Sarah Dunne Named as New Legal Director for ACLU of Washington

Affiliate: ACLU of Washington
October 12, 2006 12:00 am

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SEATTLE — The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington today announced that it has hired Sarah Dunne as its new Legal Director. Dunne has more than a dozen years of public interest litigation and policy experience that includes race and sex discrimination cases in the Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice.

“The ACLU is very fortunate to have Sarah to lead our legal program,” said Kathleen Taylor, ACLU of Washington Executive Director. “She brings valuable experience, vibrant enthusiasm, and a strong devotion to basic rights for everyone.”

Previously with the law firm of Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, Dunne began work with the ACLU in October. As Legal Director, she supervises the ACLU of Washington’s large and active docket. The ACLU’s more than 40 current cases focus on a diverse range of civil liberties issues, including free speech, racial justice, religious freedom, due process, privacy, reproductive and women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, gay rights and voting rights. Dunne directs a seven-person legal team that includes senior staff attorneys Aaron Caplan and Nancy Talner and Skadden Arps Fellow Rose Spidell. Attorneys Andy Ko, Alison Holcomb and Doug Klunder, who direct special projects, will work with Dunne on litigation arising from their projects. The legal department also relies on the work of scores of pro bono attorneys, and help from numerous interns and volunteers.

“There have been moments in our history when civil liberties have been tested, and today is one such time. That makes the ACLU’s work more important than ever.” Dunne said.

Dunne comes to the ACLU with an English degree from Stanford University and a law degree from the University of Chicago, where she was president of the Chicago Law Foundation. She was recently honored by the Young Lawyers Division of the Washington State Bar Association with its Professionalism Award for substantial volunteer legal work at her law firm, where she served as pro bono coordinator.

As a trial attorney in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice for several years during the Clinton administration, Dunne litigated cases involving school desegregation, gender equity in athletics, special education, sexual and racial harassment, and retaliation.

Dunne grew up in south King County and came back to the state in 2003. While working at Hillis Clark Martin & Peterson in Seattle, she did extensive pro bono work on sex discrimination, voting rights and Title IX cases. She has also consulted on the ACLU of Washington’s education equity work. Dunne has been on the Legal Committee of the Northwest Women’s Law Center, and has been an active volunteer with Passages Northwest, Seattle Works and the Voter Protection Project.

“I started my law career in public interest law, and my goal has always been to come back to it,” Dunne said. “In many ways, this feels like coming home.”

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