Location

Phoenix

Department

Legal

Deadline date

Open until filled

OVERVIEW

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of every major civil liberties fight in our country’s history. Whether it’s reducing the prison and jail population, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ community, reducing immigration detention, or ending unjust laws that strip people of their fundamental right to vote due to criminal convictions, we take up the toughest civil liberties issues to defend all individuals from government abuse and overreach. With ACLU affiliate offices in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico, we fight tirelessly to defend our rights in the courts, influence public policy, and empower communities to advance rights for all. We are a passionate, highly motivated group of lawyers, public policy experts, lobbyists, community organizers, and fundraisers, and we’re looking for exceptional talent to join our team.

This is an incredibly exciting time to join the ACLU. Membership in Arizona has increased from 5,000 before the November 2016 election to over 18,000 today. In celebration of our 100th anniversary in 2020, the ACLU is building a more expansive advocacy infrastructure to increase the ACLU’s effectiveness in achieving its public policy objectives. We’re centering the leadership of impacted people and making space for them to come to the table, meet with decision-makers, and push for reforms. The organization is growing rapidly and has identified critical legal, advocacy, and communications objectives that need proactive campaigns to succeed.

The ACLU of Arizona seeks a talented leader with strong litigation and management skills to lead our pro-active, high-impact legal program, continue to build our in-house litigation capacity, and leverage existing cross-departmental resources to make an even greater impact on the civil liberties landscape in Arizona.

Founded in 1959, the ACLU of Arizona is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, public interest organization dedicated to the defense and expansion of civil liberties and civil rights in Arizona. Our four strategic priority areas are: criminal justice reform, educational equity, LGBTQ equality, and immigrants’ rights. The ACLU of Arizona has 22 staff members, 17 board members, approximately 18,000 members, and an annual budget of $3.2 million, including resources to hire three new positions in FYE 2020.

POSITION OVERVIEW:

Reporting to the Executive Director, the Legal Director will lead and expand the ACLU of Arizona’s legal program, including developing and litigating high-impact cases and managing the legal department. The Legal Director will be responsible for setting the overall legal strategy to advance the ACLU of Arizona’s mission, as well as handling the day-to-day management of legal staff, volunteers, and cooperating attorneys. As a critical member of the organization’s senior management team, the Legal Director will provide strategic leadership on both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy in priority areas of criminal justice, immigrants’ rights, education, and LGBTQ equality, as well as other areas including First Amendment rights. In addition, the Legal Director works in close coordination with our policy, organizing, and communications teams, the national ACLU staff, and other local and national partners to advance our advocacy goals.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Maintain and continue to develop our aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket, which advances the ACLU of Arizona’s strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
  • Manage all aspects of the ACLU of Arizona’s litigation program, including coordinating the selection of cases, overseeing the investigation and development of cases before commencing litigation; building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, private lawyers, and nonprofit partners; directly engaging in litigation in federal and state court; and overseeing ongoing litigation;
  • Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation and amicus briefs, including overseeing and directing pre-litigation investigations, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, and appellate work, and work with staff attorneys and cooperating attorneys on all work within the ACLU of Arizona legal program;
  • Supervise three staff attorneys, one paralegal, fellows, and numerous law student and undergraduate interns; handle recruiting and hiring for additional legal staff (budget permitting); and fostering an organizational culture within the legal program that encourages staff development through internal and external resources;
  • Broaden and deepen relationships with the ACLU of Arizona’s volunteer attorneys and other lawyers in the Arizona community to ensure the visibility of the ACLU of Arizona in the Arizona legal community (and beyond) and to help build our legal docket, including by engaging lawyers in pre-litigation investigations, amicus briefs, litigation, and other ACLU activities;
  • Work with the Legal Panel, which includes Board members and Board-appointed lawyers, to approve litigation and amicus briefs and to advance organizational and departmental goals, including staff attorney development;
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other ACLU of Arizona departments on cross-departmental projects and serve as a resource on legal matters for staff, partners, and other ACLU of Arizona constituents;
  • Serve as a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, working closely with our outreach and communications team to regularly engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities; and
  • Provide systemic and strategic planning and reporting, including developing budgets, providing regular reports on legal department activities for the Board, and supporting reporting on grants with legal department deliverables.

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences;
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU;
  • 8-10 years of trial and appellate litigation experience in state and federal courts, including class actions, with a strong background in constitutional law and civil rights;
  • Admitted to the Arizona Bar or eligible for admission under Arizona Supreme Court Rule 34(f) (admission on motion);
  • Management experience in recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse, high-performing litigation team;
  • Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward from investigation and development and through all levels of the courts, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
  • Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills;
  • Experience working closely with a volunteer board of directors and non-profit organizations, including allies from across the political spectrum;
  • Experience representing and working with activists, grassroots groups and other non-governmental organizations;
  • Excellent organizational skills and a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving and litigation;
  • Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization;
  • A team-building and collegial management style, including effective communications skills, a warm personal style that commands respect, and a good sense of humor; and
  • Courage and integrity.

COMPENSATION:

Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of ACLU of Arizona’s salary scale. Excellent benefits include three weeks’ paid vacation, 100% employer-paid medical and dental insurance, 401(k) plan with an employer match, life and long-term disability insurance, and generous paid holidays.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE:

Please submit a cover letter to gtorres@acluaz.org that illustrates your commitment to civil liberties and civil rights, a current resume, a legal writing sample, and contact information for three professional references. Include “Legal Director Search” in the subject line and specify how you heard about the posting. No phone calls or walk-ins, please.

Hard copy materials may also be sent to the attention of “Legal Director Search,” ACLU of Arizona, P.O. Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011.

The ACLU of Arizona is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Arizona 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 or record of arrest or conviction.

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