Staff Attorney [RJP-13], Racial Justice Program, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
June 11, 2018

Staff Attorney [RJP-13]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Racial Justice Program, 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, 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 one 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, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.

The Racial Justice Program of the National office in New York City is seeking applicants for the full-time position of Staff Attorney.



The ACLU's Racial Justice Program challenges racial discrimination and other practices and policies that have a direct or disparate impact on communities of color with a particular emphasis on education and criminal justice and economic justice issues.

RJP seeks to ensure that all children have access to equal, high quality educational opportunities, regardless of race or ethnicity. Likewise, RJP is dedicated to exposing and eliminating discriminatory practices and policies which have a disproportionate impact on communities of color throughout the criminal justice system, particularly those that criminalize poverty by subjecting indigent people to jailing because of an inability to pay court fines and fees. RJP has worked to assure that persons of color have access to economic opportunities in the areas of government programs and access to fair credit home and home ownership.

Recognizing the potential of new forms of discrimination resulting from the rapid advance of digital technology, RJP has increasingly turned its attention to taking steps to monitoring and taking action to counter the discriminatory effects of digital platforms. RJP also seeks to expand its work on providing protection against discrimination for Native American individuals and tribes. And we want to explore cutting edge ideas for new litigation strategies to advance racial justice.

In furtherance of these goals, R.JP, often working with the ACLU's 53 affiliates nationwide, has filed lawsuits challenging disparate educational opportunities, pre- and post- 9/11 racial profiling, policies and practices which push children out of the education system into the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, unfair lending practices and a range of police and criminal justice system practices which have a particularly adverse impact on communities of color. R.JP has also engaged in other innovative advocacy and public education efforts including the development of resource materials and web sites addressing a number of racial justice issues. RJP is part of the ACLU Trone Center for Justice and Equality, which also includes the ACLU's work on criminal justice reform, eliminating the death penalty and upholding the rights of those who are incarcerated in American prisons and jails.



  • Litigate in trial and appellate courts, both state and federal, including writing and reviewing briefs, motion papers, and affidavits, preparing witnesses and taking and defending depositions.
  • Conduct legal research and fact investigations to identify racial justice issues subject to legal challenge.
  • Develop new cases and identify and work with potential plaintiffs and witnesses;
  • Support and advise ACLU affiliates, coalition partners and racial justice bar on legal and policy issues.
  • Work closely with legal and non-legal program staff, particularly legislative, communications, and advocacy staff members to advance racial justice.
  • Develop relationships with other advocates, lawyers, and potential clients.
  • Conduct outreach to Native American communities and explore additional Indian rights issues – including, but not limited to, cases in areas such as criminal justice, education, or rights under an Indian Treaty.
  • Supervise paralegals, administrative assistants, legal fellows, law students, and junior attorneys.
  • Work on funding proposals, reports and donor solicitations as requested.
  • Travel as required for litigation, conferences, speaking engagements, and client development. 
  • 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.



  • J.D. degree is required. A minimum of five (5) years of experience is strongly preferred. Individuals with significantly more experience are also encouraged to apply. Those with ten or more years of experience will have the title Senior Staff Attorney. 
  • If not currently admitted to the New York Bar, candidate must be admitted to the bar of another state and agree to become admitted to the New York Bar within one year of hire.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial justice issues and public interest law preferred.
  • Knowledge of criminal and racial justice law is preferred.
  • Experience in the representation of Native Americans and knowledge of laws relating to Indian tribes is a plus.
  • Superior analytical skills and excellent research and writing skills are required.
  • Demonstrated ability to write and to speak clearly and persuasively are essential. 
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people and foster a team environment.
  • Ability and willingness to travel is required.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.



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



Please submit letter of interest, current resume, names and telephone numbers of two references, and a legal writing sample (either a legal memo or a section of a legal brief) by email to – reference [RJP-13] in the subject line. 


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.


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, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, record of arrest or conviction, and veteran status.

People with personal experience being incarcerated or otherwise impacted by the criminal justice system are strongly encouraged to apply.   

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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