Associate Director of Affiliate Legal Programs [ASD-31], Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
May 13, 2019

Associate Director of Affiliate Legal Programs [ASD-31]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives, NY


For nearly 100 years, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.  Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, preserving the right to vote, the right to have an abortion, the rights protected by the First Amendment and due process of law, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. The ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, economic status, national origin, immigration status, incarceration or record of arrest or conviction. We are nonprofit and nonpartisan and have grown from a roomful of civil liberties activists to an organization of more than 1.6 million members and supporters.

The Affiliate Support and Nationwide Initiatives department (ASNI) builds state capacity and strengthens and maintains the connections between the ACLU and its network of 54 state affiliates and the 1500 staff who work out of the state offices. Their work constitutes an unparalleled force in the defending and advancing of civil liberties and civil rights. ASNI staff leads efforts to share knowledge, talent, and skill across the organization, building the next generation of civil rights leaders and positioning the organization for future challenges. 

The Program and Strategy Team of ASNI seeks applicants for a full-time Associate Director of Affiliate Legal Programs.  The position is based in the New York City office.



The Program and Strategy Team of ASNI will work with ACLU affiliates in two interrelated ways.  The team will support the development and alignment of communications, legal, and advocacy programs in ACLU affiliates.  They will also work with affiliate and national staff to drive and coordinate nationwide strategies that increase our civil liberties protections.  The team will collaborate with other ASNI colleagues, ACLU national office partners, and ACLU affiliate program staff to build goal-oriented programs and attend to the institutional and cultural work needed to operate successfully.

The Associate Director of Affiliate Legal Programs is a newly created position that will focus in two main areas.  First, the role will drive nationwide collaboration around legal strategies that build power and deliver wins on critical civil liberties issues.  Second, the role will support thriving, innovative, and impactful legal programs in ACLU affiliates.   The Associate Director will work closely with colleagues in both national and affiliate offices, reports to the Director of Program and Strategy, and works as part of an interdisciplinary team. 



  • Provide strategic thought partnership to ACLU affiliate Executive Directors who are strengthening their Legal Departments’ management, capacity, competencies, and skills in coordination with ASNI leadership;
  • Drive and coordinate nationwide legal strategies, such as developing circuit based strategies or state court strategies, to leverage the strengths and impact of the whole nationwide enterprise in consultation with national staff;
  • Create and sustain thriving learning communities for ACLU affiliate legal staff by creating  cohorts, hosting in-person convenings, and developing regular workshops focused on topics and/or skills critical to the growth, administration, and impact of legal programs at the ACLU;
  • Advance program alignment and collaboration  between national and affiliate offices through convenings, cohorts, and workshops, and implement new ways to help the national office and affiliates collaborate;
  • Identify, develop, and promote models  that integrate legal, advocacy, and communication strategies in affiliates;
  • Regularly review and reevaluate processes and procedures for the management of affiliate legal programs at the ACLU;
  • Support affiliate Executive Directors in the hiring and onboarding of new Legal Directors ;
  • Advocate for affiliate needs and interests in the creation of program management tools in the national office;
  • Contribute to the development of tools that measure the capacity and impact of legal programs, including regular debriefing for sharing across the nationwide network;
  • Institutionalize information generated by affiliate legal departments to help maximize the opportunity for cross-affiliate learning and efficiencies;
  • Assess affiliate capacity in legal department leadership, program, and management, developing a baseline understanding of activity and helping states set goals, plan, and drive strategic work;
  • Advise on new programmatic initiatives and national office grant making to affiliates;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to inclusion and belonging within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals, recognizes the contributions of all staff and strategies, and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, record of arrest or conviction, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts 
  • Support a culture of transparency by proactively sharing information while using discernment to protect confidentiality  when required ;
  • Support innovative practices that will build a talent pipeline in the ACLU; 
  • Ensure culture of learning in ASNI, conduct timely performance evaluations of direct reports, provide regular feedback, and create growth plans for direct reports;
  • Ensure positive and clear lines of communication that promote programmatic alignment and a culture of trust;
  • Facilitate, coordinate, and ensure team-to-team connectivity within ASNI and with other national departments, help problem solve if affiliate needs are not sufficiently prioritized, and be an ambassador for ASNI with national staff;
  • Frequent travel is required



  • JD required
  • At least 3 years’ experience recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse high-performing legal team
  • Demonstrated ability to build skill and design trainings in legal program development
  • Demonstrated ability to build legal strategies or programs that integrate advocacy and communication 
  • Experience advancing a litigation strategy at a national and/or state advocacy organization
  • Understanding of campaign planning and debriefing, roles, communications, and coordination
  • Experience working with diverse communities in building movements for social change; excellent track record of working with diverse teams
  • Ability to take initiative, think creatively, problem solve, work well under pressure, and manage multiple priorities and projects effectively under tight deadlines
  • Excellent written and verbal presentation and facilitation skills
  • Highly organized with attention to detail
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to engage stakeholders at all levels
  • Hungry to learn, curious to ask questions, and a desire to engage in exploration individually as well as being part of a team


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.



Applicants should send a cover letter (including salary requirements) and resume via email to  Reference: [ASD-31] in the subject line In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct email address.


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:  Correspondence sent to this email address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”

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