The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is looking for legal interns for the summer of 2022. We want a diverse group of creative, motivated, and committed law students to join us in the defense of the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. You’ll do ground-breaking First Amendment litigation and help us in the early stages of building an exciting new free-speech advocacy and research organization. 

About us

The Knight First Amendment Institute defends the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age through strategic litigation, research, and public education. We aim to promote a system of free expression that is open and inclusive, that broadens and elevates public discourse, and that fosters creativity, accountability, and effective self-government. 

Since its establishment in 2016, the Institute has filed precedent-setting litigation, undertaken major interdisciplinary research initiatives, and become an influential voice in debates about the freedoms of speech and the press in the digital age. Its active litigation docket includes cutting-edge cases relating to transparency, surveillance, and social media. Through its research program, the Institute has published a series of influential essays focused on emerging threats to the system of free expression. It has also hosted public events on new technology and public discourse, data journalism and the law, the First Amendment and inequality, whistleblowers, leaks, and national-security journalism.

What you'll do

Your primary responsibility as a legal intern will be to support our litigation. You’ll work alongside the Institute’s attorneys on all aspects of our litigation. This will include exploring potential new lawsuits, conducting legal research and analysis, contributing to litigation strategy, and drafting factual and legal memoranda, affidavits, and briefs.


The summer legal internship is open to all law students who will have completed their first year of law school before the internship begins. Applicants should possess excellent research, writing, and communication skills. They should also possess a deep commitment to the freedoms of speech and the press, but prior subject-matter experience is not required.

The internship is full-time, and we’ll give preference to those who can commit to a ten-week term.

How to apply

Send the following to

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in the internship, including a description of any relevant life or work experience,
  • A résumé,
  • The contact information for two references,
  • An official or unofficial law-school transcript (1Ls should send their transcripts when available), and
  • One or two writing samples. The samples should be no longer than ten pages each, and at least one should contain legal analysis. (You are strongly encouraged to submit writing samples that reflect solely your own work. If you are unable to do so, please explain the contributions of others to the writing.)

Candidates are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible, as we will review applications and make offers on a rolling basis. To receive full consideration, 2Ls and LLMs should submit their applications by November 29, 2021, and 1Ls should submit their applications by January 10, 2022. We will pay a modest stipend to interns who don’t receive outside funding or course credit and guarantee funding up to $9,000 for a full 10-week term. All interviews will be conducted remotely by video conference.

Please note that we expect to be back in our offices by the beginning of the summer internship, and that we will expect our interns to spend a minimum of two to three days in the office per week.

For the university’s mission statement on diversity, please see here.