2019 Summer Internships

Columbia Legal Services - 2019 Summer Internships


Program Description

Columbia Legal Services represents communities facing poverty and oppression, and we use every legal tool available on their behalf. CLS has a special responsibility to serve people whose access to free legal services is restricted, due to institutionalization or immigration status. Through impact litigation, policy reform, and innovative partnerships, our staff works together to further our mission to achieve social and economic justice for all, and to reveal and end actions that harm the communities we serve. We share a deep commitment to serve and advocate alongside our clients as we seek justice together.

Our vision of justice: when people have the necessary tools and opportunity to achieve social and economic justice, a more equitable and inclusive society is possible. The ideal candidate for any position at Columbia Legal Services will be able to articulate their role in the achievement of that vision.

Positions Available

Externs and Interns are given the opportunity to participate in systemic advocacy on behalf of low-income people by engaging in legal research and writing, policy advocacy, and community outreach and education. Our internships are full-time and require a 10-12 week commitment. This summer, we will offer three internships:


The Institutions Project is seeking one law student intern or extern to assist with their litigation and policy advocacy. This position is unpaid and is generally self-supported through school credit, work-study, or through fellowships and public interest grants. Strong research and writing skills and interest in the criminal justice system are preferred. Institutions Project priorities include treatment of youth in the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems, conditions of confinement in Washington’s jails and prisons, and legal assistance for people reentering the community following incarceration.


The Laurel Rubin Farm Worker Justice internship is funded at $6,000 (expected—final amount TBD)for the summer, and requires fluency in English and Spanish. Laurel Rubin Interns support litigation and policy efforts to improve wages and work conditions in concert with farmworker groups engaged in self-organizing, and to address systemic civil rights issues for immigrants in farmworker communities. Interns will engage in investigation, legal research and writing and community outreach, primarily to labor camps.


The Peter Greenfield Senior Advocacy Internship is funded at $5,000 (expected—final amount TBD) for the summer by the Elder Law Section of the Washington State Bar Association and one of the three Washington law schools on a rotating basis. For 2019, this position is open to students at Gonzaga University School of Law. The Peter Greenfield Senior Advocacy Internship is intended as a way to increase awareness of, and interest in, the practice of elder law on behalf of low-income clients and to support systemic reform that was the hallmark of the work of Peter Greenfield, a former CLS attorney. This position offers the opportunity to advocate for low-income seniors through legal research and writing, community education, and other types of advocacy.

Application Process

Positions are open until filled, and we will conduct interviews on a rolling basis. We will accept applications until February 15th, with priority given to those submitted by December 15th. Applicants must:

  • Be committed to advancing systemic advocacy on behalf of low-income communities;
  • Have excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Be able to work independently and collaboratively;
  • Possess dependable computer skills in word processing and legal research.

If you are interested in one of these positions, send a cover letter, resume, a short writing sample and the completed Equity Statement to jobs@columbialegal.org or to:

Trisa Kern Director of Program Administration Columbia Legal Services
101 Yesler Way, Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98104

If submitted via mail, make 2019 Summer Internship your subject line.

Program Policy

Columbia Legal Services is committed to a policy of pluralism and equal opportunity in an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices for its client communities, Board and staff.  Pluralism refers to the active promotion of mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among people who are diverse in work background, experience, education, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religious preference, marital status, sexual orientation, sensory, mental and physical abilities, veteran status, or any other perceived differences.  The resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness. If you need a reasonable accommodation for the application process, contact us at 206-464-1122 or jobs@columbialegal.org.

Columbia Legal Services Equity Statement

Please choose and answer one (1) of the following statements:

Prompt #1: We would like to know more about your experience with equity, race and social justice. Please tell us about your experience engaging and working with diverse communities – particularly in the context of your professional, volunteer, or civic work. Please also address efforts you have made or been involved with to foster equity competence and understanding.

Prompt #2: What efforts have you made or been involved with to foster equity competence and understanding? What have you done to further your knowledge about equity? Have you included equity in your professional development? How have you demonstrated what you have learned?