Motley Fellowship


EJS 2018 Judge Constance Baker Motley Civil Rights Fellowship

Update 08/16/2018: We have reopened the search for this position. The new application deadline is October 15, 2018.

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Equal Justice Society is seeking committed civil rights advocates to apply for its 2018-2020 Judge Constance Baker Motley Civil Rights Fellowship, named after the first African American woman to serve on the federal bench.

Equal Justice Society’s Mission and Work

Equal Justice Society (“EJS”) is transforming the nation’s consciousness on race through law, social science, and the arts. A national legal organization focused on restoring constitutional safeguards against discrimination, EJS’s goal is to help achieve a society where race is no longer a barrier to opportunity. Specifically, EJS is working to fully restore the constitutional protections of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause, which guarantees all citizens receive equal treatment under the law. As heirs of the innovative legal and political strategists of Brown v. Board of Education, EJS broadly models its programmatic efforts after the late Honorable Constance Baker Motley and the Brown litigation team. Much like the legal advocates in Brown, we collaborate with an array of social scientists and legal scholars to help us put forth legal arguments regarding implicit bias and structural racism. Our legal strategy aims to broaden conceptions of present-day discrimination to include implicit and structural bias by using cognitive science, structural analysis, and real-life experience. We use a three-pronged approach to accomplish these goals, combining legal advocacy, outreach and coalition building, and education through effective messaging and communication strategies. Currently, EJS targets its advocacy efforts on school discipline, special education, the school-to-prison pipeline, transportation, and inequities in the criminal justice system.


Applicants should demonstrate experience in civil rights advocacy and a commitment to racial and social justice. A strong background in legal research and writing is essential, as the Fellow will be an active member of the Legal Team and participate in the development and execution of our legal strategy. Additionally, the Fellow will interact with other departments and think strategically about how their work can enhance our legal strategy.

Applicants for the 18-month, paid fellowship should be recent law school graduates with no more than five years of work experience after law school. Admission to the California Bar is required. The position is based in our Oakland office and runs from Fall 2018 to mid-2020, with some flexibility in dates.


Annual salary of $55,000-$57,000, plus benefits, which include medical and ancillary benefits (dental, vision, professional development, and payment of bar dues).

Application Instructions

Please email (1) cover letter, (2) resume, (3) writing sample (a legal memorandum that is no more than 15 pages – we prefer drafts that have not been heavily edited), and (4) a list of three references (including past supervisors of your work) to with “Motley Fellowship Application” in the subject line.

Applications must be received in our office by October 15, 2018. We will be reviewing applications on a rolling basis, so early applications are encouraged.

EJS is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all individuals including women, people of color, low-income persons, individuals with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.

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Elizabeth J. Cabraser’s generous gift is helping the Equal Justice Society reactivate its Judge Constance Baker Motley Civil Rights Fellowship. Ms. Cabraser, who funded the 2001 conference that led to the founding of EJS, pledged to fund the fellowship for five years.

“Our deep and profound gratitude to Elizabeth Cabraser for her funding of the Motley Fellowship,” said EJS President Eva Paterson. “Liz’s incredibly generous donation means that EJS can play an even stronger role in fighting back against the growing oppression and cruelty that are threatening the fabric of our country and indeed the world. Thank you so much.”

EJS established the Judge Constance Baker Motley Civil Rights Fellowship in 2006 to nurture the talents of a new generation of progressive lawyers to transform anti-discrimination law and policy.

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