Jobs: Tyron Garner Law Fellow

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Department: Legal

Location: Any Lambda Legal Office (Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; New York, NY; Washington, DC)

Reports to: Counsel

FLSA Status: Exempt/Full-time

Union Status: Not Applicable


The Tyron Garner Memorial Law Fellow will engage in cutting-edge impact litigation, public policy advocacy, and education furthering Lambda Legal’s mission.  This fellowship is focused on serving communities of color and addressing the intersection of LGBTQ discrimination and racism that affects African American LGBTQ communities.

Who We Are

Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas, and Washington, D.C.

We believe that serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, we must approach our work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, we recognize the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, we prioritize awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.

Tyron Garner Memorial Fellowship for African-American Civil Rights

This fellowship honors the memory of Tyron Garner, one of the men Lambda Legal represented in our groundbreaking Supreme Court victory Lawrence v. Texas (which struck down all remaining state sodomy laws in the country).  Mr. Garner passed away in 2006, after his case vindicated the constitutional right to express sexual intimacy in adult relationships.

Through the Garner Fellowship, Lambda Legal seeks to support law graduates dedicated to LGBTQ issues within African American communities in ongoing engagement with civil rights work on behalf of LGBTQ individuals and people living with HIV. The Garner Fellowship contributes to Lambda Legal’s expansion of our current work to serve communities of color and address the intersection of LGBTQ discrimination and racism that affects African American LGBTQ communities.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

  • Conduct factual and legal research in support of new and active litigation and other client advocacy, with particular emphasis on identifying and addressing important LGBTQ and HIV legal issues that affect African American communities, and considering inequities and barriers that disproportionately affect African American LGBTQ communities;
  • Draft court documents and parts of briefs for cases in state and federal courts and agencies;
  • Analyze and prepare responses to state and federal legislation, regulations, and other executive actions affecting LGBTQ people and people living with HIV;
  • Research and draft policy and advocacy materials, such as publications, articles, and fact sheets, with particular emphasis on developing legal resources focused on the specific challenges LGBTQ people of color face in institutional settings such as schools, shelters and criminal legal systems and on the specific challenges of people living with HIV in LGBTQ African American communities;
  • Participate in case team meetings, office-wide strategic discussions, and external coalition meetings; and
  • Connect with key African American leaders and organizations to further inform and guide our efforts to serve African American LGBTQ communities.


Skills & Competencies

  • Candidates may be recent law school graduates, completing another fellowship or judicial clerkship, or looking to transition out of another form of law practice.
  • The fellow will be expected to pursue admission to the bar of the state where they will be practicing law within the first year of the fellowship
  • The fellow must commit to two full years.
  • The fellow should possess a high level of independence and initiative, good judgment, excellent research and writing skills, and the ability to produce high-caliber legal work under demanding deadlines.
  • The fellow must demonstrate creativity, and a willingness to work collaboratively with others toward the most effective strategies and initiatives to advance civil rights, and always with respect and collegiality.
  • Working at Lambda Legal requires awareness of and commitment to the concerns of the breadth of the communities that Lambda Legal serves. Prior work on behalf of the LGBTQ community and/or people living with HIV is a plus.
  • Serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ and HIV communities requires cultural competency and a commitment to addressing the multilayered and interlocking forms of discrimination and oppression that exist in our society, including discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, immigration status, disability, religion, education, and class. Any successful candidate must be able to demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of the importance of integrating our commitment to combating these other forms of discrimination into our work to eradicate discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, nonconformity with gender stereotypes, or HIV status.
  • Any successful candidate will welcome the opportunity to work in a racially- and gender-diverse environment, and will possess the maturity and humility to effectively identify, interact with, and counsel current and prospective clients from the broad range of communities that we serve, including communities of color, immigrant communities, and lower-income communities.

Covid Statement

The health and well-being of our employees and their loved ones are of the utmost importance to us.  During the Pandemic, we have chosen to close our offices.  Our employees are all working from home, and only visit the office voluntarily and only if absolutely necessary.   We follow CDC and Department of Health guidelines to ensure the safety of employees who occasionally need to work from the office.   We have an employee task force that is constantly evaluating and assessing when we can reopen. At this time, we do not foresee re-opening our office in the next several months.  

Compensation & Benefits

Salary is $60,000. Benefits include short and long-term disability, life insurance, basic medical and dental plan at no cost to the fellow, with an opportunity to obtain additional coverage for themselves or their family including vision at a low cost.  Option to enroll in a pre-tax health flexible spending account, dependent care account, and commuter transit account. Option to defer earnings to a 403(b)-retirement plan.  Paid time off includes the opportunity to annually accrue up to 15 days of vacation, 3 personal and 12 sick.  Lambda Legal observes 10 holidays per year and is supportive of observance of religious holidays.


Applications will be accepted starting December 1, 2020. Interviews will commence no later than March 2021, with a decision announced as soon thereafter as feasible. The position will begin in September 2021.

Applicants should send a resume; a brief writing sample (preferably a memorandum that has not been substantially edited by others that addresses a constitutional, discrimination, or other complex issue); and a cover letter explaining your interest in the position and how you learned of the job opening to, attention Mildred Perez with the subject line of “Garner Fellow”.

No calls please. Due to the high volume of applications, Lambda Legal cannot return phone calls about the position and cannot notify all applicants of status.

Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ, HIV-affected and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, transgender and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with disabilities, and individuals living with HIV are encouraged to apply.