Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law
I worked as a communications intern at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law‘s national headquarters in Washington, D.C. the summer after my junior year of college. I was selected as a Sharoky Fellow by the Hussman School of Media and Journalism, an award given to journalism students working in Washington, D.C.
As a communications intern, I worked closely on a small team to create engaging digital and print context for a variety of projects. My daily tasks included posting to the organization’s Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn pages, writing press releases and op-eds, and drafting statements regarding case updates across our litigation teams. I quickly learned how to clearly and concisely write about legal terms and jargon for both legal and non-legal audiences. Every morning, I conducted a clip search for any news related to the nonprofit, and I compiled these into weekly news update emails to send to donors. I also worked closely with the development team to craft fundraising appeals and curate monthly email updates.
My favorite moments of my internship occurred when I was on the ground helping to cover our involvement in national cases. In June, I was put in charge of the communications strategy surrounding the sixth anniversary of the pivotal voting rights case Shelby County, Alabama v. Holder. I created messaging toolkits that were distributed to our partner organizations, drafted several press releases and statements to mark the anniversary, and wrote blog posts to populate the Lawyers’ Committee’s website. On the day of the cases’ anniversary, our executive director, Kristen Clarke, was called to testify at a Congressional hearing to discuss current instances of voter suppression. I was given the opportunity to personally staff her during her testimony, in addition to covering a press conference prior to the official hearing.
Another summer highlight was helping to shape the messaging surrounding the Supreme Court’s decision not to add a question of citizenship to the 2020 census. The Lawyers’ Committee filed an amicus brief when the case moved to the Supreme Court, and in the weeks leading up to the decision, we worked closely with other civil rights organizations to coordinate uniform messaging. When the decision was finally released, I was at the Supreme Court to cover the moment on our social media channels and write about my experiences.
This internship taught me how to work with reporters to pitch a story, how to create compelling visual graphics, and how national legislation and litigation converge to create new policy. I was able to expand my writing to include press releases, statements and editorials, and I learned new ways to develop a digital advocacy campaign.