2016 Application Package

The Bertha Fellowship is a two year fellowship for emerging lawyers (0-2 years out of law school) who are interested in gaining both practical experience working on CCR cases and a theoretical understanding of how legal advocacy can create social change. CCR will host four Bertha Fellows, starting in September 2016. This fellowship position requires a two-year commitment from September 2016 to September 2018.

The Fellows will be assigned to work alongside lawyers in one of our three docket areas: (1) Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative; (2) Government Misconduct/Racial Justice; and (3) International Human Rights.  During the course of the fellowship, there may also be opportunities to do work which straddles different dockets.

The Bertha Fellowship at CCR is sponsored by the Bertha Foundation which hosts emerging lawyers at several legal organizations across the world. In addition to gaining legal experience on CCR cases, Bertha Fellows at CCR will have opportunities to (1) attend regional and international meetings, (2) network with lawyers from around the world and (3) receive additional mentoring and non-traditional training such as leadership, media and advocacy, activism and movement building.


  • Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative (GGJI): GGJI attorneys are at the forefront in challenging extrajudicial detention, torture and abuse in Guantánamo and related domestic and international outposts of the executive branch’s “war on terror.”  GGJI attorneys challenge executive branch practices premised on expansive conceptions of wartime executive authority, as well as long-standing racism and xenophobia, including indefinite and preventive detention, military commissions, targeted killings and abusive interrogations. Representative work includes: Ba Odah v. Obama, Ameziane v. Obama, Tanvir v. Lynch, Hassan v. City of New York, Al-Aulaqi v. Panetta
  • International Human Rights (IHR): The IHR team focuses on litigation and advocacy in U.S. courts, foreign courts, and international fora to press the U.S. government, foreign government officials, corporations and other private actors to abide by international human rights and humanitarian law.  Their work also includes providing support to international human rights activists, including Palestinian Solidarity activists.  Representative work includes: Al-Shimari v. CACI, SMUG v. Lively, SNAP v. the Pope, Right to Heal, Davis v. Cox, Palestinian solidarity, Gaza Freedom Flotilla FOIA, Salaita v. Kennedy, Accountability for U.S. Torture Program under Universal Jurisdiction
  • Government Misconduct/Racial Justice (GMRJ): GMRJ attorneys develop creative litigation and advocacy projects in areas such as: racial justice; economic and social rights; the government’s criminalization of dissent; mass incarceration; immigrant justice; policing; national security; gender equality and LGBTQ rights. As well, BJI staff work with GMRJ attorneys around strategic support to the Movement for Black Lives in Ferguson and across the country.  Representative work includes: Floyd v. City of New York, United States v. Johnson, Aref v. Holder, Ashker v. Brown, Vulcan Society v. City of New York, Doe v. Jindal, DWN v. ICE, Law for Black Lives

For descriptions of our cases, issues or projects, please see


  • Work with staff attorneys in conceiving, developing and managing complex litigation that advances CCR’s organizational mission, including developing case theory, conducting factual and legal research, identifying appropriate clients, pursuing appropriate and strategic litigation opportunities and filing claims in domestic and international fora.
  • Work with staff attorneys in all aspects of litigation, including drafting pleadings, briefs, affidavits and correspondence; assist attorneys in their taking and defending depositions; assist attorneys in managing complex discovery, conducting negotiations with opposing counsel, appearing in court and examining witnesses; assist attorneys in negotiating, implementing and monitoring settlement agreements.
  • Work with staff attorneys and Advocacy Program managers in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies in support of CCR clients, cases and/or projects. Engage in public outreach and education efforts including drafting or reviewing of advocacy materials (such as reports, FAQs, Action Alerts), participation in legislative efforts, and public speaking.  Engage with community groups, cooperating attorneys, co-counsel, progressive lawyers, law students, legal groups and other allies as appropriate and directed by supervising attorneys.
  • Support all aspects of CCR communications department activity including, reviewing press materials, responding to press inquiries, appearing in various media interviews, timely opinion drafting, review and editing as appropriate.
  • Work with and supervise student interns and volunteers; where appropriate support work of pro bono or cooperating counsel assisting on CCR cases and projects.
  • Assist Development department in managing individual and foundation relationships, including development and review of grant proposals, participation in donor meetings, fundraising and donor appreciation activities, and periodic out-of-state travel for development trips and activities.
  • Participate in Bertha Network activities, including attendance at Bertha Network conferences abroad, publication of materials, including blogs for the Bertha Network.
  • Participate in departmental and organizational planning and organization-wide committees and carry out work assigned.
  • Obtain bar membership in New York and maintain good standing in New York and other state bars as appropriate, including fulfilling requirements for continuing legal education (CLE) and where necessary, security clearance.
  • Other related work as requested by the Legal Director.


  • J.D. degree as of start date.
  • 0-2 years out of law school.
  • Commitment to the mission and goals of CCR.
  • A demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.
  • Self-starter with excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Proven ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and human rights and creativity in crafting strategies to advance justice in CCR’s priority areas.
  • Commitment to working in and with communities affected by government misconduct and discrimination among other structures of institutional oppression.
  • Integrity and a sense of humor.
  • Willingness to travel.
  • Non-English language skills a plus.
  • Willingness and ability to apply for a security clearance (only required for GGJI docket).

COMPENSATION: Salary is commensurate with experience and subject to union collective bargaining agreement.  Excellent benefits.

HOW TO APPLY: Qualified candidates should visit to submit an online application.  Applicants may apply for a Bertha Fellowship in more than one docket area, but you must complete a separate application for each docket. Please be sure to tailor your application materials to the docket you are applying for. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and strong consideration will be given to early applications.  No phone calls please.

Applications are strongly encouraged from candidates reflecting diverse educational, cultural, and experiential backgrounds.  CCR is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and we encourage applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBT and gender non-conforming people.


The deadline for submission is October 16, 2015.

Recommendation letters are due by October 30, 2015.

Interviews for selected candidates will occur in November and December 2015.

We expect to make Fellowship offers by January 2016.

Start date will be September 2016.


1.       Resume

2.       Essay: (Maximum length: 1,000 words, double-spaced)

Effective essays will incorporate the following information:

a)         What unique background, beliefs, values and/or experiences (personal and professional) shaped your decision to go to law school and your interests in participating in the CCR Bertha Fellows program?

b)         Please describe your specific interest in our IHR, GGJI or GMRJ docket.

c)         How do you expect participation in the CCR Bertha Fellows program to contribute to your long-term personal and professional goals?

d)        What is your understanding of CCR’s goals and needs, and how do you see yourself contributing to our effectiveness? Describe how your education, experience, and skills match our needs and goals.

3.      Legal writing sample excerpt (not to exceed 10 pages) – At the top of your writing sample, provide a 2 sentence description of the writing sample.

4.      Two letters of recommendation submitted via email to

a.      Letters must be received by October 30, 2015 to be considered.

b.      Your recommender must put the following information in their e-mail subject line: “Fellow’s Last Name, First name – Docket Area – Letter of Recommendation”

5.      Names and contact information for three (3) references (two can be the same as the individuals who wrote your letter of recommendation).


Please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

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