Professor Aderson Francois is the director of the Civil Rights Clinic and Voting Rights Institute (CRC). Professor Francois joined the faculty in 2016. Prior to joining the Georgetown faculty, Professor Francois directed the Civil Rights Clinic at Howard University School of Law, where he also taught Constitutional Law, Federal Civil Rights, and Supreme Court Jurisprudence.

CRC operates as a public interest law firm, representing individual clients and other public interest organizations, primarily in the areas of discrimination and constitutional rights, workplace fairness, and open government. Beginning in the Fall of 2016, the section expanded its work into the area of voting rights. Students interview clients, develop case theories, draft and file complaints in state and federal courts, conduct discovery, engage in motions practice, and prepare appeals. Students also file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and analyze responsive documents, and work in coalition with other public interest organizations to develop impact cases. Recent projects include:

  • Litigating multiple Eighth Amendment claims against state and federal officials, and private medical providers on behalf of an incarcerated persons;
  • Litigating an employment discrimination claim against a federal agency on behalf of an employee using a novel theory of intersectionality on the basis of race, gender, and age;
  • Litigating First Amendment retaliation claims against municipal agencies on behalf of Black Lives Matter protestors;
  • Litigating employment discrimination action involving pay disparity on behalf of a woman faculty member at a state higher education institution;
  • Litigating false arrest, wrongful death, and Fourth Amendment violation claims against the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department;
  • Litigating on behalf of an individual whose employer improperly denied her the lactation breaks she was entitled to under state and federal law;
  • Litigating on behalf of an individual whose employer improperly denied her disability and pregnancy accommodations, discriminated against her on account of her national origin, and illegally assessed fees against her in connection with her resignation;
  • Filing amicus briefs in multiple appellate cases before the United States Supreme Court, and the DC Circuit;
  • Filing FOIA requests and using the responsive documents to prepare reports exposing government misconduct;
  • Drafting national report on the use of criminal fines and fees to suppress voting rights;
  • Preparing and arguing multiple appeals in federal court, in the DC Circuit, the Fourth Circuit, and the Fifth Circuit.

For more detailed information about our work, applicants should review our annual reports.

What do the Graduate Fellows/Staff Attorneys do?

Fellows are responsible for day-to-day supervision of the students and work closely with the students on improving their lawyering skills, especially legal writing. In the civil rights section, the fellow has principal responsibility for about half of the docket and supervises all facets of the litigation. Much of the fellow’s time is spent guiding students in legal and factual research, reviewing student drafts, making suggestions for improvement, and preparing the students for oral presentations. In recent years, fellows have worked on all phases of litigation, including taking depositions, handling evidentiary hearings, and briefing cases before federal district courts, courts of appeals, and the U.S. Supreme Court. Fellows also play a key role in case development and in planning other CRC activities. Fellows participate in case rounds and assist in teaching seminars on litigation practice and substantive law.

Past fellows have emphasized that the CRC experience is unique in several respects:

First, the fellows work on interesting, often cutting-edge litigation. In light of our broad agenda, we have leeway to develop cases that present unique educational opportunities for students and fellows and have a significant impact on the law.

Second, fellows assume substantial responsibility and generally play a more important role in the decision making process than do their contemporaries in other types of law practice. They work on a variety of cases in different stages of the litigation process and gain a broad understanding of how litigation works, from interviewing a potential client through appealing to the Supreme Court. Fellows also work closely with other CRC fellows and other public interest organizations, meeting other lawyers involved in public interest law and seeing how their organizations function.

Third, fellows work closely with a full-time faculty member who has substantial litigation experience and expertise. As part of the Georgetown Law community, fellows are encouraged to attend seminars, workshops, and programs both on and off campus. Georgetown provides substantial support and guidance for fellows interested in pursuing academic scholarship or careers.

Fellows must be members of the District of Columbia Bar or take immediate steps to apply for membership (through reciprocity or examination) after taking the position.

Pay and other benefits

The annual salary is $57,000 for the first year of the fellowship and $60,000 for the second year. The fellow also receives health and dental benefits and all tuition and fees in the L.L.M. program. Fellows also have unlimited free access to a state-of-the-art, on-site fitness center. As full-time students, fellows qualify for deferment of their student loans. Fellows may be eligible for loan repayment assistance from their law schools.

How to apply

Applicants should submit

  • a brief statement explaining the applicant’s interest in the position
  • a résumé
  • a law school transcript
  • a list of references, including contact information
  • a recent legal writing sample of any length representing the applicant’s most challenging legal work. Please do not send an excerpt. The writing sample should not be a collaborative work or significantly edited by someone else.

The application materials should be sent in a single PDF file attached to an email to Niko Perazich at Niko.Perazich@law.georgetown.edu.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled. We will select candidates to be interviewed. Although we will not pay candidates’ travel expenses, we will try to arrange interviews at a time convenient for the candidate.