Non-Profit Externship Placements
New Orleans has many non-profit organizations dedicated to the direct representation of individuals from poor and marginalized communities and to the creation of a more just society through impact litigation and policy work. Whether you are interested in civil legal aid, immigration, environmental law, civil rights, criminal justice reform, children's rights, racial justice, or fighting for equality of any kind, there is an externship opportunity with a legal non-profit working on these issues. Students interested in a career in public interest law are often drawn to these non-profit placements, but many students interested in a career in law firms or government service also participate both because of the rewarding nature of the work and because the litigation and advocacy skills they learn are transferable to all types of legal careers.
The ACLU works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend and preserve individual rights and liberties that the Constitution and laws of the United States guarantee. These rights include: First Amendment rights - freedom of speech, association and assembly; freedom of the press, and freedom of religion; the right to equal protection under the law - protection against unlawful discrimination; the right to due process - fair treatment by the government whenever the loss of liberty or property is at stake; right to privacy - freedom from unwarranted government intrusion into personal and private affairs. The ACLU also works to extend rights to segments of the population that have traditionally been denied their rights, including people of color; women; lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people; prisoners; and people with disabilities.
Location: 1340 Poydras St, New Orleans, LA 70112
The Animal Legal Defense Fund Externship and Volunteer Program gives law students who demonstrate an interest in animal law the opportunity to work with and be trained by top experts in the field. Externs and volunteers are integral members of a program team and work on projects that further the current work of the program and advance the mission and goals of the Animal Legal Defense Fund. Externs and volunteers also participate in activities that will allow them to network across the organization with Animal Legal Defense Fund staff and other externs and volunteers and engage them in the mission and goals of the organization.
Specific responsibilities vary by program; visit their website for more info. All externs will participate in scheduled networking and engagement activities.
CrescentCare Legal Services (formerly AIDSLaw of Louisiana, Inc.) provides free civil legal aid to income eligible persons in Louisiana with legal issues involving matters related to or arising from their HIV status. Persons living with HIV/AIDS, as well as their loved ones, face a variety of problems requiring the assistance of legal professionals with experience in various areas of the law.
Individuals affected by HIV disease, both those who are infected, as well as their loved ones, face a variety of problems requiring the assistance of legal professionals with experience in various areas of the law. These legal problems include:
|Last Will and Testament||Veterans Benefits||Foreclosures|
|Living Will||Benefits Overpayments||Discrimination|
|Durable Medical Power of Attorney||Foods Stamps||Family Law|
|Durable General Power of Attorney||SSI Disability||Public Accomodations|
|Burial Instructions||Medicaid & Health Insurance||Consumer Protection|
|Simple Succession Matters||Employment/Wage Claim||Predatory Lending|
|Securing Public Benefits||Privacy Protection||Foreclosures|
|Social Security Appeals||Unauthorized Disclosure||
Disability Rights Louisiana (DRLA and formerly the Advocacy Center) protects, empowers, and advocates for the human and legal rights of people with disabilities and seniors living in Louisiana, in order that they may live an integrated life in the community, free from abuse, neglect and exploitation. Types of cases include public benefits (Medicaid, Medicare), special education, advocacy for rights of residents of institutions including nursing homes, cases involving issues of inaccessibility or discrimination, community integration, and issues related to self determination. DRLA also handles some class actions and impact litigation.
Legal externs at the DRLA conduct legal research, including factual investigations when necessary and assist attorneys in other areas of case-handling. Externs typically have some client contact and are able to attend administrative or court hearings with attorneys.
Location: 8325 Oak St, New Orleans, LA 70118
The mission of the First 72+ is to stop the cycle of incarceration by fostering independence and self-sustainability through education, stable and secure housing & employment, health care, and community engagement. Through the leadership and wisdom of formerly incarcerated people themselves, the First 72+ transforms the re-entry experience into one that builds on the strengths and abilities of people returning home from prison and ensures that they, their families, and their communities are given the greatest opportunity to grow and thrive. When someone is released from prison they often come home to numerous outstanding legal issues that impede their ability to rejoin the workforce, access housing, and access public benefits. In its Reentry Legal Services Clinic, the First 72+ provides representation to assist with a variety of issues, including, getting driver's licenses reinstated, resolving municipal attachments and warrants that pre-date incarceration, addressing probation/parole holds, accessing professional licenses, and applying for food stamps and disability.
Location: 2917 Perdido St, New Orleans, LA 70119
Immigration Services and Legal Advocacy (ISLA) is a legal services organization that defends the rights of immigrant communities and advocates for just and humane immigration policy. ISLA attorneys visit detained immigrants at the Pine Prairie ICE Processing Center on a weekly basis and provide pro bono representation under a universal representation model before the Oakdale Immigration Court. Through this service, ISLA ensures that detained immigrants' due process rights are protected and that our clients do not have to attend these hearings and present their cases on their own.
