The Official Website of the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD)

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Internship Opportunities

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD) is the state agency charged with enforcing the state's anti-discrimination laws in the areas of employment, housing, credit, education, public accommodations, mortgage, and lending. State law prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, age, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, disability, genetics, military status, and retaliation. In addition to these bases, the Massachusetts fair housing law also prohibits discrimination on the basis of children, public assistance, veteran status, and marital status.

The MCAD has offices in Boston, New Bedford, Springfield, and Worcester. Internships are available in all four offices.

The MCAD internship program provides undergraduates, graduate students, law students, law school graduates, and attorneys with the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in civil rights law enforcement. All positions are unpaid, except as noted. The program includes three to four days of classroom training in discrimination law and the complaint process, plus regular brown bag lunches with MCAD staff to learn more about emerging legal issues and the MCAD's discrimination prevention programs. MCAD interns are provided with expert supervision to continually develop their knowledge and skills, and opportunities to observe a wide variety of legal proceedings.

The MCAD seeks interns/volunteers to work in the following seven areas:

1. Administrative complaint processing (undergraduates aiming for careers in administrative work and/or undergraduates interested in exposure to work in a legal setting).  Students assist the Commission with responding to public inquiries, legal data entry, filing of legal documents, and reception.  Requires strong attention to detail.  Minimum of 10 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters; full-time during the summer.

2. Public education and outreach (undergraduates or graduate students).  Students contact organizations that serve individuals likely to experience discrimination to schedule outreach presentations, and then conduct those presentations.  Excellent public speaking skills are required; fluency in Spanish is preferred.  A minimum of 10 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters; full-time during the summer.

3. Discrimination complaint intake (undergraduates, law, or other graduate students). Students meet with individuals to assist them to file discrimination complaints, including collecting key data and assisting them to write a narrative describing their allegations.  Requires excellent writing, analytical, and interpersonal skills.  Minimum of one full weekday each week from 8:45 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the fall and spring semesters (two full days preferred); full-time during the summer.

4. Investigations/Enforcement (undergraduates – Springfield only, law students or law graduates – all offices).  Interns conduct investigations into discrimination claims regarding workplaces and places of public accommodation, including requesting documentation and evidence from parties, reviewing case files, and drafting recommendations regarding whether probable cause exists.  Requires excellent writing and analytical skills.  Minimum of 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters; full-time during the summer.

5. Prosecution and judicial appeals (law students who have completed at least two years of law school or law school graduates).  Interns assist with evaluating legal strategy, preparing discovery requests and responses, interviewing witnesses, conducting legal research, drafting legal documents, and hearings and court proceedings.  Excellent research, writing, and analytical skills are required.  A minimum of 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters; full-time during the summer.

6. Testing (law students or law graduates). The MCAD's testing program analyzes how selected individuals are treated as they seek employment or services to determine if discrimination occurs.  The testing intern assists the program by identifying potential investigatory targets, summarizing and making recommendations concerning case files, and assisting in drafting complaints using testing evidence.  Minimum of 15 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters; full-time during the summer.    

The Internship Application Process

Applicants should possess good to excellent academic standing, have an interest in civil rights, and have relevant skills to each position, such as administrative, public speaking, investigative, and legal research and writing skills. A knowledge of discrimination law is helpful, but not expected. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis. Most positions are filled at least one month before the start date. Start dates are generally the second week of September, the third week of January, and the first week of June.

While there are application deadline dates set below, applications are reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis. Therefore, we often fill all available internship slots prior to the stated deadlines.

Applications for summer internships: The MCAD seeks full-time interns/volunteers during the summer. The deadline for summer applications is May 7; however, applications for the Napolitano Internship are due by March 15 (see below) and most positions are filled by late March.  Intake and investigations positions fill first.

Applications for fall internships: For the fall semester, we are open to interns/volunteers who can work a minimum of 10 to 15 hours each week, as specified above.  The deadline for fall applications is September 7 (some exceptions are made for law students); however, most positions are filled by mid-August.

Applications for spring internships: For the spring semester, we are open to interns/volunteers who can work a minimum of 10 to 15 hours each week, as specified above.  The deadline for spring applications is January 7 (some exceptions are made for law students); however, most positions are filled by early December.

To apply for any of these positions, please submit a resume, cover letter, and writing sample. Please specify in your cover letter which position(s) you are applying for, your preferred location (Boston, New Bedford, Springfield, or Worcester), and your dates and hours of availability.
Applications can be mailed or emailed, but email is preferred.  Please submit applications to:

Rebecca.Shuster@state.ma.us
Becky Shuster
Director of Training
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108


Special Opportunity for Law Students:
Napolitano Summer Internship
This paid internship is awarded each summer to one law student who is interested in discrimination and employment law.  Please note that applications are accepted on a rolling basis: only individuals who have been accepted for a summer position are considered for the Napolitano Internship.  Generally, all positions are full by March 1.

Applications can be mailed or emailed, but email is preferred.  Please submit applications to:
Rebecca.Shuster@state.ma.us
Becky Shuster
Director of Training
Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
One Ashburton Place, Room 601
Boston, MA 02108


Please include a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and one-page statement of why you would like to be a legal intern at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.
The many friends and colleagues of George Napolitano wished to honor his contributions to discrimination law during his 1991 to 1997 tenure as the MCAD's General Counsel. One of Mr. Napolitano's great joys was mentoring junior attorneys. The funds for the internship were raised through a joint effort of the Boston and Massachusetts Bar Associations to memorialize his contributions by establishing an internship for law students administered through the Massachusetts Bar Foundation.