Staff Attorney (Senior Level) - ACLU of Southern California

Affiliate Offices
March 8, 2018

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks applicants for a senior-level Staff Attorney position to focus civil and human rights concerns in the Kern County region, with a particular focus on immigrants’ rights and policing issues. The Staff Attorney will spend substantial time in Kern County and can be based in either Bakersfield or Los Angeles office of the ACLU SoCal.

Founded in 1923, the ACLU SoCal has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Santa Ana), and the Inland Empire (San Bernardino). ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including criminal justice, police practices, First Amendment rights, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, education equity, and economic justice.


The Staff Attorney will advocate on the full range of immigrants’ rights and policing issues on which the ACLU SoCal engages locally and statewide, in coordination with the Immigrant Rights and Police Practices team at the ACLU SoCal’s other office. For policing, that work may include advocacy on excessive force, racial profiling, civilian oversight and police discipline, surveillance, unlawful stops and searches, and other issues identified by the Staff Attorneys and the ACLU SoCal Police Practices team. For immigrants’ rights, that work includes addressing unlawful immigration enforcement practices, implementation of SB54 (California Values Act), and immigration detention center conditions.

The Staff Attorney will be supervised by the Director of the Police Practices Project and the Director of the Immigrants’ Rights Project at the ACLU SoCal, but will be part of both the Immigrants’ Rights Project and the Police Practices Project teams within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department. The Staff Attorney will be expected to work primarily on immigrants’ rights and policing issues, but also to work on other human and civil rights issues of concern to Kern County residents, as need arises. This position is funded for three years, with a possibility for future extension contingent upon additional funding.


Fulltime, Exempt


The ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal and policy advocacy for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Staff Attorney will work closely with both attorneys as well as other advocates in the Immigrants’ Rights and Police Practices teams on cases, advocacy projects, and campaigns. The attorney’s responsibilities will be to:

  • Lead the investigation, development and litigation of high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts;
  • Serve as lead and co-counsel and work in conjunction with other staff within the ACLU SoCal, the other two California ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations.
  • Supervise one junior level attorney and one paralegal and work in close coordination with the Kern County office’s community engagement and policy advocate.
  • Serve as a policy expert and advocate on state and local policing and immigration issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, outreach and "know your rights" presentations, as well as writing op-eds, newsletter articles, and reports.
  • Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates and organizers in the region.
  • Organize and lead community and stakeholder education events;
  • Run trainings for activists and organizers.
  • Help build and maintain coalitions.
  • Conduct outreach and advocacy to public officials.


The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring an experienced attorney with eight or more years’ experience.


  • Excellent research, writing, analytic and speaking skills.
  • Strong background in complex civil litigation in federal or state court.
  • Willingness to work beyond a standard 7.5 hour workday including evening and weekend meetings and to work weeks commonly in excess of 40 hours.
  • Willingness to travel regularly within Kern County and to Los Angeles as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.
  • Demonstrated commitment to or interest in the advancement of civil rights, human rights and racial justice.
  • Self-motivated and independent worker; can-do, positive attitude and approach; ability to think creatively; desire to work in a collaborative manner; ability to excel in a fast-paced environment.


  • Familiarity with or experience working in Kern County.
  • Experience in working with vulnerable communities, preferably with immigrants, incarcerated people, or indigent populations.
  • Supervisory and management experience.
  • Policy advocacy and/or legislative experience.
  • Spanish language fluency


Salary based on experience. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.


Please submit a resume, cover letter and a published writing sample to (NO Phone Calls PLEASE) with the subject title “Staff Attorney – Kern County (Senior-level)” or mail to:

HR Department – Staff Attorney – Kern County (Senior-level)
ACLU of Southern California
1313 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017


Open until filled.

The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. We consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, and encourage applications from women, people of color, persons with disabilities, LGBT individuals, veterans, and people with arrest records and/or convictions.

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