February 9, 2012
Last summer, Dan Saver worked with the ACLU Center for Democracy in New York City. Dan was mostly responsible for memoranda and brief write-ups in anticipation for litigation. He concedes that while the legal research and writing may be tedious at times, the material is incredibly interesting and these crafts are the substance of impact litigation. Dan described the ACLU as “an amazing litigation shop” and advised that for anyone debating between international and domestic work the Center for Democracy, in particular, provides a great platform to work on both.
Dan’s experience at Harvard Law has been comprehensively focused on human rights. Dan works with the Human Rights Journal and Human Rights Advocates. He even admits that, in previous years, his life revolved around Human Rights Clinic. His transcript also reflects this as he has scoured the course listings for anything human rights related. While in these experiences he worked most often on international issues, he decided that he wanted to give domestic impact litigation at the ACLU a shot. Fortunately he found an opportunity with the Center for Democracy at the ACLU to work on issues both domestic and international, and at one point even ventured into intricacies of Spanish civil law. In his summer work he did, however, miss the close human interaction that comes with working with the clients that his work affects.
As the national legal office, the ACLU office in downtown Manhattan is huge. Dan creatively classified the office as a mix between “a large professional firm and a funky NGO.” Dan recounted that the group of exciting interns from law schools all over the country are placed together in the “intern den” which makes for a comfortable work and social space. Priding themselves on the principle of freedom of expression, the staff imposes no dress code.
From his depiction it is clear that the passionate interns worked for a pool of attorneys who have incredibly diverse litigation experience from corporate law firms to government, and other public interest work. Since Dan worked with the Center for Democracy, which is one of the larger projects at the ACLU, he was able to have close contact with a greater number of attorneys. He does advise, however, that it takes much personal initiative to get meaningful interaction with the attorneys in light of how thinly spread and busy they are. The more outgoing you are, the more fulfilling summer you’ll have.
Dan recommends the national headquarters of the ACLU as the best place to be for anyone interested in impact litigation. He strongly believes that, “Every single case is important, complex and presents interesting legal questions.”
Written by OPIA 1L Section Representative Daniel Balmori