Staff Attorney [CL-03] , ACLUF, Center for Liberty, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
March 22, 2017

Staff Attorney [CL-03]
Center for Liberty, NY

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, 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 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 or expression, age, disability or national origin.

The Center for Liberty of the ACLU’s National Office in New York City seeks applications for the full-time position of Staff Attorney.


The ACLU’s Center for Liberty encompasses the ACLU’s work on women’s rights, reproductive freedom, LGBT rights, freedom of religion and belief, and disability rights.  The Center for Liberty is dedicated to the principle that we are all entitled to determine the course of our lives based on who we are and what we believe, free from unreasonable government constraint and baseless stereotypes. 

The Center for Liberty’s priorities include the following: ensuring that anti-discrimination laws and other protected liberties are not undermined by unwarranted claims for exemptions and accommodations based on religious or moral objections;, protecting the right to abortion; creating and safeguarding civil rights protections for LGBT people; ensuring women’s equal opportunity in employment and education and freedom from violence; ensuring that laws and governmental practices neither promote religion nor interfere with its free exercise; and promoting the rights of people with disabilities in schools, at the ballot box, and in the criminal justice system. The Center furthers its priorities and program work using litigation, advocacy, and communications strategies.

The Center seeks an attorney to work on the issues it addresses, with a priority focus on combatting efforts to use religion to discriminate.  These efforts take many forms today. In the name of religion, inns and stores claim a right to turn away customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, religion rather than medicine governs care in some religiously affiliated hospitals, schools assert a right to fire pregnant women if they are unmarried, religiously affiliated entities receiving government grants assert a right to discriminate when deciding who to hire and who to serve, and medical professionals advocate for the right to deny referrals and care.

The attorney will be part of a team addressing efforts to use religion to discriminate that includes litigators, state and federal advocates and communications staff.  The ACLU, through the Center for Liberty, is unique in the country in addressing the question of religious refusals from the perspective of religion, LGBT equality, reproductive rights, and women’s rights.  The attorney will work on other Center priorities and issue areas as assigned. 


 Engage in litigation in federal and state court, including drafting pleadings, briefs, and affidavits.

  • Conduct discovery and motion practice, handle hearings and trials, argue appeals in both federal and state courts.

  • Manage case development and conduct client and witness interviews.

  • Conduct legal research and write legal memoranda.

  • Provide technical assistance and legal advice to ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys and others who seek assistance from the Center.

  • Develop strategies to advance Center for Liberty priorities, and monitor the strategies of our adversaries.

  • Write and produce monthly domestic and quarterly international newsletters addressing religious freedom and equal treatment.

  • Engage in public speaking, including at conferences and with the media.

  • 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.

  • Develop relationships with other advocates, lawyers, academics, and potential clients to further advocacy goals.

  • Travel as required for litigation, conferences, and case and strategy development.

  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office; use 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.

  • Work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles/and or conflicts.

  • Supervise law student interns and other staff.


  • J.D. degree and a minimum of two years of legal experience required.

  • Admission to the New York State Bar required.  If not currently admitted to the New York Bar, admission to the bar of another state and agreement to become admitted to the New York Bar within one year of hire.

  • Excellent research, writing and verbal communication skills.

  • Ability to engage in complex legal analysis and fact finding.

  • Demonstrated ability to write and to speak clearly and persuasively. 

  • Ability to work with a wide range of people and foster a team environment.

  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU .

  • Willingness to travel.


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


Individuals interested in applying should send a letter of interest, current resume, law school transcript, legal writing sample, and names and telephone numbers of three references to –reference [CL-03-ACLU-W] 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.

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, 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 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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