NOTE: Applications for the 2020 Summer Legal Internship have closed. Please check back in fall 2020 for application information on the 2021 Summer Legal Internship.


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. 

Established in 2016, the Institute has an active litigation docket that includes cutting-edge cases relating to government 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, the First Amendment and inequality, and whistleblowers and national-security journalism. Over the next several years, the Institute will tackle a wide range of issues including net neutrality, the free-speech implications of private surveillance, the free-press implications of technology companies’ terms of service, intermediary liability, the right of journalists to protect their sources, the right of citizens to record and broadcast police activity, encryption, and machine speech.

Summer Legal Internship 

The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University is looking for legal interns for the summer of 2020. We want 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. 

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, including the exploration of new lawsuits, the research and analysis of legal questions, the development of litigation strategy, and the drafting of factual and legal memoranda, affidavits, and briefs.


The summer legal internship is open to 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, and have a deep commitment to the freedoms of speech and the press.

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

Application Process

Send the following to Please include "Summer Legal Internship" in the subject line of your email: 

  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)
  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 15, 2019. 1Ls should submit their applications by January 10, 2020. We’ll pay a modest stipend to students who don’t receive outside funding or course credit.