Gibbons Fellowship

The Gibbons Fellowship, originally conceived in 1990 as just a five-year commitment, celebrated its 33rd anniversary in September 2023 and has, for over 33 years now, 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 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 school desegregation, affirmative action, and immigration.

Over the past year alone, the Gibbons Fellowship won a number of significant victories in federal and state cases, including a Third Circuit decision in which the Court of Appeals held that an arrest of a physicist pursuant to the Department of Justice’s China Initiative Program could be challenged under the Fourth Amendment; reversed State court convictions obtained using various forms of “junk science”; and, in an ongoing case in which we continue to represent a class of federal prisoners challenging their medical treatment during the COVID pandemic, survived a motion to dismiss our Federal Tort Claims allegations.

Meanwhile, we continue to litigate in cutting-edge matters implicating the most precious of constitutional and individual rights and freedoms. Although we did not prevail on a motion for summary judgment on liability in our case challenging segregation in New Jersey’s public schools, the trial court rendered a decision finding “marked and persistent racial imbalance in numerous school districts across the State that [New Jersey’s] actions, policies, programs, and inaction have failed to remedy” and the matter is now in the midst of mediation focusing on remedies for the segregation that the court found. We just argued an appeal in the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, seeking to sustain the New Jersey State Bar Association’s affirmative action program against legal attack. We continued to advocate for the provision of rehabilitative services to those who have been civilly committed and for the rights of the LGBTQ community, 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 have supported New Jersey’s determination to close inhumane immigration detention centers in the State. We continue to fight 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 and the firm is doing so again for the 2024-2026 time period. Applications are hereby solicited and will be accepted at any time through March 31, 2024. In order to continue our great tradition, the 2024-2026 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 and must make a commitment to remain as Fellow for the two-year period beginning in fall 2024. The deadline for applications is March 31, 2024, 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 2024-2026 Fellow by the end of April 2024.

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

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

Please send applications and materials to:

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 (cc: Kerry A. Tolson,
Click here to view the application for a Gibbons Fellow position for 2024-2026.