LAC is a non-profit law and policy organization that specializes in fighting discrimination against and protecting the rights of people with substance use disorders, HIV/AIDS, or criminal records.

New York

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks candidates for collaboration on Equal Justice Works (EJW), Skadden, and other public interest fellowship applications to work in LAC’s New York City office beginning fall 2018.

LAC is a non-profit law and policy organization whose mission is to fight discrimination against, and protect the privacy of, individuals with criminal records, substance use disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS.  Through its New York City headquarters and Washington, D.C. office, LAC uses a multi-faceted approach to effectuate its mission, including impact litigation, legal services, education, and policy analysis and advocacy.

LAC is particularly interested in candidates who want to collaborate on a project to implement and expand New York State’s new sealing law, Criminal Procedure Law 160.59.  Starting in October 2017, for the first time, potentially hundreds of thousands of people may be able to seal certain New York criminal convictions.  For people whose records are sealed, the payoff will be transformative.  Despite LAC’s significant progress advocating for legislation and policies to fight discrimination against people with records, discrimination continues to be pervasive.  With this new opportunity to eliminate a criminal record, more people will be able to apply for jobs, occupational licenses, housing, and other opportunities without the stigma of a criminal record and with much greater chance of success.

But to achieve its maximum impact, the recent sealing law requires work by advocates.  A fellowship project would greatly expand access to sealing through the following:

  • Outreach and creation of educational materials so people know they are eligible and understand the process. Eligibility requires having no more than two convictions meeting certain other requirements.
  • Representation in hearings and appeals. This law requires hearings before the sentencing judge if the application is opposed by the District Attorney’s office. Representation in these hearings and selective appeals will be crucial for increasing access to sealing and creating strong precedent under this brand new law.
  • Advocacy for a broader, more accessible sealing law. This law applies to only a small fraction of people with criminal records, and the application process may make it hard for people without legal representation to access sealing.   A fellow may engage in advocacy for broader and more accessible sealing legislation.

Application Instructions:  Submit a cover letter explaining your interest in this project, resume and writing sample to Kate Wagner-Goldstein, [email protected]. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

The Legal Action Center (LAC) is seeking applications from second and third year law students for our part-time Semester Legal Internship program. LAC’s Legal Interns work with our attorneys and policy staff to assist with impact litigation, direct client services, and policy advocacy on behalf of individuals with substance use disorders, criminal records, and/or HIV/AIDS. Much of LAC’s work is undertaken in the areas of employment discrimination, health care access, health privacy, disability and other civil rights law, and the administration of the criminal justice system. Excellent research and writing skills are required.

ABOUT THE LEGAL ACTION CENTER: The Legal Action Center is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, and/or criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas. For four decades, LAC has worked to combat the stigma and prejudice that keep these individuals out of the mainstream of society. The Legal Action Center is committed to helping people reclaim their lives, maintain their dignity, and participate fully in society as productive, responsible citizens.

LAC works to reduce substance use disorders by conducting policy advocacy to expand and improve treatment and prevention, providing legal assistance to people in recovery or still suffering from addiction, and working with programs that serve them to fight discrimination and violations of privacy. LAC works to prevent HIV/AIDS and protect those living with HIV/AIDS by providing legal assistance to people with HIV/AIDS and programs that serve them, and advocating for expanded prevention, care and other services. LAC helps improve the criminal justice system by helping qualified people with criminal records to obtain employment and services needed to re-enter society successfully, assisting programs that work with them, and conducting public policy advocacy and research to reform sentencing laws, expand community corrections, and promote other sound policies.

JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES: Working with staff at LAC’s New York City office, Legal Interns assist attorneys and policy staff with the broad array of work LAC performs, including:

  • legal research and writing for impact litigation and client advocacy;
  • research and writing for public policy advocacy;
  • working directly with clients and prospective clients by conducting intakes, providing information to individuals seeking to overcome barriers based on their criminal histories, and drafting client advocacy documents; and
  • drafting position papers, legislation, and other policy documents.

QUALIFICATIONS: Excellent analytic and writing skills required. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer.

TIME COMMITMENT: At least 10-15 hours per week for at least 10 weeks. Full-time positions are also available. If an intern is available to work more hours each week or for more than 10 weeks, there may be more opportunities to increase the level of responsibility and range of work.

SALARY: If a student will not be receiving external funding or course credit for the internship, the Legal Action Center will pay the student an hourly rate.

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to the Legal Action Center, Attention: Legal Intern Coordinator, 225 Varick St., Suite 402, New York, NY 10014; fax: (212) 675-0286; email: [email protected], with subject line “Legal Internship.”

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks interns for its New York City headquarters to work on projects related to fighting discrimination against people with histories of addiction and/or criminal justice involvement and increasing access to services.

About the Organization: LAC is a private, not-for-profit law and policy organization, with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.  LAC is the only organization in the country whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with criminal records, drug or alcohol histories, and/or HIV/AIDS. LAC is a national leader in fighting mass incarceration by expanding alternatives to incarceration, seeking to connect individuals in the criminal justice system to health care services and reducing barriers to reentry in employment, housing and higher education.

