Staff Attorney [LGLF-33] - ACLUF, National Legal Department, New York, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
April 25, 2017


Career Opportunity
Staff Attorney [LGLF-33]
American Civil Liberties Union
National Legal Department, 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 to work in the National Legal Department, in collaboration with the National Legal Director. The position will be based in New York City and/or Washington and will focus on the work of the National Legal Department, with the opportunity to work with the legal projects and programs that are in need of additional expertise. The Staff Attorney will report to the National Legal Director. This is a 2-year limited duration position with the possibility of extension. For more information on the ACLU’s Legal Centers, Projects and Programs please visit:


The ACLU National Legal Department is comprised of three Centers, each of which has four to five subject matter projects, including the Immigrants’ Rights Project, Women’s Rights Project, Racial Justice Program, and Program of Freedom and Religious Belief. The national office supervises the work of all the projects and handles all of the ACLU’s Supreme Court work, whether it arises in a national project or an affiliate. In addition, the national office manages the national legal department and advises and assists on trial and appellate court litigation on an as-needed basis.


  • Assist in ACLU Supreme Court litigation, including merits briefing, amicus briefing, and certiorari practice. 
  • Assist in managing the National Legal Department of the ACLU.
  • Litigate 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 and oral arguments.
  • Analyze legislation and investigate factual/legal circumstances for potential litigation and/or advocacy work.
  • Develop strategies to advance ACLU priorities and monitor the strategies of our adversaries.
  • Develop 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.
  • Provide assistance and advice to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys, and others who seek assistance from the National Legal Office. 
  • Engage in public speaking and articulating ACLU views to a variety of audiences.
  • Supervise legal fellows, graduate students, paralegals, legal administrative assistants, and interns.
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization, including in the projects within the ACLU’s Legal Department, Communications, Affiliate Support and Advocacy, the Washington Legislative Office and state affiliates.
  • 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 working collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • J.D. degree and a minimum of three to five years of litigation experience, preferably in federal court, including experience as lead counsel. Management experience is a plus.  Responsibilities will be commensurate with experience and demonstrated skill level.
  • Appropriate bar membership permitting practice in New York or Washington, D.C.
  • Familiarity with Supreme Court and appellate practice, and constitutional law.
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform complex legal analytical work.
  • Self-motivated, diligent, and able to meet strict deadlines while under pressure.
  • Willingness to travel.
  • A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties, civil rights, and public interest law.


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: Reference [LGLF-33/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.

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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