June 3, 2021

Fall 2022 Legal Fellow Sponsorship Opportunity MacArthur Justice Center (Chicago, IL – Trial Litigation Program)

The Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center’s Chicago office invites rising third-year law students and recent graduates to apply for sponsorship for externally-funded legal fellowships. MJC is interested in sponsoring applicants for fellowships funded by Equal Justice Works, Open Society Foundations, the Skadden Foundation, law school fellowships, or others.

Legal fellows at MJC’s Chicago trial litigation program work closely with and are supervised by our experienced trial attorneys on cutting-edge litigation to advance civil rights. Legal fellows have responsibility for all aspects of litigation and are fully integrated into the work of the organization and the life of the office. Legal fellows receive supervision, support, and feedback consistent with the professional development needs of an entry-level attorney. Legal fellows also have significant opportunities to develop their professional networks and become integrated into the broader civil rights communities of which we are part.

About the Roderick & Solange MacArthur Justice Center

MJC is one of the nation’s premier civil rights litigation organizations. We champion criminal legal system reform in areas that include police misconduct, the rights of the accused, mass incarceration, the rights of detainees, wrongful convictions, and the death penalty. We litigate in federal and state court on behalf of individuals and coalitions seeking justice and transformational change in our systems of policing, prosecution, and imprisonment.

Fellowship Project Opportunities

We welcome inquiries from individuals interested in pursuing projects across any of our Chicago trial program’s priority areas, which include issues of police misconduct, mass imprisonment, racial injustice, and the criminalization of poverty. Ongoing projects of the MJC Chicago office include:

-Systemic challenges to pretrial detention practices, including the use of cash bail, denial of access to counsel, and pervasive electronic/GPS monitoring.

-Systemic challenges to the parole and parole revocation system.

-Prisoner rights suits addressing denial of mental health care, sexual abuse and harassment, LGBTQI rights, and ICE/immigration detention.

-Wrongful conviction damages suits focusing on police and prosecutorial misconduct and constitutional violations.

-Police accountability litigation, including challenges to incommunicado arrests, unjustified police shootings, and violations of a federal consent decree.

-Challenges to intrusive and discriminatory police surveillance tactics including gang databases, electronic surveillance technologies, and algorithmic policing methods.

We invite inquiries from applicants interested in projects related to any of these topics or intersecting issues.

Selection Criteria

-Demonstrated commitment to dismantling systems of oppression.

-Understanding of the systemic problems facing our clients.

-Experience in civil rights litigation or criminal legal system reform.

-Your unique background and perspective.

-Understanding of the lawyer’s role as advocate and change-maker.

-How your project proposal will further our organizational goals and priorities.

-Research, writing, analytical, and verbal communication skills.

-Ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.

-Interpersonal skills and ability to work independently as well as within a supportive team environment.

-Willingness to work closely with MJC attorneys through the application process to outside funders.

-J.D. degree or expected by spring 2022; anticipated or current Illinois bar admission.

Applicants with diverse backgrounds and life experiences are highly encouraged to apply. MJC understands that fellowship opportunities represent an important pathway for new attorneys to begin a legal career in social justice. MJC is committed to making such opportunities available to people who will—by their presence, talents, dedication, background, influence, and perspective—grow power in historically marginalized or underserved communities.

The criminal legal system disproportionally harms people of color, people from low-income communities, the formerly-incarcerated, people with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ individuals.  We strongly encourage those who identify within these and other communities underrepresented in the legal profession to apply. All applicants must have and be committed to the cultural competence required to work with clients and co-workers who come from different backgrounds and experiences. People with experience in community activism and/or organizing are also strongly encouraged to apply.

The MacArthur Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, gender identity, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, race, military status, or ethnicity.

Application Process

If you are interested in discussing potential sponsorship with MJC, please submit:

-A cover email or letter that briefly describes your interest including:

1. any proposed project(s);

2. whether there are other MJC issues that you might be interested in pursuing;

3. the fellowships you would be interested in applying for, including any law school fellowships for which you are eligible, with applicable deadlines; and

4. any other relevant information you wish to share.


-Law school transcript (unofficial is fine)

Note: Project ideas can be preliminary. We expect to refine proposals for project-based fellowships in coordination with any fellowship applicants that we sponsor.

All materials should be sent by email to anissa.torres1@law.northwestern.edu with “Chicago Fellowship Application” in the subject line. For best consideration, submit your materials by June 30, 2021. Inquiries received by that date are assured consideration by the fellowship committee. Inquiries received after that date will be considered on a rolling basis if sponsorship opportunities remain available. We may be able to expedite our process for candidates who are facing deadlines from other organizations. Please reach out if you have concerns.

A member of the fellowship committee may contact you to discuss your inquiry in more depth. We may also request additional information such as references and writing samples.