Internship Opportunities at NIJC

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NIJC offers internships to law students and undergraduates to work in a variety of legal services programs. The internships are an excellent opportunity to learn more about U.S. immigration law and policy while making a difference in the lives of low-income individuals in need of legal representation.

NIJC has garnered a national reputation for providing quality legal services and advocacy for low-income immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. NIJC’s trainings, publications, and technical assistance reach a diverse constituency of pro bono lawyers, nonprofit community groups, policymakers, and government officials. NIJC’s office is located in downtown Chicago.


Spring and Summer 2016 Internships:

  • The Jeanne and Joseph Sullivan Project for Protection of Asylum Seekers facilitates pro bono representation for asylum seekers fleeing persecution in their homelands and advocates for the protection of human rights. This project also provides legal services for individuals seeking protection from gender-based persecution, both in the United States and in their home countries. (Proficiency in French or Spanish is generally required.)
  • Detained Immigrant Protection Project provides legal orientation and representation to detained immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers and advances their legal and human rights through advocacy, litigation, and public education. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.) 
  • Immigrant Legal Defense offers legal services to immigrants, including family visa petitions, legal permanent residency, U.S. citizenship, and Temporary Protected Status. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.)
  • Immigrant Children’s Protection Project provides specialized legal services to and advocates for immigrant children, many of whom are fleeing human rights abuses such as forced recruitment as soldiers, sexual exploitation, and child labor. (Proficiency in Spanish is generally required.) 
  • LGBT Immigrant Rights Project ensures protections for LGBT individuals who are victims of persecution in their home countries because of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status. (Proficiency in French or Spanish is generally required.) 
  • National Litigation Project provides representation nationally for individuals in the federal courts. This project focuses on defending due process rights for immigrants and influencing systemic changes in U.S. immigration law and policy through impact litigation. (Spanish speakers encouraged to apply.) 
  • Counter-Trafficking Project provides comprehensive legal services and case management for children and adult survivors of human trafficking. The program has helped more than 130 survivors of trafficking become self-sufficient and move closer to fully integrating into our society. Law enforcement and social service agencies identify NIJC as the key collaborator in providing critical protection to human trafficking survivors. International and national organizations and NGOs have invited NIJC staff to conduct trainings on human trafficking and to help them replicate NIJC’s program model.
  • Federal Immigration Policy internship contributing to NIJC's policy advocacy and public education efforts to build bridges among supporters of immigrant rights and strengthen advocates’ capacity to monitor current policies, expose violations of human and constitutional rights, and present viable recommendations to the White House, members of Congress, the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and international human rights bodies.

Internship duties:

  • Interview immigration clients telephonically and in-person to collect factual information related to their cases;
  • Input case-related information into client database and prepare case summaries and legal immigration documents and materials;
  • Conduct follow-up interviews with clients throughout the case preparation process;
  • Assist NIJC attorneys in preparing for hearings before the Executive Office for Immigration Review; and
  • Ensure copies of all relevant documentation are routed to the client’s case file.

Interns will assist with general administrative and clerical work for NIJC, including filing, photocopying, answering phones, shipping and mailing, and drafting routine correspondence. Undergraduates will be expected to fulfill more administrative duties than legal interns.

Internships are approximately 10-12 weeks. Ideally, interns should commit to 10-12 hours per week.

Qualifications: Interns must have a passion for our issues and excellent written and verbal communication skills. The ideal candidates are independent, detail-oriented, and highly organized. Experience with Windows XP, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft Word is a must. Database experience is very helpful. Oral comprehension and proficiency in both English and Spanish or French is generally required. Applicants must be open to evolving responsibilities.

Internships are unpaid, although candidates are encouraged to seek outside funding and/or university credit.

To Apply: Applications must include the following:

  • Cover Letter- Please state in your letter for which period you are applying (spring, summer, fall, etc.)
  • Resume 
  • Brief Writing Sample (3-5 pages on any topic, law students may choose to submit legal writings) 
  • Contact Information for 2 References 
  • Transcript(s), if available 

Please send your application materials to Amy Black.

Applicants interested in more than one project may specify the projects of interest in a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. No phone calls, please. 


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The National Immigrant Justice Center, an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, is strongly committed to diversity and welcomes applications of all races, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations, including people who have been previously incarcerated.