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 second and third year law students interested in civil rights and administrative 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, orders of protection, and pregnancy. 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 proctected 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: Applications are accepted and considered on a rolling basis for Summer, Fall and Spring opportunities. Please e-mail (preferred) or mail a cover letter, résumé, and writing sample to:

Lester G. Bovia, Jr. Acting General Counsel (Fellowship Coordinator)

Illinois Human Rights Commission
JRTC 100 W. Randolph, Suite 5-100
Chicago, Illinois 60601