Job duties: Interns will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of public policy and client-related projects, which may include:

  • Researching and writing about policies and programs that impact people in the criminal justice system in New York City, New York State and federally;
  • Helping to build coalitions to maintain strong privacy protections for substance use disorder treatment records and to advocate for policies that reduce barriers to housing for people with criminal justice histories;
  • Helping to organize a conference about increasing access to medication-assisted treatment in jails and prisons;
  • Screening calls from clients who have faced discrimination;
  • Supporting the agency’s external communications efforts.


  • Current college student or equivalent experienced required;
  • Strong research, analytic, writing, and verbal communication skills;
  • Ability to attend meetings and take notes;
  • Experience designing websites a plus;
  • Bilingual ability in English and Spanish preferred.


Please e-mail a resume and brief cover letter (no calls) to [email protected] and write “New York State Intern” in the subject line. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer. We encourage applications from our constituencies.

Time Commitment

Minimum 10 hours per week for 8 weeks, but up to full-time for the entire summer.  The greater the time commitment, the more responsibility the intern can take on.

Washington, D.C.

Position Announcement: Policy Associate 

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks a Policy Associate in its Washington, D.C. office to work on a variety of projects primarily related to criminal justice reform. This position will focus on eliminating discriminatory federal and state policies facing people who have been involved in the criminal justice system.

About the Organization 

LAC is a private, not-for-profit law and policy organization with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C. LAC is the only organization in the country whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against and protect the privacy of people living with criminal records, drug or alcohol histories, and/or HIV/AIDS. LAC’s multi-faceted approach involves direct legal services and impact litigation, technical assistance and training to agencies that serve our constituencies, and national, federal and state policy advocacy to create systemic changes. The Center’s National Helping Individuals with criminal records Reenter through Employment (HIRE) Network project was established in 2001 to increase the number and quality of job opportunities available to people with criminal records by improving employment policies and practices and changing public opinion. HIRE accomplishes these goals by: serving as a clearinghouse for information, providing leadership on public policy and advocacy, providing technical assistance and training on overcoming employment barriers based on a criminal record, and promoting collaboration between the workforce development, business, and criminal justice communities across the nation.

Job Responsibilities: 

The Policy Associate will focus primarily on federal policy advocacy and analysis of issues related to ending discrimination against people with criminal records and people with substance use disorder histories. Responsibilities will include:

  • Helping to develop and implement advocacy strategies with Congress and the Administration to eliminate legal and policy barriers against people with criminal histories.
  • Conducting policy research and analysis of federal and state laws and regulations.
  • Writing policy materials for Congress and advocates.
  • Participating in a number of coalitions on behalf of the Center.
  • Conducting educational presentations and trainings on various criminal justice reform issues; and
  • Serving as a liaison between state and federal criminal justice reform advocates.


  • Public policy experience (minimum 2 years), preferably in the area of criminal justice.  Graduate degrees in law or public policy preferred. A passion for advocacy to eliminate discriminatory policies facing people who have been involved in the criminal justice system is essential.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, advocacy, and analytic skills, including the ability to explain complex issues in clear, persuasive terms.
  • High level of organizational skills and ability to multi-task.
  • Strong networking skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships with individuals, organizations and government agencies and well as to work with diverse groups of people.
  • Desire and ability to work both independently and collaboratively in a small (5-6 people), busy office.
  • Willingness to travel.


Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits, including medical insurance, 403(b) plan with employer contribution, and pre-tax flexible benefits. 


Please e-mail a resume and brief cover letter (no calls) to [email protected] and write Policy Associate in the subject line.  Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but please apply as soon as possible.  Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer. Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly urged to apply.

October 19, 2016

Legal Internship

The Legal Action Center (LAC) is hiring law students for both the fall and spring semesters in our Washington, D.C. office.  The internship would be for 10-12 weeks.  Applicants may elect to receive a salary or academic credit for their work.

LAC’s D.C. office advocates with Congress, federal administrative agencies and state policy-makers to end discrimination against people with histories of addiction; to expand funding and coverage for substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and research through all forms of health care financing; and to eliminate barriers to re-entry for people with criminal records. LAC’s DC office collaborates with organizations around the country and national coalitions to achieve its goals.

JOB DESCRIPTON AND DUTIES:  The legal intern will research, track, and analyze federal legislation and policy related to private and public health insurance and criminal justice initiatives affecting persons with addiction histories; attend Congressional hearings and briefings; conduct legal research on health care coverage and insurance discrimination; and assist in other ongoing projects related to both state and federal advocacy work.  Excellent research and writing skills are required. Past interns have included law students interested in policy development and advocacy and the substantive issues at the core of LAC’s work.

The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer. Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly urged to apply.

More information about LAC and our National HIRE Network, which focuses on expanding employment opportunities for people with criminal records, can be found on our websites, and, or by contacting Sherie V. Boyd, D.C. Office Manager at [email protected].

To apply, please send your resume and a cover letter explaining your interest in LAC’s work and relevant experience to Ms. Boyd at [email protected]. Please identify whether you are applying for the fall or spring semester.

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