SUPREME COURT ASSISTANCE PROJECT FELLOWSHIP
(1-year position, starting August 2020)
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. The Litigation Group litigates cases at all levels of the federal and state judiciaries, and its attorneys have argued 64 cases in the U.S. Supreme Court.
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 experience in Supreme Court litigation. The Project assists lawyers before review is granted, either by helping with a petition for certiorari or a brief in opposition. After review is granted, we work with lawyers to prepare their briefs and oral argument. Most 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 has the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of Supreme Court litigation—from initial strategizing to brief writing to moot courts. The fellow reviews 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, prepares a research memo analyzing the case, and recommends whether to offer assistance. 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. When an offer of help is accepted, a Litigation Group attorney assumes principal responsibility for the case within the office. In the last Supreme Court term, we assisted in 30 cases at the petition stage.
The fellow is also responsible for organizing and coordinating moot courts for advocates appearing before the Court. In the last Supreme Court term, the Project mooted lawyers for 20 cases. In addition, the fellow maintains the Project’s website and prepares an email on pending petitions of public interest to update subscribers before each Supreme Court conference.
In addition to work on the Project, the fellow will 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. 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 interest work.
The annual salary, set by collective bargaining agreement, is approximately $58,000. Benefits include fully paid health and dental insurance 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 work heavily edited by someone else. Please send the complete document, not an excerpt.
Applicants should consult the Project’s website (https://www.citizen.org/supreme-court-assistance-project/), and Litigation Group website (http://www.citizen.org/litigation) for general information on the work of the Litigation Group. Interviews may either be in person or on the telephone, no sooner than mid-September. The position is open until filled.