Supreme Court Assistance Project Fellowship
We are no longer accepting applications for the 2014 term.
Founded in 1972, Public Citizen Litigation Group is the litigating arm of the non-profit
advocacy organization Public Citizen. Litigation Group attorneys specialize in cases
involving health and safety regulation, consumer rights, access to the courts, class action
standards, open government, and the First Amendment, including issues involving online
speech. The Litigation Group litigates cases at all levels of the federal and state
judiciaries, and its attorneys have argued 62 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court, with
another more scheduled for the 2013 Term.
To augment its Supreme Court litigation, the Litigation Group operates the Alan
Morrison Supreme Court Assistance Project, named after the Group’s founder. The
Project focuses on helping small-firm practitioners, lawyers for non-profit organizations,
and other lawyers with little or no experience in Supreme Court litigation. The Project
provides direct assistance to lawyers before review is granted, either by helping with a
petition for certiorari or a brief in opposition, and provides assistance in cases in which
review is granted, working with the lawyers to prepare briefs and oral argument. In some
cases, a Litigation Group attorney will become the lead lawyer on the case.
The Litigation Group is looking for a bright, energetic lawyer to coordinate the Project
and work on Supreme Court cases for one year. Most, but not all, of the cases on which
we work are civil rather than criminal. Most of our work at the petition stage involves
assisting the party who won below in preparing an opposition to the petition for
certiorari, to keep the case out of the Court and thereby preserve a victory.
The fellow will review all paid cert. petitions. Working under the direct supervision of
the Litigation Group director, the fellow makes an initial judgment about whether the
case is of interest to the Project and prepares a memo and recommendation about whether
to offer assistance. Considerable legal research and analysis are often required to
determine whether assertions in the petition, such as a conflict among the courts of
appeals, are supportable. The fellow then makes an initial contact with the attorney to
whom help is being offered to explain the Project and the assistance that we can
provide. In addition, all cases accepted by the Court for full review are considered for
possible assistance by the Project. When an offer of help is accepted, a Litigation Group
attorney assumes principal responsibility for the case within the office. For a list of the
Project’s current cases, see http://www.citizen.org/ litigation/forms/scap_index.cfm.
The fellow participates fully in all aspects of the Project, including working on draft
briefs at the certiorari and merits stages. The fellow is also responsible for organizing and
coordinating moot courts for advocates appearing before the Court. (In the 2012 Term,
the Project mooted lawyers for 23 cases.) The fellow maintains the Project’s website
(http://www.citizen.org/litigation/supremecourt) and prepares an email on pending
petitions of public interest to update subscribers before each Supreme Court conference.
In sum, the fellow has the opportunity to be involved with all aspects of Supreme Court
litigation—from initial strategizing to brief writing to moot courts. In addition to work on
the Project, the fellow may have an opportunity to work on other Litigation Group cases.
Applicants must have a JD, a solid academic background, excellent writing and analytical
skills, and basic knowledge of a wide range of subject areas that arise in Supreme Court
litigation. Ideal applicants are bright, innovative, socially adept, and self-starters. Some
practical litigation experience in school or elsewhere is preferred, but not required. A
strong preference will be given to those who have a demonstrated commitment to public
The annual salary, set by collective bargaining agreement, is approximately $53,000.
Benefits include fully paid comprehensive health insurance (covering employee and
dependents, but not the employee’s spouse) and three weeks’ paid vacation.
Applicants should send a cover letter, a resume, a list of references, a law school
transcript, and a writing sample to the attention of Office Manager, at
firstname.lastname@example.org. The writing sample should be legal in nature (brief,
memorandum, or research paper) and should be the applicant’s own work, not a
collaborative piece or something heavily edited by someone else. Please send the
complete document, not an excerpt.
Applicants should consult the Project’s website (http://www.citizen.org/litigation/supremecourt), and Litigation Group website (http://www.citizen.org/litigation) for
general information on the work of the Litigation Group. The position will remain open until filled and interviews may begin as early as October.