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Edward Coles Fellowship

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Overview of Edward Coles Fellowship

The Illinois Human Rights Commission Governor Edward Coles Fellowship is an internship program s),for second and third year law students interested in civil rights and administrative law. The Coles Fellowship is named in honor of Edward Coles (1786 - 1868), the second Governor of Illinois (1822 - 1826). Edward Coles was an early abolitionist who was primarily responsible for keeping Illinois a free state prior to the Civil War.

The Illinois Human Rights Commission is dedicated to promoting freedom from unlawful discrimination as defined by the Illinois Human Rights Act. The Act forbids discrimination based on age (40+), ancestry, arrest record, citizenship status (in employment), color, conviction record, disability (physical, mental, and association with a person with a disability), familial status (in real estate transactions), gender identity, marital status, military status, national origin, order of protection status, pregnancy, race (including traits associated with race like hair texture and protective hairstyles), religion, retaliation, sex, sexual harassment (in employment and elementary, secondary, and higher education), sexual orientation, source of income (in real estate transactions), unfavorable military discharge, and work authorization status (in employment). The Act forbids discrimination in employment, real estate transactions, education, public accommodations, and access to financial credit.

Our mission is to provide a neutral forum for resolving complaints of discrimination filed under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Fellows are primarily responsible for assisting Administrative Law Judges (ALJs) and the General Counsel's Office in performing legal research, preparing documents, analyzing records, drafting orders, and other case-related work. Fellows may assist the Commission with administrative rulemaking and other legislative matters. Fellows may also observe public hearings and settlement conferences. Fellows may be invited to participate in public outreach events. Fellows may also have an opportunity to assist in the preparation of continuing legal education training materials and the creation of publications designed to inform the public about the Commission.

Requirements at minimum include completion of at least one (1) year of legal writing prior to beginning the Fellowship, very good legal writing and legal research skills, and a commitment to upholding the enunciated protected civil rights under the Illinois Human Rights Act. Fellowships are unpaid, but interested students should contact their schools for information on outside funding resources or obtaining school credit.

To Apply

Summer 2023: we are seeking law students with strong writing skills. For additional information click on the following link:  Summer 2023 Coles Fellows. 

To submit an application, please email a resume, cover letter, transcript, and writing sample to:

Erica Seyburn, Assistant General Counsel     

Due Date: January 27, 2023

(Created by college and high school summer interns during the summer of 2019)