Legal Clerkship

Student advocate writing


FIRE offers a 15-week, course-credited, in-semester Legal Clerkship for law students looking for hands-on experience working for a dynamic, nonpartisan, civil liberties organization. Clerks work with FIRE attorneys part-time during the academic year conducting legal research in emerging areas of law; developing arguments for active cases; preparing various litigation documents for active cases; reviewing university policies and legislative proposals; and much more. Our Legal Clerks can take one of the three tracks at FIRE: Litigation, Campus Rights Advocacy, and Student Press Freedom Initiative. For information on FIRE’s summer opportunities for law students, check out the Arthur D. Hellman Fellowship in First Amendment Litigation.

Legal Clerks will work at FIRE’s Philadelphia office, but also have the opportunity to work remotely.

The 2024 spring-semester clerkship application will be open from October 16, 2023 to January 15, 2024. Applicants will be received and awarded clerkships on a rolling basis.

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Qualifications and Responsibilities

To qualify for FIRE’s Legal Clerkship, candidates must:

  • Be 2Ls and 3Ls with excellent academic credentials 
  • Have a passion for civil liberties and public interest litigation.

FIRE Legal Clerks are responsible for working with FIRE attorneys on several fronts: conducting legal research in emerging areas of law, developing arguments for active cases, preparing various litigation and advocacy documents for active cases, reviewing college and university policies and legislative proposals, and much more. FIRE accepts applications from candidates across the United States. 


“FIRE’s legal internship was my #1 choice for the summer and it completely lived up to the hype. This is not one of those legal internships where students are relegated to mundane busy work. We were immediately treated like important members of the FIRE team and assigned substantive legal projects with serious responsibilities. But the best part about working at FIRE was the people. My favorite experiences in life have been defined by the people with whom I shared them, and my time at FIRE was no exception. I am convinced that much of the reason FIRE has been such an impactful organization, despite its relative youth, it simply gets the best people. I cannot recommend this internship enough (or working at FIRE in any capacity, for that matter).”
– Jeff Murphy, Class of 2021

“During my 8-week legal internship, I spent a great deal of time reflecting and writing on legal issues in higher education I care deeply about. I wrote about the academic freedom of faculty members to research and teach subject matters relevant to their scholarship and institutional mission, as well as the legal history of free speech protections afforded to educational institutions themselves. Under Will Creeley’s mentorship, I strengthened my legal research and writing skills and developed a better understanding of policy work. And, above all, I met some great people and had fun.”
– Vanessa Miller, Class of 2016

“Throughout my clerkship with FIRE, I deepened my understanding of First Amendment law through hands on, substantive legal work. I worked closely with staff attorneys on legal issues pertaining to FIRE’s active cases and conducted legal research and writing to assist with FIRE’s constitutional arguments. Through this work, I augmented my legal skills while gaining a deeper understanding of First Amendment jurisprudence and its real-world application. Seeing my research cited in an amicus brief drafted by FIRE attorneys was one of the most rewarding moments of my clerkship! I would recommend a FIRE legal clerkship to anyone who is interested in First Amendment issues and wants to work with dedicated public interest attorneys who care about civil liberties. Thank you, FIRE, for the opportunity to strengthen my professional aspirations while gaining meaningful experience with civil liberties advocacy!”
– Sophia Henderson, Class of 2021

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