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For UNC Center for Civil Rights

UNC Center for Civil Rights

Non-Profit/Issue Based

Fall; Spring; Summer; 12 Credit; 6 Credit

Community Advocacy; Factual Investigation; Interviewing; Legal Research & Analysis; Oral Advocacy; Writing for Litigation

Work Description

DESCRIPTION OF ORGANIZATION:  The UNC Center for Civil Rights is committed to the advancement of civil rights and social justice, especially in the American South.  Our mission is three-fold – to sponsor research, to train law students and to serve the community through direct representation of clients.  The Center is involved in legal advocacy and policy initiatives designed to protect civil rights and advance the law.

DESCRIPTION OF STUDENT WORK/PROJECTS:   The Center’s work focuses on education, economic justice, housing and community development and voting rights.  Externs are directly involved in one or more projects during the semester, depending on case needs and their own interests.  Assignments regularly include conducting factual and legal research, writing memos and briefs, making presentations, attending hearings, preparing policy analyses and providing general office support.  Less frequent assignments include interviewing clients and witnesses or helping strategize cases. Office hours are Monday through Friday 9:00am to 5:00pm with occasional opportunities to participate in evening or weekend activities.

COURSE OR OTHER REQUIREMENTS/PREFERENCES FOR STUDENT:  Externs should be self-starters with a commitment to social justice.  The Center can host two students per semester.        


            DESCRIPTION OF EXTERNSHIP:   The Center’s work focuses broadly on civil rights and social justice and includes education, economic inequity, housing, environmental justice, access to public services, and voting rights.  Our mission is three-fold – to serve the community through direct representation of clients, to promote research, public policy, and community education, and  to train law students on becoming the next generation of civil rights advocates.  The Center is involved in a number of lawsuits, community advocacy projects, and policy initiatives designed to protect civil rights and advance the law.


The extern will work under the direct supervision of the Center’s Managing Attorney Mark Dorosin, Senior Attorney Elizabeth Haddix and Director of Students Jennifer Marsh, and will be directly involved in several projects during the semester, depending on case needs and strategic priorities.  The extern will interview clients and witnesses, conduct factual and legal research, help develop and implement case management strategy, write memos and briefs, make presentations, and attend hearings or prepare policy analyses.  The extern will be fully integrated into the programmatic operations of the Center.  The extern may be able to take on additional responsibilities under the third-year practice rule.


The extern must have a strong commitment to civil rights and social justice work, excellent verbal and written communications skills, be self-directed, have the ability to manage multiple assignments simultaneously and work with people from diverse backgrounds.  The extern will be expected to travel (with staff) to our client communities across the state.  


Potential Docket-Fall 2014:


There are a range of matters on the docket for the fall.  While the specific priorities are impossible to predict, here are a few matters we anticipate the extern will be working on with the staff attorneys:

·         Preliminary investigation on potential school segregation cases

o   Interviewing parents, students, and community advocates

o   Investigating, researching, and analyzing potential claims

o   Pre-discovery evidence gathering (reviewing school demographic data and other statistical metrics)

·         Detailed research and reporting on community exclusion and its impacts in identified counties and communities, looking variously at environmental justice, education, housing, infrastructure, and political exclusion

·         Analysis of charter school impacts on educational equity and access in rural counties

·         Litigation related matters in ongoing environmental justice case

·         Review and monitoring of remediation efforts in securing communities’ access to public infrastructure

·         Assisting with appeal claims for victims of North Carolina’s eugenics program

·         Voter outreach and education in client communities

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106 | Accessibility

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