fire 2016 legal undergraduate interns feat


FIRE offers an eight-week, paid Summer Internship as part of our efforts to educate students about their rights at colleges and universities. This internship gives current undergraduates the opportunity to assist FIRE in defending civil liberties on campuses all across the country.

FIRE interns do substantive work and participate in weekly seminars with FIRE staff and other experts on freedom of expression, due process, and much more.

Interns will work at FIRE’s downtown Philadelphia office. The 2017 program will run from Monday, June 5 through Friday, July 28 and interns will receive a stipend of $2,800.


FIRE is looking for intelligent and energetic undergraduates (rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors) who are interested in FIRE’s mission and work. Ideal candidates are responsible, focused, and organized, and have an interest in civil liberties. All interns are expected to demonstrate excellent research, writing, and communication skills. The ability to work under pressure and a sense of humor are also important.


FIRE interns:

  • Work closely with our Campus Outreach, Defense, Education, Development, and Media programs to assist with research and administrative projects. Interns complete research projects and help staff members with writing, case work, fundraising, public relations, and administrative duties.
  • Attend and assist with the annual student summer conference. The FIRE interns will also lead an hour-long session for conference attendees.
  • Write about FIRE cases and issues for our blog, Newsdesk.
  • Develop strategies for ensuring open discourse once they return to campus.
  • Learn the foundational arguments for protecting core rights in our free society through reading and discussion in weekly seminars with FIRE’s staff and other experts on civil liberties.

Application Procedures

The Summer 2017 internship application opens on Oct 17, 2016 (free-speech week!) and closes on March 7, 2017. All prospective interns will be informed of their application status within two weeks of the deadline. FIRE considers applications for internships on a rolling basis.

Applicants should submit a cover letter, résumé, and writing sample at this link. The sample should be a piece of original writing (or an excerpt) no longer than five pages. While the style of the writing sample is your choice, please consider the type of writing published by FIRE in making your selection. If you do not have an appropriate writing sample, we encourage you to write about your interest in our mission.

Questions and inquiries about FIRE’s Summer Internship Program can be submitted to

The application closes on March 7, 2017. Apply Today!


“It’s hard to overstate just how valuable and unique my time at FIRE has been. I honestly can’t imagine a more interesting or engaged place to work. You learn so much just by observing the work that the amazing people here do every day. I’ll be returning to school in the fall having learned more than I could possibly have imagined I would. It will be truly sad to leave this place behind.”

Alec Ward, 2016 Intern, University of Pennsylvania

“The FIRE Summer Internship is an immersive and incredibly rewarding eight weeks. It has given me the opportunity to engage with passionate civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum. The people who work here, and my fellow interns, have providing an invigorating, caring, and intellectually challenging workplace that I will truly miss. I am leaving with a wealth of knowledge that I know will serve me well for the two years I have left in college, and for the rest of my life.

— Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland, 2016 Intern, Swarthmore College

“My internship at FIRE was a remarkable opportunity for me to work and converse with intelligent, engaged, and passionate colleagues and fellow interns from across the ideological spectrum. It was an experience that gave me an incredible appreciation for open discourse and free expression, and allowed me to assist staff ensuring First Amendment rights nationwide. I leave this internship with immense respect for the work FIRE does, and the progress they continue to make.”

Elizabeth Gudgel, 2016 Intern, Johns Hopkins University

“The FIRE office possesses a palpable energy and dynamism that is unlike any workplace I have ever experienced. While I’ve learned, throughout my internship, much about civil liberties, First Amendment jurisprudence, and public advocacy, more than anything I am proud to have observed firsthand what it means to be principled.”

— Konrad Thallner, 2014 Intern, Colgate University

“My internship at FIRE was a remarkable period of personal growth. Formal lectures, extended readings, and even casual conversations provided me with new arguments, both legal and philosophical, in support of free speech. The staff and guest speakers were resources not just for free speech issues but also for our personal goals and career aspirations. I left the internship with new perspectives on the First Amendment and on my own career path.”

— Megan Zielinski, 2013 Intern, Washington University in St. Louis

“In just a few weeks at FIRE, I was able to gain a real world education on First Amendment rights that has sharpened the way I think about my responsibilities not only as a college student, but also as a citizen of this country. I was able to engage in thought-provoking conversations with lecturers, fellow interns, and FIRE staff every day, an experience that I found both fun and tremendously valuable. I am walking away from this internship with a new-found interest in constitutional law, a huge appreciation for what FIRE does, and a group of great friends.”

— Yean Do, 2012 Intern, Georgetown University

“Working as a FIRE intern, I gained valuable strategies for defending First Amendment rights when I return to campus. My time at FIRE this summer taught me even more than that, though: I also had the opportunity to learn from my peers and their experiences, which gave me insight into the real challenges facing free speech rights at schools all over the country. Because of FIRE’s internship program, I made great friends and also had the chance to do substantive work that helps other students—it was truly a remarkable experience.”
— Emily Kraus, 2011 Intern, Brandeis University