The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived as a 5-year commitment celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2015, litigating the most significant legal issues of our time -- from the death penalty to same-sex marriage, from the rights of detained enemy combatants at Guantánamo and elsewhere (including the right of the public to know about their treatment) to equal funding for education, from the law of domestic violence to the rights of pregnant women.
The Gibbons Fellows, under the direction of Lawrence S. Lustberg, long-time director of the Gibbons Fellowship program, undertake public interest and constitutional law projects and litigation. Requests for representation or advice are considered from all sectors, public and private, including public interest organizations, legal services or public defender offices, government agencies, private non-profit corporations, courts and individuals. Working with a broad cross-section of public interest groups, the Fellowship Program has become widely known in New Jersey and nationally as a voice for the poor and underrepresented.
For its commitment to the Gibbons Fellowship and Gibbons Cares programs, the firm is ranked 44th nationwide on the American Lawyer’s Pro Bono Scorecard, above more than 120 larger firms for 2015. The firm has also earned recognition from various organizations, including recently being named one of the Pro Bono Firms of the Year for 2012 by Law360.
The Fellowship has been and remains involved in the most significant and controversial issues that confront the Federal and State courts today. For example, in this past year alone, we won significant victories in the New Jersey Supreme Court in a number of significant cases which preserve New Jersey’s expansive interpretation of its State constitutional protection against unreasonable searches and seizures and protect pregnant women from being charged with abuse and neglect for participating in methadone maintenance programs in order to combat drug addiction; other cases won broad constructions of the state Civil Rights Act and of our constitutional right to fundamental fairness.
On the federal level, we won, for example, significant victories against the racial profiling of Muslims and for the increased due process rights of immigrants facing detention. We continue to fight for government transparency, including our longstanding work which has been responsible for much of what the public knows about U.S. torture and abuse of detainees abroad, and lawsuits seeking information regarding gun ownership and regarding the treatment of immigrants in Bureau of Prisons custody. We are involved in numerous death penalty cases, including one that succeeded in assuring the rights of those seeking post-conviction relief in Pennsylvania to the assistance of counsel and three individual representations, including the first direct appeal from a capital judgment in the Third Circuit in over a century and another in Alabama. Having succeeded in winning the right to same-sex marriage in New Jersey a year-and-a-half before Obergefell was decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, we continue to advocate for the LGBTQ community, in cases both in New Jersey and elsewhere. We continue to litigate cases seeking educational equity, particularly with regard to reducing segregation and ensuring racially neutral testing of high school students. And we won a landmark ruling expanding the prohibition against life without parole sentences for juveniles to lengthy de facto life without parole sentences, a ruling which we are now defending on appeal.
Unlike traditional legal services projects or law firm pro bono programs, the Fellowship Program is able to tackle public interest issues of major importance and to provide the resources and continuity of personnel to pursue projects to conclusion. The Gibbons Fellowship is also unique among fellowship programs in the breadth of legal issues addressed. The Program brings together the experience and knowledge of Mr. Lustberg, the dedication and talent of Fellowship recipients, and the professional resources and experience of Gibbons P.C. Centered in Newark, New Jersey, the Fellowship Program is an ideal vehicle to address urban issues, individual rights and social concerns.
Click here to view the application for a Gibbons Fellow position for 2016-2018.