Summer 2020 Law Clerk Internship

PEN America’s Free Expression Programs department is seeking a motivated law clerk intern to support our U.S. Free Expression Programs in our New York office for the upcoming summer semester. 

PEN America’s U.S. Free Expression Programs (i) elevate and respond to significant and emerging threats to free expression in the United States and (ii) employ an array of research, policy, advocacy, and public engagement tools to broaden awareness and dialogue on these issues around the country at the local, state, and federal levels. Namely, we focus on defending press freedom where journalists are targeted for their work; we combat disinformation, which we know is eroding engagement in our democratic institutions; we support protest rights and the ability of dissenting voices to speak up; and we fight back against forms of censorship and online harassment which chill writers, artists, and others. 

Possible assignments include, but are not limited to:

U.S. Free Expression & Press Freedom

  • Conducting legal research and support for ongoing litigation, such as PEN America v. Trump
  • Conducting First Amendment legal research and writing, including drafting amicus briefs, similar to our recent brief filed in the case of Jose Bello
  • Working closely and collaboratively with the Director of U.S. Free Expression Programs and the Washington Director to monitor legislative proposals at the state and federal level, including support through drafting rapid response statements, coordinating intel with local partners on the ground in key states, and drafting email actions for our subscribers and membership base 
  • Supporting ongoing advocacy and campaigns related to press freedom, surveillance of journalists, protest rights, censorship of writers, disinformation, and online content moderation
  • Monitoring legal issues and drafting blog posts on emerging First Amendment topics

This internship is open to law students who will have completed their first year of law school before the internship commences. Interns should possess the following: 

  • Strong research, writing, and analytical skills (especially pertaining to analyzing complex legal issues)  
  • Keen logistical eye for details and excellent organizational skills
  • Superb writing skills, including the ability to craft clear, user-friendly language
  • Strong familiarity with social media platforms
  • Knowledge of U.S. or global human rights and a commitment to free expression issues
  • Interest or experience in law, journalism, or the tech industry valuable
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office Suite and conducting internet research
  • Fluency in Google Drive document management and suite of applications
  • Knowledge of contemporary debates over free speech issues 
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion

Desired attributes:

  • Previous legal coursework on constitutional law, First Amendment, intellectual property, and/or human rights
  • Commitment to the principles of free expression
  • Meticulous attention to deadlines
  • Strong interpersonal skills and an aptitude for collaboration, creativity, and initiative
  • High energy and efficiency
  • Strong work ethic

To Apply: Please email a cover letter (one-page maximum) and resume to [email protected]. Please specify in your cover letter which First Amendment or free expression issues you are most passionate about. Preferred time commitment ranges from 12 to 18 hours per week. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America is the largest of more than 100 centers of PEN International. For more than 90 years, we have been working together with our colleagues in the international PEN community to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. Our strength is our membership—a nationwide community of novelists, journalists, editors, poets, essayists, playwrights, publishers, translators, agents, and other professionals, and an even larger network of devoted readers and supporters who join with them to carry out PEN America’s mission. PEN America is a registered 501(c)(3) organization.