Staff Attorney [CJ-17], ACLUF, Trone Center for Justice and Equality, New York

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
May 5, 2017

Career Opportunity
Staff Attorney [CJ-17]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Trone Center for Justice and Equality, New York

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, age, disability, or national origin.

The American Civil Liberties Union is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney, who will work in the Trone Center for Justice and Equality (Trone Center). The position is based in New York City and will focus on developing and executing litigation and advocacy related to policing in America. The attorney will work with colleagues from the Trone Center and will report to the Director of the Trone Center. 


The Trone Center is comprised of four Projects/Programs; the Capital Punishment Project (CPP), the National Prison Project (NPP), the Racial Justice Program (RJP), and the Criminal Law Reform Project (CLRP). These projects allow us to focus our work on the critical aspects of the system that must be challenged and changed to achieve true “criminal justice.” All four Projects/Programs rely on strategic litigation, advocacy, public education, and communications to advance their goals. They also conduct lawyer trainings, participate in public education conferences, and provide expert advice and technical assistance to activists and lawyers throughout the country. They work with state affiliates to advance their criminal justice agendas.

The Trone Center also works closely with the Campaign for Smart Justice (CSJ), which is committed to a 50 percent reduction in the nation’s jail and prison populations and to challenging racial disparities in the criminal justice system. The CSJ seeks to reform the nation’s system of mass incarceration that severely limits the ability of people, disproportionately people of color, to participate in the social, political, and economic life of this country. For more information on the Trone Center for Justice and Equality, please visit


The Staff Attorney will work closely with the others working in the Trone Center and throughout the ACLU to develop and execute litigation and advocacy to achieve bias-free and constitutional policing carried out with the most minimal use of force possible. Specific responsibilities will include but will not be limited to:

  • Litigating in state and federal courts, including appellate courts, throughout the country, including researching and drafting pleadings and briefs, engaging in discovery and motion practice, and conducting evidentiary hearings, oral arguments, and trials.

  • Investigating practices of police departments and other law enforcement agencies for potential litigation and/or advocacy work.

  • Providing technical assistance and expert legal advice to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys, and others who seek assistance from the Trone Center.

  • Developing new cases and non-litigation advocacy projects.

  • Serve as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work and advancing ACLU policy goals through public education, organizing and participating in coalitions.

  • Collaborate with staff across the organization, including in other projects within the ACLU’s Legal Department, Communications, Affiliate Support and Advocacy, the Washington Legislative Office and state affiliates.

  • Engaging in public speaking and articulating ACLU views to a variety of audiences.

  • Supervising legal fellows, interns, legal administrative assistants and paralegals.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.

  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.


Applicants should possess the following qualifications:

  • J.D. degree and a minimum of seven years of litigation experience, preferably in federal court, including experience as lead counsel. Individuals with more experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Responsibilities will be commensurate with experience and demonstrated skill level.

  • Experience working with or in communities most impacted by police practices is preferred.

  • Familiarity with criminal justice and policing issues (i.e., as a criminal defense lawyer, formerly incarcerated person, or prosecutor) is desirable.

  • Appropriate bar membership permitting practice in New York.

  • A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties, racial justice, and public interest law.

  • A demonstrated ability to work independently as well as within a team. Ability to foster and contribute to a collaborative team environment is essential.

  • Attorneys with knowledge of or experience with disability rights are strongly encouraged to apply.

  • Excellent legal research skills.

  • Demonstrated ability to perform complex legal analytical work.

  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and writing.

  • Self-motivated, diligent, and able to meet strict deadlines while under pressure.

  • Ability to travel.

  • Commitment to mission of the ACLU.


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


Please send a cover letter, current resume, the names and contact information of three references, and at least one legal writing sample by email to: and reference [CJ-17/ACLU] in the subject line.

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

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. 

If you would like to be considered for one of the other positions in the Trone Center for Justice and Equality [CJ-06, CLRP-25 or CJ-11], please send an email to  It is not necessary to submit application materials for each individual position.

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 description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The 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, and veteran status.

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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