The Louisiana Fair Housing Action Center (LFHAC) is a nonprofit civil rights organization established in 1995 to eradicate housing discrimination. LFHAC’s work throughout Louisiana includes education, investigation and enforcement activities. LFHAC is dedicated to fighting housing discrimination because it is an illegal and divisive force that perpetuates poverty, segregation, ignorance, fear and hatred. Externs are exposed to all aspect of the Center's work and are primarily assigned to legal research and writing tasks related to the Center's housing discrimination litigation and enforcement activities.
LCMC is a New Orleans-based non-profit health system with five hospital locations, a network of urgent care centers, and over 2,200 board-certified physicians. Hospitals in the LCMC Health system include Children’s Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center, New Orleans East Hospital, and West Jefferson Medical Center. Externs with LCMC Health work with corporate counsel managing the many legal situations that arise for the system, including contract, compliance, risk management, and personnel issues.
Eligibility Requirements: Applicants must have taken health law coursework for this externship.
NDRN is the non-profit membership association for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. NDRN provides training, technical assistance,
and legal support to the P&A agencies. NDRN is also involved in legislative advocacy to create a society in which people with disabilities are afforded equal opportunity and are able to fully participate by exercising choice and self- determination. NDRN does not provide direct client support.
Legal interns will develop legal skills working directly with a highly experienced team of attorneys on projects related to different disability rights issues. The work will encompass research/writing projects on disability topics that may include: employment, housing, education, juvenile justice/criminal law, abuse and neglect, community integration, and voting rights, among other things. It should be noted that this internship will not include direct work with clients, but will provide significant exposure to federal disability rights issues.
The Promise of Justice Initiative (PJI) is a New Orleans based nonprofit that works to create positive
change for people in the criminal justice at the intersection of direct services, impact litigation, and
community engagement. We believe in a world where our justice system values each person; a world where the system supports rehabilitation, and a world where we approach justice with a lens of healing and restoration for those who are harmed. This world will be safer and more secure for all people.
The Recirculating Farms Coalition is a collaborative group of farmers, educators, non-profit organizations and many others committed to building local sources of healthy, accessible food. Through research, education and advocacy, we work together to support the development of eco-efficient farms that use clean recycled water as the basis to grow food.
This placement allows students to polish research and writing skills with an experienced attorney in environmental law. Responsibilities may include: legal and policy-oriented work, such as researching current case law, statutes, international law and more; writing memos, draft legislation, and government comment letters on rule-makings and bills; attend meetings and hearings; review regulatory comments, documents and rule-makings; and other tasks as appropriate relating to non-profit, government and environmental law.
Southeast Louisiana Legal Services (SLLS) is a nonprofit legal aid that provides free legal assistance to low-income and vulnerable families in 22 parishes in southeast Louisiana. Attorneys at SLLS work every day to protect domestic violence victims from abuse, stand for the rights of abused and neglected children, preserve housing for hard-working families, end homelessness for people with disabilities and veterans, protect elderly consumers, remove barriers to medical care, improve access to employment and education for vulnerable people, and so much more.
Location: 1340 Poydras, Suite 600
New Orleans, LA 70112 (placement also available at Baton Rouge, Covington, Hammond, Harvey, and Houma locations)
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. Using litigation, education, and other forms of advocacy, the SPLC works toward the day when the ideals of equal justice and equal opportunity will be a reality.
Based in New Orleans, the SPLC’s Louisiana office is dedicated to ensuring that all children have equal access to public education, to reforming school discipline policies that criminalize children for typical adolescent behavior, and ensuring vulnerable youth have access to the mental health services and rehabilitative resources necessary to enable them to reach their full potential. The office also works to reduce the number of incarcerated young people, to reform the juvenile justice system, and to ensure the dignity of youth involved in these systems.
Special Application Instructions:
- Summer Externships: Students interested in applying for summer externships should follow the instructions available on the organization's online career portal and also contact Prof. Linares. The summer deadline set by the placement is generally in late October.
- Term-Time Externships: Rolling applications through the Office of Skills & Experiential Learning. Contact Prof. Linares.
Location: Central Business District
Vera's work in New Orleans began in 2006, when the City Council invited us to assess the criminal justice system and propose reforms as part of post-Katrina recovery efforts. Since then, we have become a nexus for advancing evidence-based reform and have demonstrated that change is not only possible but within reach. In partnership with people leading and working in the local justice system, city leaders, and community organizations, we are working to end unnecessary detention and develop innovative, collaborative projects that improve the delivery of justice in New Orleans.
Voice of the Experienced (VOTE) is a grassroots organization founded and run by formerly incarcerated people, their families, and allies. VOTE is dedicated to restoring the full human and civil rights of those most impacted by the criminal (in)justice system. VOTE members have the experience, expertise and power to improve public safety in New Orleans and beyond without relying on mass incarceration.Through civic engagement and policy reform, VOTE increasingly mobilizes a strong group of leaders to transform the movement for the elimination of the carceral state. Legal externs with VOTE assist with the legal policy work and community outreach, education, and organizing that is central to the organization's work.