Applications from law students interested in summer internships at NILC are usually accepted in the fall and winter prior to the internship summer, e.g., apply in Fall 2022 or early 2023 for a Summer 2023 internship. Internship positions will be listed on the Work at NILC webpage when the application period begins. Applications from graduate and undergraduate college students interested in internships generally are accepted under a similar process, but such internships generally are not recurring opportunities, as our law student internships are.

Law Student Internship Opportunities (Los Angeles or Washington, DC Offices)


The National Immigration Law Center is exclusively dedicated to defending and advancing the rights and opportunities of low-income immigrants and their families. Our mission is grounded in the belief that all people should have the opportunity to fulfill their full potential regardless of their color, where they were born, or how much money they have. Using our deep expertise in litigation, policy advocacy, and communications, we address issues that affect the lives of low-income immigrants and work with communities across the nation, in courtrooms, and in legislatures to help advance policies that create a more inclusive, just, and equitable society for everyone. Find out more at


NILC encourages applications from law students to work as summer law clerks in our Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. offices on projects benefiting low-income immigrants in one of NILC’s priority areas: ensuring that immigrants have fair and equal access to education, health care, driver licenses, and other economic supports; defending the freedom to work, under safe conditions, with adequate pay, and without retaliation; fighting for access and fairness in immigration entry and sponsorship processes; defending immigrants threatened with loss of immigration status, detention, or deportation; and building power and pro-immigrant momentum through federal and state policy gains and narrative change. NILC’s recent work has focused on litigation against the termination of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); litigation to challenge the government’s conduct of a Trump-era worksite immigration raid; and advocating for legislative and administrative policies to protect low-income immigrants and their families, including advocacy around the government’s proposed regulatory changes to “public charge.”

Summer internships are full-time, for a minimum of 10 weeks. NILC also considers applications for full- and part-time externships during the academic year.  We prefer the school year externship duration to be at least 6 to 10 weeks, with a minimum of 12 hours per week, though a 10-hour weekly commitment will be considered. There is no monetary compensation for school year externships, but academic credit may be available, depending on the school or institution where the student is enrolled.

NILC provides a rich environment for law student interns to learn about the immigrant rights movement and to work alongside attorneys and policy analysts involved in national policy analysis, impact litigation, community education, and advocacy.


Applications will be accepted from law students interested in working in our Los Angeles or Washington, D.C. offices (when the office re-opens; during the pandemic, all work is remote). Applications consist of a cover letter, résumé, brief legal writing sample, and list of three references.

The application period for summer law clerks begins Oct. 1.  Applications from 1Ls will be considered beginning Dec. 1.  Interested students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, but no later than Jan. 31.  Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

When the application period is open, applications should be made through the “Work at NILC” webpage.

NILC is an equal opportunity employer. People of color and individuals from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to apply. NILC does not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, ethnic background, religion, political orientation, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, disability, or any other protected class. We consider all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the Los Angeles Fair Chance Initiative.

First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship


The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law (Lawyers’ Committee) launched the First Generation Civil Rights Fellowship (FirstGEN) program during the summer of 2013, to coincide with the Lawyers’ Committee’s fiftieth anniversary. Shortly after, the Washington, DC, office of the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) and the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC) agreed to become FirstGEN partnering organizations. Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAJC) became the fourth FirstGEN partner organization in 2015.

FirstGEN is a ten-week summer program for undergraduate students who are the first in their immediate families to attend an institution of higher education and who are passionate about pursuing careers in social justice. Fellows gain hands-on experience working on civil rights matters as full-time public policy and social justice interns, while also participating in a parallel training program. FirstGEN creates a greater community of advocates by linking emerging leaders with existing ones and by creating a FirstGEN alumni network. Each fellow receives a $1,500 stipend.

FirstGEN is a Lawyers’ Committee, NILC, CLINIC, and AAJC collaborative program, with the Lawyers’ Committee serving as program lead. The press release announcing the Lawyers’ Committee, NILC and CLINIC FirstGEN partnership is available here, and a PDF version of FirstGEN’s program overview is available here.

For more information about FirstGEN Fellows, visit, follow FirstGEN on Twitter and Instagram, and like FirstGEN on Facebook.


To identify, support and advance emerging first-generation social justice leaders.

Application available at