ACLU of Southern California

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California

The nationwide American Civil Liberties Union works to defend the Bill of Rights and apply them equally to all who live in our society. It was established in 1920 by a handful of activists and has grown to include more than 500,000 members, 54 affiliates, and 200 chapters across the country.

The ACLU defends the fundamental rights outlined in the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. These include the right to freedom of speech and assembly; the right to religious freedom; due process of law; equality before the law; and the right to privacy. The ACLU also relies on state constitutional provisions and federal and state laws that further these and similar rights.

The ACLU of Southern California has been on the leading edge of liberty since 1923.

For more information please contact us, or visit our website.


Video Production Internship

The ACLU of Southern California seeks competent, motivated interns on a rolling basis to work closely with its Communications Department to produce advocacy videos. This internship offers a flexible schedule ranging from 10 to 20 hours per week.


We are looking for videographers to help us produce videos about ACLU/SC advocacy, clients, and cases through digital media. Interns will work with the Director of Communications and Web & Social Media Editor, and will be responsible for all technical aspects of the video production process. Interns will directly interact with attorneys, community organizers, and clients. This position is an exceptional opportunity for the intern to produce original content and build a portfolio.

Video subjects/topics could include:

  • High school students who were victims of racial profiling by police officers and school officials
  • Muslims who were surveilled by an FBI informant for months without reason
  • ACLU attorneys speaking about current events, cases, and constitutional principles
  • ACLU attorneys and community organizers explaining how to exercise constitutional rights in various scenarios
  • Example:


  • Experience creating videos from start to finish
  • Mastery of Final Cut Pro
  • Creative outlook on visual media

To apply, send a cover letter, resume, and video samples to

Media Relations Internship


We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude, and who is willing to learn how a communications office operates and has a passion for social justice issues. The internship does not pay. However, successful interns in the past have earned excellent letters of recommendation that have open doors to new and exciting opportunities. Bilingual and translation skills are highly desired but not required. Interns report to the media relations manager.


  • Maintain media archives
  • Excellent researcher
  • Work with attorneys and maintain lists of cases they manage
  • Assist in preparation for press conferences
  • Register media at press conferences
  • Research subjects for ACLU’s morning segment on Univision Channel 34
  • Microsoft computer literate and tech savvy
  • Serve as general support to the communications director, media relations manager, and web and social media editor
  • Other duties as assigned

For more information contact Diana Rubio at (213)977- 5242 or email

People of color, women, people with disabilities, people over 55, and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex are particularly encouraged to apply.

Legal Internships, Externships & Volunteer Opportunities

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) accepts applications for interns, externs and volunteers to work at both our Los Angeles and Orange County offices. People of color, women, people with disabilities, people over 55 and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex are encouraged to apply.

Law Students

ACLU SoCal law clerks gain experience in the full range of civil liberties and constitutional rights cases. Students are involved in research and preparation of legal memoranda, fact investigations, client and witness interviews, discovery, pre-trial motions, handling of expert witnesses, as well as accompanying lawyers at court appearances and case development meetings.

ACLU SoCal has limited resources and is currently unable to pay stipends. Students are encouraged to apply for Public Interest Law Foundation grants or other grants and to investigate work-study options as alternative sources of compensation. The ACLU can serve as a work study host and will support students’ applications for funding with supporting materials and documentation.

ACLU SoCal’s Legal Department primarily works in the following areas, with attorneys dedicated to each area: conditions of confinement in Los Angeles County jails, educational equity, First Amendment, immigrants’ rights, LGBT rights, reproductive justice, gender equity, national security, police practices, privacy and racial justice.

Summer:  The Legal Department generally hires between 18 and 25 law clerks each summer depending upon the needs of staff attorneys and their ability to supervise and give substantive work to their clerks. We ask that law students commit to no fewer than eight weeks and prefer ten week (or longer) commitments (though exceptions may be made in certain circumstances). The office is open five days a week and successful applicants can expect to work eight hour days (with some longer days occasionally depending upon the work). Most clerks will work closely with one or two attorneys. When applying, know that unless you specifically identify a subject area of preference or apply to a specific project below, your application will be viewed by all attorneys seeking clerks – please fashion your application materials accordingly.

The six areas accepting dedicated Law Student applications are:

  • General Subject Internship (follow the application procedures below)
  • Orange County Office Internship
  • National Security and Immigrants’ Rights (Position filled for summer 2014)
  • Jails Project
  • LGBT Rights Project, Reproductive Justice and Gender Equity  (Position filled for summer 2014)

ACLU SoCal endeavors to make our summer internships as rewarding as possible. Each year the ACLU hosts eight to ten Brown Bag lunches to which interns from all the local non-profits are invited. Last year’s guests included Ninth Circuit Judges the Honorable Stephen Reinhardt and Chief Judge the Honorable Alex Kozinski, and a Supreme Court Roundup by Erwin Chemerinsky.  Each attorney also hosts a Brown Bag lunch on their particular subject area to which only our interns are invited. We have hosted trainings on specific subject areas. And though we have limited resources our interns are invited to several social events, as well.

