Staff Attorney, South Dakota Chapter of the ACLU [ASD-92]

National Offices, South Dakota
South Dakota
May 11, 2018


Staff Attorney, South Dakota Chapter of the ACLU [ASD-92]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

South Dakota and North Dakota and Wyoming

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.

Headquartered in Sioux Falls, SD, the ACLU-SD defends civil liberties and civil rights in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming through litigation, legislation, and public education.


Under the supervision of the Legal Director, the Staff Attorney will develop and litigate cases and participate in non-litigation advocacy to advance civil liberties and civil rights in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming and in partnership with the national ACLU. This is a remarkable opportunity for a politically astute and strategic attorney who understands the value of both litigation and non-litigation advocacy.  During legislative sessions, the staff attorney will be asked to develop legal opinions on proposed legislation and support the Policy Directors in South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming as needed.


  • Engage in all aspects of litigation: manage and develop significant litigation in federal and state court including trial and appellate court litigation, prepare and respond to written discovery requests, take and defend depositions, engage in motion practice, write briefs, present oral arguments, and conduct trials.
  • Develop relationships and work with a team of cooperating attorneys, including those at other public interest organizations.
  • Supervise law students, interns, and volunteers.
  • Manage and oversee the intake process, supervise intake database administration; regularly review and handle complaint intake for potential action; strategize and execute or monitor intake-related actions.
  • In conjunction with the South Dakota, North Dakota, and Wyoming Policy Directors, work on integrated advocacy campaigns on priority civil liberties’ issues. Work closely with legal and non-legal program staff, particularly legislative, communications, and advocacy staff members both at National ACLU and affiliate offices.
  • Provide legal research as needed on legislative proposals.
  • Represent the ACLU at hearings and meetings, public forums, task forces, workgroups and conferences when appropriate.
  • Engage in public speaking, including representing ACLU positions to the media and public collaboration with the Communications Director.
  • Provide regular and timely updates and reports to the Legal Director and/or Executive Director.
  • Meet with individual donors to discuss the Legal Program as necessary and in conjunction with the Executive Director.
  • 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, sex, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Perform other related duties as assigned.


  • A J.D. with at least 3 years of litigation experience; preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience in constitutional or public interest law and/or federal court litigation. Extraordinary candidates with less experience may be considered.
  • Must be licensed to practice law and in good standing in the South Dakota Bar or eligible for admission by test or waiver within one year of hire.
  • Commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals and programs, with a broad appreciation for and a sensitivity to the culture and traditions of the organization and an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote integrated advocacy campaigns. 
  • Skilled in managerial and administrative tasks related to litigation, including supervising volunteers and coordinating with others inside and outside the ACLU.
  • Ability to work with diverse clients and to develop impact litigation.
  • Exceptional initiative, self-starter, vision and ability to develop and implement short and long-term integrated advocacy strategies.
  • Ability to handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities and the ability to work under pressure.
  • A team player who works collaboratively and shares responsibility and credit.
  • Commitment to the highest ethical standards of legal practice.
  • Ability to work evening and weekend hours and travel throughout the states as needed.


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


Please send a cover letter, resume and a relevant legal writing sample to  Reference [ASD-92] in 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 job 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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