Legal Director - ACLU of New Mexico

Affiliate Offices
New Mexico
September 6, 2017

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico seeks an enterprising Legal Director to lead its litigation and legal advocacy program.

For nearly 100 years, the 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, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, 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 and expression, age, disability, or national origin.

Founded in 1962, the ACLU New Mexico has been at the heart of many of the most important struggles for civil liberties and civil rights in our state. The ACLU New Mexico has offices in Albuquerque and Las Cruces and a staff of 21 people. It has 13,000 members across the state and an annual budget of $1.8 million. 

The ACLU of New Mexico Legal Department pursues impact litigation and legal advocacy in order to defend and expand the civil rights guaranteed by our federal and state constitutions, including criminal justice, police practices, First Amendment rights, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ rights, and immigrants’ rights.


The ACLU of New Mexico seeks a dynamic, experienced, and thoughtful Legal Director to lead the Legal Department. The Legal Director will be responsible for developing and pursuing impact litigation and legal advocacy in coordination with local and national ACLU staff. The Legal Director will be supervised by the Executive Director and will work closely with other ACLU New Mexico staff to achieve organizational policy priorities.

The position is located in Albuquerque, a multicultural community that enjoys 300+ days of sunshine, a vibrant arts scene, and ample access to outdoor sports and activities.

Responsibilities include:

  • Develop vision and set overall strategy for the ACLU of New Mexico Legal Department.
  • Investigate and litigate high-impact civil rights cases. This includes fact-finding, legal research, drafting pleadings and briefs, discovery and motion practice, hearings and trials, and arguing appeals in both state and federal courts.
  • Supervise legal staff, oversee legal intake, delegate cases, provide mentorship, and ensure ongoing professional development.
  • Prepare legal memoranda and demand letters.
  • Review, comment on, and write amicus briefs.
  • Cultivate strong relationships with the members of the ACLU of New Mexico Legal Panel and volunteer attorneys and coordinate their work to expand the reach of the legal program.
  • Engage in public speaking to disseminate the ACLU’s views to a variety of audiences. This may include media interviews, panels at conferences, and in other speaking engagements.
  • Collaborate with staff in the policy, organizing, development, and communications departments.


The Legal Director will be an experienced and highly motivated attorney, a critical thinker who takes initiative but is also a team player, and a leader who deploys a solutions-oriented approach. The successful candidate will bring many of the following professional and personal qualities:

  • J.D. with civil litigation experience, preferably with a background in litigation raising constitutional, criminal justice, or discrimination issues.   
  • Excellent research, writing, analytical, and verbal communication skills.
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties, racial justice, and public interest law.
  • Firm commitment to the mission and principles of the ACLU.
  • A record of moving legal cases forward and demonstrated ability to build and manage an extensive caseload.
  • Excellent strategic thinking abilities and discernment for litigation opportunities.
  • Strong leadership skills, preferably with experience managing other attorneys.
  • Self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an aggressive schedule, working beyond 9-5 as needed.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively on a projects with lawyers, other staff members, and with diverse community organizations.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity within the office and a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences regarding race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, and record of arrest or conviction.
  • If not currently admitted to the New Mexico Bar, must be admitted to the bar of another state and agree to become admitted to the New Mexico Bar within one year of hire.

Compensation and benefits

Salary is commensurate with similarly-situated nonprofit advocacy organizations, based on experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits include health and dental insurance, a defined contribution retirement plan, and generous vacation, holiday, and medical leave policies.

Application Procedure

To apply, send a letter of application with salary requirements, resume, three references, and two writing samples via email to including in the subject line: “Legal Director Position.” In your cover letter, please indicate where you learned of this posting. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

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

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