  • A demonstrated passion for RFKHR’s mission and demonstrated commitment to community-centered advocacy;
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills;
  • Strong attention to detail and able to scope out errors, including a willingness to own and fix mistakes;
  • Exceptional time management, including the ability to manage multiple tasks and projects at once;
  • Flexible, patient, and able to stay gracious under pressure;
  • High level of integrity and discretion in handling confidential information;
  • Innovative thinking, willingness to voice your opinions, and a strong work ethic are essential;
  • Strong sense of teamwork that builds positive relationships with colleagues and stakeholders, and a willingness to help others;
  • Believes in inclusivity when working with colleagues with different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives.

Preferred but not required qualifications:
  • Second language skills, particularly Spanish and Haitian Kreyol are a plus;

Availability and Compensation:
  • Fall and spring semester internships are eligible for school credit.
  • Interns will receive a $750 monthly stipend and any needed commuting expenses will be covered.

How to Apply:
  • Submit your resume and cover letter to with “Your Name + Summer 2023 Criminal Justice Legal Intern” in the subject heading. 
  • In your cover letter please include how you heard about this role and why you’re interested in this position.

No phone calls please. RFK Human Rights will contact qualified candidates directly. 

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights is an equal opportunity employer and believes we are stronger and more effective by working internally and externally with people of all abilities, diverse backgrounds, and a range of perspectives, particularly those who have historically been marginalized or underrepresented. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. We do not discriminate in our hiring practices and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seek a diverse applicant pool. If you're in need of an accommodation at any time during the application and hiring process please contact us by emailing your request to with the subj. line "Accommodation Request". Examples include, but are not limited to:
  • Having documents in alternate formats or read aloud 
  • Having interviews in a more accessible location/format