Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow

Appellate · Washington, District of Columbia
Department Appellate
Employment Type Full-Time
Compensation Starting @ $54,756 entry level

The Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia, D.C.’s oldest and largest general civil legal services program, seeks a highly qualified candidate for its Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow. The one-year fellowship, made possible through the generous support of Sidley Austin LLP, will begin Fall 2021.


Since 1932, Legal Aid has provided civil legal assistance to clients in individual cases and engaged in systemic reform. Currently, we provide individual representation in domestic violence/family law, housing, public benefits, consumer law and appellate matters. We also work on immigration matters and help individuals with the collateral consequences of their involvement with the criminal justice system. From the experiences of our clients, we identify opportunities for law reform, public policy advocacy, and systemic impact and appellate litigation.


Legal Aid’s nationally-recognized Barbara McDowell Appellate Advocacy Project, which will house the fellow, has been called a “model of excellence” by the National Legal Aid and Defender Association. Named after its first Director, a renown appellate and U.S. Supreme Court advocate, the Project litigates precedent-setting appeals on behalf of Legal Aid clients and files “friend of the court” briefs in cases involving matters of importance to people living in poverty. Beyond litigation, the Project provides appellate instruction, consultation, and advice to the larger D.C. legal services community. Although most of the Project’s work involves cases before the District’s highest court – the D.C. Court of Appeals – the Project also gets involved in administrative appeals and cases before the D.C. Superior Court and the federal courts. For more information about Legal Aid and the Appellate Advocacy Project, please visit our website, www.legalaiddc.org, and our blog, www.MakingJusticeReal.Org.


The Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow will be responsible for conducting legal research and writing; drafting legal and factual memoranda and briefs; conducting applicant and client interviews and meetings; reviewing and analyzing court filings and records; assisting with the maintenance of Legal Aid’s appellate case files, records, and dockets; engaging in oral advocacy, as appropriate; supervising a legal intern; and other tasks as assigned by the Appellate Project Director, the Legal Director, or the Executive Director.


Ideal applicants are recent law school graduates or individuals who have completed a judicial clerkship or will have completed a clerkship by the fall of 2021. The successful candidate will also have the following:


  • Exceptional legal research and writing skills;
  • Strong litigation, organizational, communication, and leadership skills;
  • An ability to multitask, juggle, and complete assignments, and meet deadlines;
  • A demonstrated commitment to social, economic, and racial justice;
  • An ability to work with Legal Aid’s diverse client community; and
  • Proficiency or fluency in Spanish or another language a plus.


Membership or eligibility for membership in the D.C. Bar is required.


Legal Aid values an inclusive, diverse workplace and does not unlawfully discriminate on any basis prohibited by law. Legal Aid encourages applications from interested persons from diverse backgrounds of any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical or mental disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, personal appearance, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, or any other legally protected status. We strongly encourage applications from people with personal experience with the criminal justice system and/or with lived experiences in the communities we serve.


Salary and Benefits


The Sidley Austin Appellate Advocacy Fellow will be paid in accordance with Legal Aid’s attorney salary scale, with a starting salary of $54,756 for an entry-level attorney who has just passed the bar. Legal Aid offers a competitive benefits package.


To Apply


Interested persons are encouraged to apply immediately and should submit a letter of interest (limited to 250 words), writing sample, resume, and list of references. Because only two files may be uploaded, if possible, please combine documents, i.e. upload a single file including your cover letter and resume and a second file including your writing sample and references.  Applications will be reviewed as they are submitted. Position remains open until filled.

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  • Location
    Washington, District of Columbia
  • Department
    Appellate
  • Employment Type
    Full-Time
  • Compensation
    Starting @ $54,756 entry level