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.

Summer Legal Internship 

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is looking for legal interns for the summer of 2021. 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. 


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.

The Institute's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion 

We embrace diversity and inclusion in our workplace. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, and record of arrest or conviction.

How to Apply

Send the following to interns@knightcolumbia.org 

  1. A cover letter explaining your interest in the internship, including a description of any relevant life or work experience,
  2. A résumé,
  3. The contact information for two references,
  4. An official or unofficial law-school transcript (1Ls should send their transcripts when available), and
  5. One or two writing samples. The samples should be no longer than ten pages each, and at least one should contain legal analysis. If either sample was drafted in part or edited by anyone other than you, please explain the drafting and editing process.

Candidates are encouraged to submit their applications as soon as possible, as we will review applications and make offers on a rolling basis. 2Ls and LLMs should submit their applications by November 23, 2020. 1Ls should submit their applications by January 11, 2021. We will pay a modest stipend to students who don’t receive outside funding or course credit and guarantee funding up to $6,000 for a full 10-week term. All interviews will be conducted remotely by video conference.

Please note that, while we generally expect interns to work in our offices in New York, our staff is currently working remotely, and we do not know when we will return to our offices full-time. If we do open our offices before this internship begins, we’ll do our best to accommodate the needs of any interns to work remotely.