We do not have hard deadlines for our legal internships and consider applicants on a rolling basis. We are now accepting applications for Fall 2024 and Summer 2025.


Founded in 1935, American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa (ACLU of Iowa), is the nation’s fifth-oldest state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU of Iowa is a non-profit membership organization that promotes and defends the values reflected in the Bill of Rights and Article I of the Iowa Constitution through public advocacy and outreach, lobbying, and litigation.

Our cases generally involve a legally or culturally significant challenge to governmental actions, practices, laws or polices restricting individual rights. Often, our cases involve free speech, religious freedom, equality, due process, personal privacy and autonomy.  Given the wide reach of the Bill of Rights, the ACLU of Iowa consistently works with a diverse range of individuals and groups, including pro-life, pro-choice, religious, public service, minority, and media groups.

Most notably, the ACLU of Iowa successfully defended the free speech rights of students in the United State Supreme Court case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District.


If you are an attorney licensed to practice law or a law student, and are interested in volunteering with the ACLU, contact Legal Director Rita Bettis Austen to discuss possible volunteer oppotunities: rita.bettis@aclu-ia.org.


Interns will have the opportunity to work with the legal director and staff of the ACLU of Iowa legal program on a range of significant issues and projects.  Our internships require an 8- to 13-week commitment, depending on whether the internship is semester-based or during the summer. The summer internship is more competitive, and 2Ls are preferred. This position is part-time with weekly hours negotiable during the school year. The expectation is that the summer intern will work approximately full time, but exceptions will be made as appropriate and needed. School-year interns are typically required to obtain approval and/or funding from their school, as the internship is unpaid. Arrangements can be made for course credit, if approved by the school. Interns will be provided with parking.


Interns will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience by working with the legal program staff on a wide variety of issues. They will potentially learn to assist on all aspects of litigation and legal advocacy, including:

  • Screening potential cases and providing assistance to potential clients
  • Researching and/or drafting materials for litigation, legal advocacy, or public education
  • Other projects as assigned


This internship is open to all law students who have completed at least one year of law school, although 2Ls are preferred for summer internships. Students should possess the following:

  • Excellent research, writing, analytical and communication skills
  • Strong computer skills, particularly web-based research including proficiency with Microsoft Office
  • The ability to work with a wide range of people
  • The initiative to see projects through to completion
  • An interest in advocating for civil liberties


Please send a cover letter, resume, and legal writing sample. Email is the preferred method, with a subject line specifying “Legal Internship.” Send to rita.bettis@aclu-ia.org

Or mail the materials to:

Attn: Legal Internship
ACLU of Iowa
505 5th Avenue, Suite 808
Des Moines, IA 50309

Questions? Call 515-243-3988