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Valerie Zukin Memorial Fellowship

Valerie Zukin was a fierce immigrant rights lawyer dedicated not just to her clients, but to mentoring new attorneys to fight for detained and other marginalized immigrants. The Valerie Zukin Memorial Fellowship was established in September 2021, when Valerie passed at the age of 41. The Fellowship honors Valerie’s memory and legacy by continuing her mentorship work. Summer fellows gain hands-on experience advocating for immigrants in detention and enjoy close mentorship from Valerie’s former colleagues and friends.


The Fellowship rotates between host organizations. Inaugural summer fellows worked at Immigrant Legal Defense (ILD) and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project (NWIRP) in 2022. In 2023, fellows worked at California Collaborative for Immigrant Justice (CCIJ) and ILD. In 2024, NWIRP and ILD will each host one Fellow for a 10-week, full-time fellowship paying $15,000 over the course of the summer.


Northwest Immigrant Rights Project promotes justice by defending and advancing the rights of immigrants through direct legal services, systemic advocacy, and community education. Valerie began her legal career at NWIRP. To learn more about NWIRP, visit NWIRP’s detention work focuses on people detained at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma, WA. Therefore, the NWIRP fellow must be in person at NWIRP’s Tacoma, WA office.


ILD’s mission is to promote justice through the provision of legal representation to underserved immigrant communities. In her last direct services case, Valerie co-counseled a detained client’s case with ILD attorneys at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. To learn more about ILD, go to All work and supervision for the ILD Fellow will be remote, with occasional in-person court appearances and detention center visits. The ILD Fellow can reside anywhere in the United States.


Valerie’s family and friend-colleagues, including from the host organizations, will make up the selection panel. We seek future immigrant rights lawyers who exemplify key characteristics of Valerie – a passionate, kind, and creative advocate for the most marginalized immigrant populations. To learn more about Valerie, visit Applicants must have strong Spanish skills.


To apply, complete the form at and upload as one PDF file: (1) Cover letter, (2) Resume, and (3) List of three references. Your cover letter should include details as to how your background and experience prepare you to continue Valerie’s legacy of zealously advocating for marginalized immigrants facing deportation and detention.


Please also explain briefly in your cover letter to what extent (if any) your law school funds summer public interest work and whether you could engage in nonprofit removal defense work this summer without the fellowship. The application deadline is January 31, 2024 at 11:59pm PST.


This posting and link to apply is also found on NWIRP’s Jobs & Internships page


NWIRP and ILD are equal opportunity/affirmative action employers that provide equal employment opportunities to all qualified employees/applicants in all of our employment practices without regard to race,

religion, color, sex or gender (including gender identity, pregnancy, childbirth, lactation, pregnancy- and childbirth-related medical conditions), sexual orientation, national origin, ancestry, age, uniform service member/veteran status, marital status, medical condition, physical or mental disability, taking/requesting statutorily protected leave, or any other basis protected by law.

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