Call for Applications: Freedom Innovation Fellowship
The Internet Freedom Foundation is excited to open applications for the inaugural cohort of the Freedom Innovation Fellowship. Established through a grant from the Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiative, the Freedom Innovation Fellowship is a 15-month fellowship for young lawyers seeking to impact change, not just through the courts but through a wide spectrum of social change tools.
The Freedom Innovation Fellowship will train a cohort of five young lawyers for 15 months in strategic litigation and policy engagement. Fellows will be full-time and work directly with IFF staffers at IFF’s office in New Delhi. Each fellow is placed for 7 and a half months in either the policy track or litigation track and then rotated to the other track for the next 7 and a half months. Additionally, they will devote a part of their time towards working on civic literacy and media engagement, community building and organising, digital and in-person event organisation, fundraising and resource mobilisation. Fellows are skilled through a mix of education, instruction, application and ownership. Our primary goal for the fellows is to develop their skills to be able to continue rights-based work related to technology after the period of the fellowship.
What Will a Freedom Innovation Fellow Do?
Fellows will draft and review pleadings to be filed in court in strategic and clinical litigation matters, including petitions, applications, replies, rejoinders, written submissions etc.
The fellows will coordinate with clients and external counsels to ensure timely filing and listing of cases. Fellows will attend briefings for arguing counsels for court hearings and prepare briefing notes, written submissions and case compilations in support. They will also attend and assist with court hearings. Fellows are expected to identify opportunities for court-centred advocacy by engaging with stakeholders and monitoring pending cases, media reports and RTI responses.
Transparency and Accountability
Fellows will draft and file RTI applications and RTI appeals before the first appellate authorities and the Central or State Information Commissions. They will also collaborate with IFF’s Policy vertical to ensure adequate preparatory work is done prior to litigation.
Track, Analyse, Explain
Fellows will work with IFF staffers in identifying policy issues impacting the public interest requiring intervention on a daily basis, analysing the issues, identifying, and executing the right response. They will monitor legislative proposals and track draft regulations, identify and monitor key discussions and other business-impacting digital rights brought up by Ministers or MPs in Parliament, and assess state government actions that impact our internet freedoms.
Parliamentary and Governmental Engagement
Fellows will assist IFF’s policy team in drafting submissions and representations to public institutions, government agencies and offices, and legislative bodies - including analysis and writing and in following up on these submissions, ranging from corresponding and meeting with officials, RTI applications, in-person briefings, and strategically using convenings and other mechanisms.
Communications and Community
Fellows will provide regular updates about IFF’s work to the public by authoring blog posts hosted for the IFF website. They will collaborate closely with IFF’s Civic Literacy vertical to create content for various social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Reddit, YouTube, Telegram, and Threads. Fellows will help to grow and build IFF’s community through interactions with IFF volunteers and community members on our social media channels. They will also assist with and respond to media queries about digital rights issues. Fellows will be given opportunities to participate in talks, panel discussions and conferences on behalf of IFF and author op-eds and opinion pieces for leading publications on issues of contemporary relevance.
Fellows will be able to observe first-hand the operational aspects of running a civil society organisation including administration, fundraising, and strategic decision-making.
Can I Apply?
- The applicant must have a 5-year or 3-year degree in law.
- The applicant must have 0-5 years of work experience.
- The applicant must be enrolled with the Bar Council and authorised to appear in court on behalf of clients. Fresh graduates must enrol with the Bar Council at the first opportunity.
- Candidates with a bilingual proficiency in English and any other Indian language will be preferred.
- A core objective of the Freedom Innovation Fellowship is to reverse the metropolitan bias present in India’s digital rights space. Strong preference will be given to candidates from marginalised socio-economic backgrounds.
How Do I Apply?
- Applicants must send a resume, write two 500-word policy essays, and a statement of intent. (Apply now)
- Shortlisted candidates are interviewed by a panel on three parameters, commitment/motivation; knowledge of technology policy issues; and reasoning/logical abilities. The panel consists of two external experts and a senior member of the IFF team.
- Based on the decision of the panel, offers are sent out to selected candidates.
What Else Do I Need To Know?
This fellowship is full-time and in-person at IFF’s office in New Delhi. The stipend will be Rs. 50,000 per month.
What is it like to work at IFF?
We are a small team of 6-7 full-time staffers who work out of our office in New Delhi. All our staff have diverse academic and professional backgrounds. We work 5-and-half days a week.
We are committed to and actively practise employment equity. IFF promotes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified applicants– women, members of caste-based, religious, and sexual minorities, and people from all regions.
We have a flexible and accommodating leave policy which also accounts separately for menstruating persons. Equality and diversity are at the core of our values and staff are expected to work collectively and individually to promote a constructive and sensitive approach to others from a variety of backgrounds, where the work of others is valued and respected.
Freedom Innovation Fellowship timeline (tentative):
- Application Deadline - January 30, 2024
- Interview Process commences - February 1, 2024
- Fellowship Start Date - March 15, 2024
For queries, please email us at [email protected]