This year, through the generosity of ACLU SoCal supporter Mrs. Rikiko Allen, we will be conducting the fourth annual Magnus Tomohiro Kubo-Allen Essay Competition, open to all our summer interns, which will culminate in the awarding of three $1,000 stipends.

Fall/Spring: The Legal Department welcomes law student externs in both the Fall and Spring Semesters. The number hired varies depending upon the needs of staff attorneys and their ability to supervise and provide substantive work to externs. Externships are open to all law students. Students should be able to commit to a minimum of 10 hours each week during the semester (some of which occasionally may be done out of the office). Usually externs are not assigned to particular subject areas, if you are interested in working with a particular attorney or in a particular area please note it in your cover letter and in the subject line of your cover email.

Graduate and Undergraduate Students

The Legal Department encourages non Law Students to apply for internships. Applications are accepted for both Summer and Fall/Spring internships. We ask that applicants commit to no fewer than 8 weeks and prefer 10 week or Semester/Quarter-long commitments. Applicants with particular interest in one of our subject areas should consider applying to work with an attorney in that area. Valuable contributions have been made by students from the fields of education, sociology, political science, and statistics among others.

Additionally, there are two areas within the Legal Department that particularly seek non-law students:

General Interest Volunteers

If you are not a lawyer or law student there are still ways of getting involved in the Legal Department. The following departments gratefully accept volunteers:

    • Jails Project.
    • Legal Intake

Each have different minimum volunteer requirements and terms.

Application Procedure:

All applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample, and include the preferred subject area in your email subject line. Items may also be mailed or to the address listed below, but but email applications are preferred.

Summer applications are accepted beginning September 1st or as soon as your school’s rules allow. We will continue to accept applications until we are fully staffed. Those selected for interviews will be contacted; interviews may be conducted on the telephone for students living outside the Southern California area. Summer hiring decisions are made on a rolling basis. Most offers are made by January, though some may be made later in the Spring. Please note that due to the large number of resumes we receive, we are unable to answer each student personally or return writing samples submitted to us.

Extern applications are accepted throughout the year. Please note in the subject line the semester for which you are applying.

Jails Project Internship & Volunteership

Jails Project Internship & Volunteership

The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) is soliciting applications from individuals interested in working on the Jails Project. The ACLU of SoCal are the court-ordered monitor of conditions of confinement and medical services within all Los Angeles County jail facilities.

“Conditions” refers to beds, change of clothing, food, meals, gay inmate classification, recreation, showers, telephones, overcrowding, “fish” kits, store, protective custody, religious services, mail, allegations of violence and retaliation and other similar issues that may arise.

Through advocacy, public education, and litigation, we work to ensure that a basic standard of care is provided to prisoners. We also work to decrease our community’s overreliance on mass incarceration by advocating for alternatives to incarceration and discharge planning to help reduce recidivism.

This is a good learning opportunity for any student thinking about a career in law or public service. All are welcome to apply.

This is an exciting position which combines policy advocacy with individual assistance to inmates regarding human rights and condition issues in the Los Angeles County jails. The Jails Project staff monitors the largest jail system in the nation and have the opportunity to make real improvements.

Student Intern/Volunteer Responsibilities

Those who are assigned to our Intake Team (typically made up of undergrads) will spend most of their time assisting with screening written and telephone requests by inmates and family members for aid regarding facility conditions, medical access, mental health access, amongst others in Los Angeles County; and assisting the Jails Project Director with sorting, analyzing, and inputting responses from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; as a means to ensure they meet legal requirements and standards.

Those who are assigned to our Legal Team (typically made up of law students) will spend most of their time speaking to inmates in the LA County jails’ attorney rooms to discuss their respective situation, i.e. violence allegations; drafting and gathering declarations in support of the ongoing lawsuits.  All students in the Legal Team will undergo a LASD clearance process, so please be aware of this.

People who speak, read, and write Spanish fluently would be especially helpful, but any second language could be useful.

We make a concerted effort to ensure that students work on a diversity of projects and receive intensive supervision, including ample feedback on their work. In addition, in the summer, our office will provide lecture/training series connecting interns/volunteers on a variety of human rights and civil rights topics in Southern California.

Interested students must email a cover letter and resume, their school’s internship requirements (for those applying for internship positions to get school credit), and availability to Esther LimNo phone calls, please.

For those interested in interning/volunteering in the Spring, please submit your applications no later than November 1st; those interested in interning/volunteering in the Summer, please submit your applications no later than April 1st; those interested in interning/volunteering in the Fall, please submit your applications no later than July 1st.