Staff Attorney [SPT-11], ACLUF, Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, NY

National Offices, New York, NY
New York
January 5, 2017

Staff Attorney [SPT-11]
American Civil Liberties Union Foundation
Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project, 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 Speech, Privacy, and Technology (SPT) Project of the ACLU’s National office in New York City seeks applications for the full-time position of Staff Attorney.


The Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to strengthen democratic institutions and values, including the values of government transparency and accountability, and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The Center for Democracy includes—in addition to the Speech, Privacy and Technology Project—the Human Rights Project and the National Security Project, and also works closely with staff from the ACLU’s Communications Department, Affiliate Support and Advocacy Department, and Washington Legislative Office.

The Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project is dedicated to protecting and expanding the First Amendment freedoms of expression, association, and inquiry; expanding the right to privacy and increasing the control that individuals have over their personal information; and ensuring that civil liberties are enhanced rather than compromised by new advances in science and technology. The Project is currently litigating cases and conducting other advocacy efforts on a variety of issues, including political protest, freedom of expression online, privacy of electronic information, journalists’ rights, scientific freedom, and openness in the courts.


The Staff Attorney will contribute to all aspects of the Project's litigation and non-litigation work, including:

  • Litigating free speech, privacy, and technology-related civil liberties cases in federal courts including trial and appellate courts, researching and drafting pleadings and briefs, engaging in discovery and motion practice, and conducting evidentiary hearings and oral arguments.
  • Developing new cases and non-litigation advocacy projects relating to free speech, privacy, technology, and civil liberties.
  • Managing case development and conducting client and witness interviews.
  • Providing technical assistance and expert legal advice to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys and others who seek assistance from the Center.
  • Engaging in public speaking and articulating ACLU views to a variety of audiences on a broad range of civil liberties issues.
  • Serving as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work, and advancing ACLU policy goals through public education, organizing, and participating in coalitions.
  • Developing and writing advocacy materials for audiences comprising lawyers and non-lawyers.
  • Conducting legal research and writing legal memoranda.
  • Analyzing legislation for potential litigation.
  • Communicating with the media about the work of the ACLU's Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project and the work of the ACLU more generally.
  • Collaborating with other staff of the Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project and across the organization including other Projects within the ACLU's Legal Department, Communications, Affiliate Support and Advocacy, the Washington Legislative Office, and state affiliates.
  • Supervising legal fellows, law students, paralegals and legal administrative assistants.
  • Travel for various coalition meetings and conferences is required.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office;  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.


The applicant must possess the following qualifications:

  • A J.D. degree and three to five years of litigation experience, preferably including experience litigating cases involving free speech, privacy, technology, or civil liberties issues.
  • Admission to the New York bar preferred; other candidates will be expected to seek admission to the New York bar shortly after hiring.
  • A demonstrated commitment to public interest generally and civil liberties in particular.
  • Supervisory experience is preferred.
  • Excellent research, writing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to engage in complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Ability to manage cases without close supervision.
  • Experience dealing with the media.
  • Some travel is required.
  •  Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.


The ACLU offers compensation commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU attorney compensation scale.


Applications should consist of a cover letter, a resume, the names of two references, and two writing samples, at least one of which should be a legal research memo, brief, or article to: – reference [SPT-11/ACLU-W] in the subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to Speech, Privacy, and Technology Project postings. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.

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, and veteran status.   

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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