Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was founded in August 2007 and works across the South. Our mission is to promote justice by partnering with communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities to defend and advance their political, social, and economic rights. SCSJ’s focus areas are community-driven, and currently include voting rights, criminal justice reform, and youth justice, as well as environmental justice and human rights when resources permit.
Hosting one of the country’s premier voting rights programs, SCSJ has litigated voting rights and redistricting cases all across the South, in states including North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Florida, Georgia, and Texas, including three Supreme Court arguments since 2018. Active in both state and federal court, SCSJ’s voting rights team litigates a broad scope of voting rights cases, including cases brought under state and federal constitutions, the Voting Rights Act, and the National Voter Registration Act. With a commitment to combating voter suppression in all its forms, SCSJ has also represented voters prosecuted for participation in the political process and voters who have been subject to intimidation and defamation. SCSJ also engages with local election officials to help protect access to the ballot, troubleshoot issues, and provide technical expertise to ensure that all voters have the ability to participate in our democracy. SCSJ also works on proactive electoral reform advocacy projects at the federal, state, and local levels. SCSJ’s model of practice requires team members who work well with grassroots groups and in collaboration with other civil rights groups, and who have deep passion for and commitment to fighting for inclusive political participation.
For more information about our work and our unique community lawyering approach, visit our website at www.southerncoalition.org.
Diversity and Inclusion Statement:
SCSJ is committed to a policy of equal employment opportunity for all persons without regard to race, color, creed, sex, religion, age, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, political affiliation, physical or mental disability, pregnancy, personal appearance, marital or family status, citizenship, past, current, or prospective service in the uniformed services, genetic information, natural hair styles, or other status as protected by State and Federal laws. It is our intention to promote the full realization of equality in opportunity and employment.
SCSJ seeks an applicant (graduating from law school in 2023-24, finishing a clerkship, or otherwise eligible) to sponsor for externally-funded fellowship opportunities, such as Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Justice Catalyst, and other public interest fellowships to begin in Fall of 2024. Fellows assist with all facets of SCSJ’s advocacy, including but not limited to state and federal court litigation, administrative hearings, policy advocacy at the federal, state, and local levels, election protection work, and community outreach. SCSJ particularly seeks candidates who are committed to the ideals of racial, social, and economic justice, are interested in working to advance these ideals across the South through creative advocacy, and are committed to learning how to become a civil rights lawyer within a community lawyering model. Fellows will be full members of SCSJ’s Voting Rights group, and will receive substantive, meaningful litigation and advocacy experience, as well as work directly with our clients and coalition members. SCSJ endeavors to train its fellows to become the next generation of civil rights lawyers.
- Completed at least the first & second years of law school.
- Eligible for post-graduation fellowship funding through Equal Justice Works, Skadden, Justice Catalyst, or some other public-interest fellowship funding organization (including law school sponsored fellowships).
- Commitment to the communities in which we work. SCSJ advocates alongside and on behalf of communities of color and economically disadvantaged communities throughout the South. SCSJ prioritizes recruiting team members who share a commitment to advancing racial, social, and economic justice in the South, and a commitment to following the lead of community members in doing so.
- Commitment to social justice principles and to SCSJ’s community-lawyering model of practice. The goals of our litigation and advocacy will always be shaped by the needs of our clients, our partners, and our communities. We seek to bring the community into the courtroom, and to ensure that the stories and priorities of our community are what drive our work.
- Interest in voting rights. We don’t expect you to be an expert in voting rights litigation or policy. While these experiences can be helpful and we welcome applications from those who have such experience, we also strongly encourage applicants who do not have substantive voting rights experience to apply for sponsorship if interested. Strong candidates will be able to articulate how their experiences are relevant to SCSJ’s voting rights work, as well as how that experience equips them both to implement their project proposal and to further SCSJ’s mission, but there is no specific type of experience required to apply.
- Ability to be a team player. SCSJ strives to support its Fellows as full, valued members of our team while recognizing the level of experience Fellows bring to the work. We will not expect you to immediately have the right answer, and we strongly encourage you to ask questions about how to do things. The only non-negotiable factors relating to work product are effort and communication. If you work hard and communicate when you need help, you can succeed at SCSJ.
- Excellent legal research skills.
- Excellent legal writing skills.
- Pursuing a career in the public interest, broadly defined. SCSJ prioritizes hiring Fellows who are interested in developing careers as public interest lawyers. We encourage applicants to use their applications to tell us how they want to develop as advocates, and how SCSJ can help you reach your goals. SCSJ will prioritize applicants who can show how they want to use their fellowship to develop a career advancing racial, social, and economic justice.
We are looking for committed applicants who want to learn. We recognize that there are lots of different people, with different experiences and different goals, who fit that description. If that’s you, we strongly encourage you to apply.
- Assuming responsibilities in SCSJ cases at all stages of litigation, including fact development, legal research, drafting and editing of filings, preparing for depositions and court hearings, and coordinating with SCSJ clients.
- Researching and drafting memos, motions and briefs on a variety of voting rights topics.
- Committing to and helping implement community lawyering strategies, including coordinating with SCSJ partners to ensure that our communities’ needs are being met and goals are being advanced. This may include attending and helping facilitate community forums, trainings, individual outreach, and other duties as needed.
- Interfacing with election administrators on various issues, including outreach by email, phone, and advocacy at public hearings on issues as available and as needed.
- Other projects as assigned, in keeping with a fast-paced and creative organizational strategy.
Duration and Start Date:
SCSJ seeks Fellows to start in September of 2024. The duration of the fellowship will depend on the duration of the external funding secured, but in almost all cases will be one to two years.
Should a sponsored applicant successfully receive external funding, SCSJ will pay fellows a starting salary of $65,000/year, plus benefits.
SCSJ’s office is located in Durham, NC, and Fellows should plan to be based there.
Candidates must upload four items to this Box folder:
- Project proposal of no more than 2 pages (this should outline the issue you propose focusing on during your Fellowship, and the strategies you plan to use)
- Cover letter
- Sample of your legal writing (our ideal sample length is 10-15 pages, but if your best work is longer or shorter, please feel free to submit that work and note it in your cover letter)
Files should be properly labeled with the candidate’s name.
Applications will be reviewed beginning on July 24, 2023, and thereafter on a rolling basis.
SCSJ is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, gender, gender identity, age, or disability.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Fellowship, the application process, or anything related, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are an individual with a disability and need assistance completing the online application, please contact email@example.com.