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The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice (CHHIRJ) at Harvard Law School is working with Mayer Brown to offer legal internships associated with the firm’s Project Equity initiative that includes pro bono legal work focused on advancing racial and social justice in a variety of key areas of life, including voting, criminal justice, and housing. This arrangement reflects CHHIRJ’s commitment to offering students opportunities to build knowledge of and experience legal work happening at the contemporary frontiers of racial and social justice.

In Spring 2022, we are happy to offer students an opportunity to work remotely with Mayer Brown on ongoing voting rights litigation in Arizona and North Carolina. This litigation is challenging laws enacted and actions taken to make it harder for people of color to vote in these jurisdictions. Students would be involved in work that could include information and document review, research on legal standards and possible legal motions, and deposition preparation and observation. Students would work closely with Mayer Brown attorneys on one or more cases throughout the semester and would complete weekly journals and an independent 15-page research paper, both of which will be evaluated by faculty advisor Prof. Guy Charles.

If selected for an internship, students may earn academic credit through the HLS independent clinical program. This opportunity is available as a 2-credit option (8 hours/week, 96 hours/semester). Accepted students will need to complete the Independent Clinical Application no later than Wednesday, January 26, 2022 (https://hls.harvard.edu/dept/clinical/submitting-an-application/). Any questions regarding the independent clinical program may be directed to Liz Solar at esolar@law.harvard.edu. HLS directs the administration and granting of academic credit, and this opportunity does not involve employment with or compensation from Mayer Brown.

To apply, students should submit a (1) cover letter explaining their interest in working on voting rights cases and racial and social justice and any preference they have to work on one or both of the available projects, (2) resume, and (3) unofficial transcript no later than Friday, January 14, 2022 (midnight ET). Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis, so we recommend submitting as early as possible. Application materials should be sent to Prof. Guy Charles (gcharles@law.harvard.edu) and CHHIRJ Interim Managing Director Destiny Peery (dpeery@law.harvard.edu). We may conduct virtual interviews of candidates January 17 – January 21, 2022, with final selections made no later than Monday, January 24, 2022. We anticipate accepting 4 students for Spring 2022.

This opportunity is not eligible to students on F-1 visas.

 

The proposed projects are as follows:

Arizona Litigation

Litigation in federal court, brought on behalf of several organizational plaintiffs, alleging that laws enacted by the Arizona legislature in the wake of the 2020 election were designed to make it harder for Arizonans of color to vote in violation of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. See e.g., https://www.abc15.com/news/state/activists-to-fight-arizonas-new-election-law

  • Review of Publicly Available Information (20 hours). Review information in the public domain concerning SB 1485 and SB 1003 and highlight statements that go to the disproportionate impact of the laws on particular groups of voters, particularly voters of color.
  • Public Records Request Review (100 hours). Review materials received from officials concerning SB 1485, SB 1003, and other election-related laws; organize and summarize key documents; create chronologies.
  • Produced Documents Review (>100 hours). Review materials produced by defendants and third parties; organize and summarize key documents; create chronologies.
  • Research and Draft Memo re: PI standard (40 hours). Research standards for preliminary injunctions in 9th Circuit and in similar cases in other circuits; draft memo concerning possible motion for preliminary injunction.

North Carolina Litigation

Litigation in federal court in North Carolina relating to the forced dispersal of a peaceful and non-partisan march to a polling place on October 31, 2020. See https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/10/31/graham-nc-police-voter-march/

  • Preparation of detailed timeline of the events of October 31, based on materials produced in the litigation and publicly-available video. We anticipate that this would take 40-80 hours.
  • Data processing – we need the Defendants’ productions reviewed, coded, and categorized to help us prepare for depositions. One of the Defendants produced a significant volume of documents, so estimated time for completion is “however much time the students can allot.” A lot of it will be watching videos.
  • Deposition prep – We anticipate a very busy winter with depositions, and students can help with dep prep memos. For a law student, that should take anywhere from 3-6 hours per witness.
  • Sitting in on depositions – If the law students are interested, they are more than welcome to sit in (remotely) on depositions to observe. The deps are in NC, so in-person attendance will not be possible. Each dep will be between 3 and 8 hours.

Research discrete areas of law to include in a case proof outline for a potential plaintiff-side motion for summary judgment and/or trial brief.