November 23, 2020

Supreme Court and Appellate Program One-Year Fellowship to Address Sexual Assault in Prison

The Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center (RSMJC) is accepting applications for a one-year fellowship in its Supreme Court and Appellate Program. The fellowship will focus on providing critical appellate-level legal assistance to prisoners who have experienced sexual assault.

RSMJC is one of the nation’s premier civil rights organizations and champions criminal legal system reform through litigation in areas that include police misconduct, rights of the accused, issues facing indigent prisoners, the death penalty, and the rights of detainees.

RSMJC’s Supreme Court and Appellate Program (SCAP), located in Chicago and Washington, D.C., fights for civil rights and criminal justice in the U.S. Supreme Court, federal courts of appeals, and state supreme courts across the country. The Program is staffed by an accomplished group of five attorneys, who have prior experience in the nation’s leading Supreme Court practices and civil rights organizations, and hold clinical faculty appointments at Harvard and Northwestern law schools. Collectively, our attorneys have argued multiple appeals before the U.S. Supreme Court, litigated in all of the federal circuits, and argued in many state supreme courts.

SCAP seeks a one-year fellow to assist its attorneys in undertaking a comprehensive effort to improve the ability of survivors of sexual assault and violence in prison to assert civil rights claims. Specifically, the fellow will assist SCAP’s attorneys in identifying and pursuing appeals on a number of important legal issues relating to sexual assault in prison, which are ripe for strategic appellate intervention. The goal, in addition to improving appellate precedent to aid pro se litigants across the country, is to shine a light on a particularly horrific facet of imprisonment.

The fellow’s responsibilities will include tracking and reviewing district court-level cases, preparing legal memoranda, and drafting appellate briefs. We also hope to be able to provide the fellow with the opportunity to argue in a federal court of appeals.


-J.D. degree and at least one year of experience of practice or clerking

-Energetic self-starter with a passion for criminal justice reform;

-Strong familiarity with concepts of criminal procedure, constitutional law, and 42 U.S.C. § 1983 litigation;

-Exceptional research, writing, and editing skills;

-Strong attention to detail;

-Strong interpersonal skills and ability to work on a team;

-Ability to conduct legal research and effectively communicate findings to others;

-Dedication to zealous advocacy on behalf of incarcerated individuals; and

-Strong written and oral communication skills.

-Prior appellate experience a plus.

Location: The fellow will work remotely for the foreseeable future, with the option of working from RSMJC’s Chicago or Washington, D.C. office should the public health situation permit.

Salary: $50,000 annually, plus benefits, for a candidate with one year of experience; possibility for higher salary commensurate with experience.

Anticipated start date: As soon as filled.

Deadline: Applications will be accepted and considered on a rolling basis until hiring is complete.

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 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, disability, age, marital status, status with regard to public assistance, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity.

To apply: Please submit a cover letter addressing your experience relevant to the considerations above.  Candidates are encouraged to discuss any personal experience motivating their interest in criminal legal system reform and civil rights litigation.  Please also send a resume, writing sample, and two references. All application materials should be emailed to, with the subject line “Prison Sexual Assault Fellowship Application.”

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For more information about RSMJC’s Supreme Court and Appellate Program, visit our website: