Gibbons Fellowship

The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived in 1990 as just a five-year commitment, celebrated its 30th anniversary in September 2020 and has continued to litigate 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 Bay and elsewhere (including the right of the public to know about their treatment) to equal educational opportunity; 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, school desegregation, and police accountability.

During 2022 alone, the Gibbons Fellowship won significant victories in federal and state cases which, for example, struck down a state statute setting a 30-year mandatory minimum sentence for juvenile defendants convicted of murder (our client was re-sentenced to a shorter sentence); required the consideration of a defendant’s age in deciding a defendant’s future dangerousness for purposes of parole; mandated the release of police disciplinary records under the common law right of access; liberalized the circumstances under which institutionalized persons in New Jersey may obtain compassionate release; subjected “zero tolerance” family separation policies to the Federal Tort Claims Act; and ordered the release of a high-profile detainee long held at Guantánamo. We filed an influential brief in the United States Supreme Court regarding the process for determining the applicability of the state secrets privilege. We settled, on very favorable terms, a groundbreaking case in which a woman prisoner was forced to give birth in shackles. And we worked with the New Jersey Bar Association to effect meaningful jury selection reform in New Jersey, in a way designed to address racial selection and implicit bias.

Meanwhile, we continue to litigate in cutting-edge matters implicating the most precious of constitutional and individual rights and freedoms. We argued in favor of summary judgment on liability in our case challenging segregation in New Jersey’s public schools; that matter is awaiting decision. We represent a class of federal prisoners challenging their medical treatment during the COVID pandemic. We continue to advocate for the provision of rehabilitative services to those who have been civilly committed, constitutional sentences of juvenile defendants, and the rights of the LGBTQ community, the last currently through a case challenging the treatment of an incarcerated gay man. We have taken on work challenging felon disenfranchisement laws and, in the wake of Dobbs, vindicating the right to reproductive choice. We are litigating several high-profile New Jersey Supreme Court appeals challenging criminal convictions based on “junk science.” We persist in fighting for government transparency with regard not only to torture and abuse, but also for records of deaths of those held in federal prisons. And in the great tradition of our namesake, the late great John J. Gibbons, whom we lost in December 2018, we continue our fight against the death penalty.

The great and hardworking Gibbons Fellows, supervised by Lawrence S. Lustberg, 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. Applications are hereby solicited for the 2023-2025 term and will be accepted at any time.

In order to continue our great tradition, the 2023-2025 Gibbons Fellow should be a person of high academic achievement and professional accomplishment. Preferably, the successful candidate should have completed a judicial clerkship or been actively working in the field of public interest law; only in extraordinary cases will current third-year law students be considered for the Fellowship. The Gibbons Fellow must demonstrate dedication to public interest work and commit to remain as a Fellow for the two-year period beginning in the fall of 2023.

The submission deadline for applications is February 28, 2023, 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 the 2023-2025 Fellow by the end of March 2023.

Fellowship candidates must complete the attached application and also include the following:

  1. Law School Transcript (can be unofficial)
  2. Two (2) Letters of Recommendation
  3. Resume
  4. Writing Sample

Please send application and materials either by mail or email to:

Attention: Lawrence S. Lustberg, Director, John J. Gibbons Fellowship in Public Interest & Constitutional Law (cc: Kerry A. Tolson,

Click here to view the application for a Gibbons Fellow position for 2023-2025.

Past and Present Fellows

Program Director
Lawrence S. Lustberg

Ruth O’Herron (2023-2025)
Julia T. Bradley (2022-2024)
Ethan J. Kisch (2021-2023)
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)