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Gibbons Fellowship

The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived as just a five-year commitment, celebrated its 30th anniversary, albeit remotely, in September 2020. Throughout its history, the Fellowship has litigated 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, juvenile defendants, persons with AIDS, and current and recently released prison inmates, among others. Today, for example, the Fellowship is particularly engaged in such high-profile issues as immigration, gun control, school desegregation, and police accountability.

Most recently, the Gibbons Fellowship won significant victories in federal and state cases which, for example, obtained the release of immigration detainees because of the risk posed to them by the novel coronavirus and the protection of immigration attorneys from court appearances that could risk their exposure to the COVID virus; successfully challenged the imposition of long sentences on juvenile offenders (including arguing a case on the subject before the Third Circuit en banc) and required constitutional protections for juveniles facing criminal charges; achieved the exoneration of innocent persons who had spent decades in prison; upheld state regulation of large capacity magazines for firearms; resisted the dismissal of an ongoing systemic challenge to New Jersey’s deeply segregated schools while assuring that the Department of Education prevents charter schools from having a segregative effect; required the memorialization of eyewitness identification procedures in criminal investigations; invalidated a New York statute that required nonprofits to disclose membership lists, in violation of the First Amendment; ordered the disclosure of documentation of deaths of prisoners in United States Marshals Service custody and of instances of major police misconduct; and protected the integrity of the process used to calculate appropriate rent levels for low-income tenants.

We have continued to advocate for the provision of rehabilitative services to those who have been civilly committed; for a meaningful Citizens Complaint Review Board in the City of Newark; for the disclosure of documentation regarding the CIA’s program of torture and abuse of enemy combatants and of information regarding the prevalence of the use of firearms in suicides; and against the unfettered ability of federal prosecutors to repeatedly try criminal defendants in cases of hung juries. We continue to litigate a large variety of criminal justice issues, including the manner in which jury selection should be conducted in a COVID-safe environment without violating defendants’ rights and the propriety of draconian consecutive criminal sentences, as well as the constitutionality of the detention without due process of ICE arrestees who are held without bond, though there is little chance that they will be deported; the treatment of pregnant women in custody; and the scope of the Federal Tort Claims Act. We are advocating for legislative reform in the area of criminal sentencing, in an effort to address mass incarceration, and for the broader expungement of convictions so that those who re-enter society after prison can get a fresh start. And in the tradition of our namesake, the late John J. Gibbons, whom we lost in December 2018 but celebrated this year and in all that we do, we continue our fight against the death penalty and for inmates on death row, whether federal or in states, like Alabama, where capital punishment persists, as well as of the rights of former death row inmates not to be held in indefinite solitary confinement.

The great and hardworking Gibbons Fellows, supervised by Lawrence S. Lustberg, Co-Chair of the Firm’s Commercial & Criminal Litigation Group and longtime 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 nonprofit corporations, courts, and individuals. Working with a broad cross-section of public interest groups, the Fellowship has become widely known in New Jersey and nationally as a voice for the poor and underrepresented.

Areas of Focus

Fellowship Application

Gibbons P.C. annually sponsors the nationally recognized John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law and is doing so again for the 2021-2023 time period. Applications are hereby solicited. In order to continue our great tradition, the 2021-2023 Gibbons Fellow should be a person of high academic achievement and professional accomplishment. Preferably, the person selected should have served a judicial clerkship or been actively working in the field of public interest law; only in extraordinary cases will persons who are currently third-year law students be considered for the Fellowship. The Gibbons Fellow must have demonstrated a real commitment to public interest work. The deadline for applications is March 15, 2021, but applications will be considered as they are received, and it is possible that a Fellow will be selected before the deadline closes. At the very latest, we anticipate having hired our 2021-2023 Fellow by the beginning of April 2021.

Fellowship candidates must complete the following application, along with the following:

  1. Law School Transcript (can be unofficial);
  2. Two (2) Letters of Recommendation (you may provide a third if you wish);
  3. Resume; and
  4. Writing Sample.

Please send applications and materials to:

GIBBONS FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM
Gibbons P.C.
One Gateway Center
Newark, New Jersey 07102-5310

Attention: Lawrence S. Lustberg, Director, John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law

Click here to view the application for a Gibbons Fellow position for 2021-2023.

Past and Present Fellows

Program Director
Lawrence S. Lustberg

Fellows
Brittany M. Thomas (2020-2022)
Michael R. Noveck (2019-2021)
Jessica L. Hunter (2018-2020)
Farbod K. Faraji (2017-2019)
J. David Pollock (2016-2018)
Avram D. Frey (2015-2017)
Ana Isabel Muñoz (2014-2016)
Joseph A. Pace (2013-2015)
Portia D. Pedro (2012-2014)
Benjamin Yaster (2012-2014)
Jonathan M. Manes (2011-2013)
Alicia L. Bannon (2010-2012)
Eileen M. Connor (2009-2011)
Jennifer B. Condon (2008-2010)
Avidan Y. Cover (2007-2009)
Melanca D. Clark (2006-2008)
Emily B. Goldberg (2005-2007)
Megan Lewis (2004-2006)
Gitanjali S. Gutierrez (2003-2005)
Jonathan L. Hafetz (2003-2005)
Jennifer Ching (2002-2004)
Shavar D. Jeffries (2001-2003)
Philip G. Gallagher (2001-2003)
Risa E. Kaufman (2000-2002)
Jessica A. Roth (1999-2001)
Lori Outz Borgen (1998-2000)
David Thronson (1997-1999)
Laura Klein Abel (1996-1998)
James E. Ryan (1995-1997)
Lenora M. Lapidus (1994-1996)
Jonathan Romberg (1993-1995)
Elizabeth B. Cooper (1992-1994)
John V. Jacobi (1991-1993)
Lawrence S. Lustberg (1990-1992)