Legal Compliance Fellowship

Legal · Washington DC or New York, New York
Department Legal
Employment Type Fellow
Minimum Experience Entry-level

The Organization and Role

About Access Now 

Access Now is an international human rights organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world, advocating for privacy, security, freedom of expression, and transparency. By combining technical support, policy engagement, global advocacy, grassroots grantmaking, legal interventions, and RightsCon convenings, we fight for human rights in the digital age. Our policy, advocacy, legal, technology, grants, and operations teams are present in Africa, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/North Africa (MENA), the Americas, and Asia, to provide global support to our mission. 

Access Now’s Legal Arm works to serve and guide the organization’s decision-making processes and policies, provide operational advice, engage in international legal interventions, and to ensure global compliance with local and foreign laws. The Legal Arm exists alongside a highly talented and dynamic group of lawyers, security experts, finance professionals, policy advocates, and technology specialists across the world. We commit to preserving and expanding civic space in the digital age. 

About this Fellowship

We are seeking a motivated law graduate/lawyer who is committed to assisting in legal compliance and operations for a one (1) year Fellowship. 

This is a great opportunity for a law graduate or lawyer/attorney looking to gain experience in the work of in-house counsel, including contracting, international business and sanctions law, employment law, legal risk management, data protection, compliance, and intellectual property. Working with outside counsel, and engaging in strategic legal advising, the Fellow will sit within the Legal Arm, while also being exposed to work on net neutrality, data rights, privacy, freedom of expression, digital security, cybersecurity, and human rights led by other arms of the organization.

The position will utilize the Fellow’s legal education and experience, and the Fellow will be provided appropriate training and supervision during the Fellowship to ensure growth and progress toward a career in law and technology.


The Fellow will work closely with and be supervised by Access Now’s Associate General Counsel, as well as our General Counsel.

What you will do

The Fellow can expect the following responsibilities, tasks, and experiences:

  • Draft legal documents for use by our Operations, Finance, Grants, Advocacy, Policy, and RightsCon (the world's leading summit on human rights in the digital age) teams.
  • Gain specialized knowledge at the crossroads of human rights, data privacy, and technology, informed by the perspective of civil society and activists across the globe.
  • Research and evaluate different legal risk factors relating to the organization’s global operations and compliance.
  • Monitor threats to civic space, including grassroots actors, and advise on countermeasures and best practices to prevent and mitigate risks.
  • Assist in the drafting and review of key contractual policies and procedures, including on employment/labor, non-disclosure and confidentiality, defamation, and other operational topics.
  • Research, write, and edit briefs, publications, and blog posts (with your name on them!).

Skills, education, and mindset you will bring

Access Now seeks a motivated, organized, and reliable law graduate/lawyer with an interest in digital rights and eager to work in a fast paced, global civil society organization. 

The role requires:

  • JD, LLM, or an equivalent advanced legal degree; 
  • Excellent spoken, expository, and persuasive legal research and writing skills, in English (at minimum); 
  • An affinity for contracts, compliance, and international legal work; and
  • Precise attention to detail.

Beyond the above, there is no comprehensive list of characteristics that we believe will be indicative of a successful candidate. Please use the list below as a guide for the experience and characteristics that best suit this role:

  • Passionate about Access Now’s mission of defending fundamental rights and freedoms, online as well as offline.
  • Experience with legal analysis, writing, and submissions in regional or international legal environments, especially in foreign and comparative law, and across civil and common law systems.
  • Understanding of international legal compliance, the international political system, and the internet, with the ability to identify emerging issues and employ legal mechanisms.
  • Strong management of competing and urgent tasks vs. long-term, sustained projects.
  • Excellent communicator, able to speak publicly to a room as well as privately with team members on- and off-line.
  • Deep respect for cultural identity – including gender identity, and linguistic and regional differences, and diversity – and how to support global teams.
  • Fluency in a language other than English.
  • Understanding of modern information and communications technologies.

The Details

Location, Duration, Commitment, and Compensation

  • Full-time commitment
  • One (1) year duration
  • Fellows are expected to secure external funding for the position.


At this time most Access Now Team Members are working through hybrid office arrangements, combining remote at-home work with intermittent use of offices and/or co-working spaces. The successful candidate must possess the right to work in the location in which they will be based. We are unable to sponsor visas or relocations for this role.

Application Requirements

To apply, please submit the following documents:

  • Résumé/CV;
  • Cover letter explaining your interest and qualifications for the position;
  • Two (2) references (only one (1) may be academic); and 
  • Two (2) writing samples (no more than ten (10) pages each).

Deadline: Rolling, until filled

Our hiring teams review applications submitted through our Career Openings page; email submissions are not accepted. Please note that if you are applying via a link in a 3rd party system (examples: Indeed, Glassdoor, LinkedIn), be sure that you are properly uploading a distinct Cover Letter and a separate CV/Resume.

In order for us to communicate with you on the status of your application, please add to your contacts list, and check spam or junk folders so that you do not miss updates from us.

We are a global human rights organization committed to inclusivity and equity, and seek the most talented team members who bring their true selves, with diverse backgrounds, cultures, perspectives, and experiences. We are interested in receiving applications from people who consider themselves as under-represented in their talent communities. As an equal opportunity employer, we value and encourage diversity and consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, creed, gender, sex, national origin, age, disability, marital or veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other legally protected status. Our commitment applies with regard to all aspects of one’s employment, including hiring, transfer, promotion, compensation, eligibility for benefits, and termination. 

Published 2022-01-27

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  • Location
    Washington DC or New York, New York
  • Department
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience