William Lee “Bill” Grimm, Senior Director at the National Center for Youth Law, was a public impact attorney who worked for 43 years transforming and redeeming some of the most troubled child welfare systems in America. To honor him and his powerful legacy, in partnership with his family and friends, we have created the Bill Grimm Memorial Summer Clerk Program. Read more about Bill here.
NCYL seeks law students to support its various teams during summer 2024. Under the mentorship of supervising legal or policy staff, summer clerks will work on projects impacting low-income children and youth. This position is a remote opportunity. As summer 2024 approaches, NCYL will continue to evaluate whether clerks will have the ability to complete any portion of the program in person.
The National Center for Youth Law is committed to hosting clerks who reflect the racial and cultural diversity of our clients. Students of color, those who will increase the cultural diversity of NCYL, and those with personal experience in our practice areas are strongly encouraged to apply.
The following teams will be hosting summer law clerks in 2024:
Mental Health—1 clerk
The Mental Health team works to support the belief that adequate and appropriate mental health care supports and services are just as vital to youth's healthy development as routine medical care is. While there is growing awareness that mental health is a critical component of whole-body health care, laws, policies and practices often fall far behind the curve. We engage in policy advocacy to expand mental health education and to normalize and improve access to quality mental health care in supportive school and community environments. And we build tools, resources, and trainings and engage in direct partnerships with health providers and professionals so they can understand the law and how to best serve children and youth. This clerkship will be primarily policy focused.
Child Welfare—1 clerk
The Child Welfare team employs litigation, policy, coalition building, technical assistance, and narrative strategies to support youth in being unconditionally safe, healthy, and thriving in all the complexity of their humanity. The team’s work contributes to the broader movement to reduce, stop, and mitigate the family policing system’s infliction of harm; support and amplify what communities are already doing to care for one another and address harm; and build what does not yet exist that our communities deserve. We litigate in partnership with, and on behalf of, youth to hold foster systems accountable and we explore new litigation theories that align with the broader movement. This clerkship will be primarily litigation focused.
Justice and Equity—3-4 clerks
The Justice and Equity team works to ensure that every young person has the opportunity to learn, grow and pursue the future they envision. We honor and cherish the potential of all children and youth, especially those of color and those with disabilities. Our team’s work seeks to end the school-to-prison pipeline and to end court fees and fines. Many children and youth appear in juvenile or municipal court due to school-based behaviors that should have been addressed by their schools without court involvement. Ending the criminalization of youth of color and youth with disabilities for normal childhood and adolescent school-based behaviors is necessary to ensure that all children and youth are truly safe. Once young people are involved in juvenile or municipal courts, they can be charged thousands of dollars in fees and fines, including costs for diversion programs, detention, probation supervision, and even a public defender. Because of targeted policing and over-surveillance of Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities, these youth are both overrepresented and over-punished in these courts. As a result, fees and fines perpetuate ongoing and long-lasting racial harm for youth of color and their families. This clerkship will be split between litigation and policy assignments.
Legal Advocacy—3 clerks
The Legal Advocacy team engages in impact litigation across all the issues on which NCYL works. The team brings systemic cases to improve systems that serve children and youth, often in collaboration with other public interest law firms and with support from pro bono partners. The Legal Advocacy Team seeks to develop new impact litigation on behalf of children and youth in a changing landscape characterized by increasing attacks on the civil rights of young people. The role will offer the opportunity to contribute to litigation in the areas of education, child welfare, health, mental health, reproductive equity, juvenile justice, and immigration. This clerkship will be primarily litigation focused.
Essential Functions of Summer Law Clerks include but are not limited to:
- Write legal and/or policy memoranda
- Assist in ongoing impact litigation efforts (e.g., reviewing discovery responses, drafting discovery requests, helping with deposition preparation, researching, and drafting motions or pleadings, and contributing to fact/case development by speaking with existing or potential plaintiffs, co-counsel, and/or community partners)
- Assist with administrative and legislative policy campaigns
- Participate in community partnership work
- Other support of ongoing impact litigation efforts
Qualifications for all Summer Law Clerk applicants:
- Rising second- or third-year law student as of the Summer of 2024
- Knowledge and understanding of and commitment to NCYL’s mission
- Demonstrated understanding of and commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Belief that systemic racism exists
- At least one year of experience with and/or exposure to at least one of the following: communities of color; low-income communities; child- or youth-centered activities
- Demonstrated ability to work independently and complete multiple projects
- Excellent communication skills
- Ability to commit 37.5 hours per week for a minimum of 10 weeks between June and August 2024
NCYL will ensure summer clerks receive $7,500.00 to help with cost-of-living during the summer by supplementing funds clerks raise from their college, university, law school, or other sources. Clerks are expected to secure all funding for which they are eligible. NCYL will not provide supplemental funding for students who are receiving academic credit for their work at NCYL.
Note to colleges, universities and law schools: NCYL will not provide supplemental funding to students who fail to receive the same summer public interest funding available to students volunteering, interning or clerking at institutions that do not provide any summer funding.
How To Apply
Applications will be reviewed until the positions are filled or until January 12, 2024. Priority will be given to applications received before November 1, 2023. Applicants must submit the following:
- Resume (not including GPA)
- Cover letter describing your particular interest in working for NCYL (including any specific issue areas of interest) and understanding of NCYL’s mission
- Law school writing sample (5-7 pages) that demonstrates legal analytical skills
NCYL will not participate in regional or school-based career fairs taking place after the January 12 deadline if all clerk spots have been filled. All students are encouraged to apply as early as they are permitted to do so by their schools.
Applicants with lived experience within any of our practice areas, and Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, are strongly encouraged to apply.
It is the policy of NCYL to provide equal employment opportunities to all Applicants (including Employees) regardless of race, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, breastfeeding, national origin, age, abilities/disabilities, neurotypicality, socioeconomic status, veteran status, marital status, prior convictions, or any other protected classifications under federal, state, or local law.