The Institute for Free Speech’s First Amendment Fellowship allows recent law school graduates, judicial clerks, and mid-career attorneys the chance to gain practical experience litigating constitutional challenges. Fellows will work alongside the Institute’s attorneys to tackle all aspects of trial and appellate practice in cases challenging restrictions on Americans’ rights to freely speak, publish, assemble, and petition.

Fellowships are for one year, typically beginning each summer, and are intended to prepare attorneys for careers in constitutional advocacy. The fellowship is excellent preparation for a judicial clerkship, a career change, a public interest litigation career, academia, or private practice. It can also lead to a permanent position at the Institute for Free Speech.

Fellows are expected to work full time in our Washington, D.C. office, but other arrangements may be available to especially outstanding candidates.

A competitive salary and benefits are provided. Applicants should submit a cover letter, resume, law school transcript, three references, and a writing sample to Allen Dickerson, the Institute’s Legal Director, at Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

The Institute for Free Speech (IFS) seeks summer interns to aid our External Relations, Research, and Communications Departments.

Founded by former Federal Election Commission Chairman Bradley A. Smith as a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization, the Institute for Free Speech (formerly the Center for Competitive Politics) exists to inform the public through litigation, policy analysis, media outreach, and educational activities on the benefits of freedom and dynamism in the area of campaign finance and election law. We promote and defend the First Amendment political rights of speech, press, assembly, and petition and oppose McCain-Feingold style regulation of campaign funding and other restrictions that limit the ability of citizens to participate in the political process and support the candidates and causes of their choice.


Primarily, summer interns at the Institute for Free Speech will aid the External Relations Director and Research Director by:

  • Conducting original research and producing both short-term and long-term research products in the area of campaign finance and political speech regulation
  • Drafting short Issue Analyses on topical campaign finance issues
  • Authoring brief research critiques of publications released by the anti-speech community
  • Authoring occasional op-eds critiquing the claims of those who advocate for greater regulation of political speech
  • Blogging regularly on campaign finance and political speech issues with the guidance of an IFS supervisor
  • Watching and attending hearings on Capitol Hill and in state legislatures when necessary
  • Attending relevant policy and networking events at other organizations during office hours and infrequently after close of business

Summer interns at IFS will also aid the Communications Director by:

  • Helping compile stories for the Institute’s signature daily Media Update
  • Tracking media coverage of the Institute’s issues
  • Updating the Institute’s various distribution lists
  • Updating and maintaining the organization’s website on a daily basis


Qualified candidates should have an interest in political science or election law and in defending the First Amendment. The most qualified candidates will have completed at least two years of undergraduate study.

Prospective interns should also have the following skills and experience:  excellent writing skills, solid analytical ability and Internet research skills, familiarity with Microsoft Office applications including Outlook, Word, and Excel, a detail-oriented personality, strong initiative, demonstrated resourcefulness, and a willingness to take on a variety of assignment types — working both independently and as part of a team. Candidates should be politically aware (though no specific political preference is required).

Full-time interns may receive a stipend, as conditions and professional experience warrant. All interns will receive a full travel stipend via Metro.

Application Instructions

Qualified candidates should send the following to External Relations Director Matt Nese via e-mail in one combined PDF at

  • Cover letter indicating interest in the internship and available work dates
  • Current resume
  • Two writing samples reflecting solely the applicant’s own work (preferably about 5 pages in length each)
  • A quantitative research sample, if available (likely via an Excel spreadsheet or an economics or statistics paper)
  • Contact information for at least one professional or character reference
  • An unofficial transcript of all college-level classes

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis. A summer start date is flexible (preferably in early June).