Legal Fellow

The Knight Institute seeks recent law school graduates interested in working with the Institute as legal fellows. Fellows will help litigate groundbreaking First Amendment cases and contribute to all aspects of the Institute’s work. Fellowships are full-time, one-year positions based at Columbia University in New York City. The Institute anticipates taking on between one and three fellows for the term beginning in the fall of 2018.

About us

The Knight First Amendment Institute works to preserve and expand the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to be a vibrant community, a generator of new ideas, a distinctive voice for these fundamental freedoms in public discourse, and their effective defender in the courts. Over time, we expect to tackle a wide range of issues including free speech on social media, net neutrality, government surveillance, intermediary liability, the rights of whistleblowers, the right of journalists to protect their sources, the right of citizens to record and broadcast police activity, encryption, machine speech, and government transparency.

What you'll do

  • Work alongside the Institute’s attorneys on all aspects of our litigation, including by conducting legal research and analysis; drafting legal pleadings; interviewing potential clients, witnesses, and experts; and participating in discovery and trial practice.
  • Support the Institute’s research and public-education projects, including by drafting white papers, op-eds, and blog posts; representing the Institute in the media, as needed; and conceiving of and implementing public programs.
  • Provide input to develop the litigation and research priorities that will guide our work over the next few years.


  • Juris Doctor degree, or equivalent.
  • Admission to the New York bar or the ability to gain admission quickly, a demonstrated interest in issues relating to the freedoms of speech and the press, a strong academic record, and superior research, analytical, writing, and interpersonal skills. Familiarity with the complex issues arising at the intersection of free speech and new technology is preferred.

How to apply

Candidates are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible, as we will review applications and make offers on rolling basis. Applications must be submitted through the Columbia University Jobs site no later than October 1, 2017.

Please include the following attachments:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in the fellowship, including a description of any relevant life or work experience (Applicants who have access to external sources of funding should so indicate in their cover letter)
  • Resume
  • Two or three letters of recommendation
  • Official or unofficial law school transcript
  • One or two writing samples, at least one of which should include legal analysis