Edward Coles Fellowship 


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Illinois Human Rights Commission
Governor Edward Coles Fellowship

Promoting Civil Rights Law Practice

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.

Coles Fellowship Description

The Illinois Human Rights Commission Governor Edward Coles Fellowship is an internship program for first, second and third year law students interested in civil rights and employment law. 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 sex, age, race, color, religion, arrest record, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, citizenship, national origin, ancestry, unfavorable military discharge, military status, retaliation, sexual harassment, and orders of protection.

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, summarizing depositions, analyzing records, drafting orders, and other case-related work. Fellows may assist the Commission in work with Illinois legislators on bill review, administrative rulemaking and other legislative matters. Fellows may also work with bar associations including, the Illinois State Bar Association, the Chicago Bar Association and the Cook County Bar Association on public outreach issues. The Deputy General Counsel and Assistant General Counsel supervise Fellows. Fellows receive legal assignments from the ALJs and the General Counsel’s Office through the Fellowship Coordinator. The Fellowship Coordinator implements a structured assignment program that ensures that the Fellows complete a wide array of legal work. Fellows communicate with the General Counsel’s Office regarding their assignments and are given direction on how to properly complete the assignments efficiently by the General Counsel’s Office.

Minimum requirements include, but are not limited to, completion of at least one (1) year of legal writing prior to beginning the Fellowship, very good legal writing and legal research skills, familiarity with the Illinois Human Rights Act and a commitment to upholding the enunciated protected civil rights under the Act. Fellowships are unpaid, but interested students should contact their schools for information on outside funding resources or obtaining school credit.

TO APPLY: Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis for Summer, Fall and Spring opportunities. Please mail or e-mail a cover letter, résumé, writing sample, and two references to:

N. Keith Chambers, Executive Director Keith.Chambers@Illinois.gov &

Ms. Donyelle L. Gray, Deputy General Counsel Donyelle.Gray@Illinois.gov

RE: COLES FELLOWSHIP Illinois Human Rights Commission JRTC 100 W. Randolph, Suite 5-100 Chicago, Illinois 60601

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