The Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), founded in 1974, is a New York-based national organization that protects and promotes the civil rights of Asian Americans through litigation, legal advocacy, and community education. For more information about AALDEF and the community lawyering model we use for social change, please visit our website at

AALDEF program areas include:

  • Anti-Asian Violence – Addresses current rise in violence against Asians by connecting lessons learned from post-9/11 increased surveillance and law enforcement policies. Counters racial profiling and criminal legal policies creating school to prison to deportation pipeline.
  • Economic Justice – Advanced the rights of workers in low-wage industries, including home health case, massage work, sex work, nail salons, and restaurants.
  • Educational Equity – Supports race-conscious admissions policies in higher education and fair and equitable education policies for communities of color and English Language Learners in K-12.
  • Housing & Environmental Justice – Fights displacement in low-income Asian immigrant communities through zoning and land use policy and litigation.
  • Immigrant Justice – Counters impact of post-9/11 immigration and law enforcement policies, deportations in the Southeast Asian community, and unconstitutional ICE apprehensions/detentions. Supports deferred action policies for undocumented youth and addresses humanitarian visa issues.
  • Voting Rights/Democracy– Challenges voter suppression measures, discriminatory redistricting, denials of language access, and other voting rights and equal protection issues through litigation under the Voting Rights Act. Conducts election protection through exit polling and poll monitoring.

Spring Internship Program Description: Internships usually commence with the start of classes (end of January) through late April or early May. Interns will work between 8 to 25 hours per week with a hybrid in-office/remote work policy. Interns, supervised by attorneys in various program areas, will receive training and education on legal skills in civil rights issues. Interns may work on litigation, legal and policy advocacy, legal services, legal research and writing, community outreach and education, and/or client intakes. Each program area differs in emphasis. The position is unpaid, but many interns have successfully secured independent funding. Academic credit can be arranged.

To Apply:

  • Interested applicants should email a cover letter, resume, and writing sample as a single PDF document to AALDEF. Please indicate in your cover letter the preferred program area(s) and number of hours available per week. Only law students qualify for AALDEF’s legal internships. Applications may be emailed to: with Subject Line: Spring Legal Internship Search.
  • Any bilingual ability should be stated in the application. Bangla, Chinese (Mandarin or Cantonese), Gujarati, Hindi, Khmer, Korean, Urdu, and Vietnamese-speaking skills are a plus, but not required.
  • Students are encouraged to submit applications as early as possible, as decisions are made on a rolling basis. Only applicants with interviews will be notified of their advancement in the application process.

For more information, contact