Phoenix, Arizona



The ACLU of Arizona—a leader in the fight against mass incarceration, voter suppression, discrimination in public education, and threats to LGBTQ equality and immigrants’ rights—is seeking a full-time Policy Director.  The ideal candidate is an experienced policy advocate and manager with a talent for bringing together diverse voices to advance winning advocacy strategies. We need someone who will be an influential and prominent presence at the state capitol and in city hall, who has lobbying and policy experience, and who knows how to build relationships with legislators and other elected officials.  We’re seeking a candidate who has a strong understanding of racial justice issues and commitment to centering the voices and lived experiences of directly impacted communities in the development and implementation of advocacy strategies. The Policy Director is a permanent position based in our Phoenix office and reports to the Political Director.

What the Policy Director Does:

Develops our legislative program and implements our policy agenda.

  • Oversee, develop and implement our long-term policy agenda at the state and local levels, with special emphasis on decarceration and ending discrimination in public schools.
  • Lobby full-time during session: track and analyze legislative proposals, draft legislation and amendments, prepare and deliver testimony and supporting material, create meaningful bi-partisan relationships with lawmakers, agency and department heads and government staff.
  • Analyze model legislation from around the country in our strategic issue areas and prepare Arizona-specific proposals.
  • Determine which lobbying strategies, tactics, and messengers are most likely to convince targeted elected officials to support our policy agenda.
  • Collaborate with political, organizing, legal, and communications staff to execute integrated advocacy campaigns that achieve meaningful policy wins.

Develops broad-based relationships and coalitions.

  • Develop policy proposals based on the suggestions and input of individuals most directly impacted by our work and most often excluded from the lawmaking process.
  • Build, lead and participate in diverse coalitions and stakeholder groups.
  • Identify opportunities for bi-partisan collaboration that will advance our policy goals.
  • Collaborate with national ACLU staff who have policy expertise in relevant issue areas.

Manages our policy team.

  • Supervise a Policy Associate and Criminal Justice Staff Attorney, including developing and overseeing their work and project plans and supporting their professional development.
  • Oversee an annual research project that analyzes emerging trends and legislative threats to civil liberties from around the country that are expected to come to Arizona in the near future.
  • Communicate our policy positions and legislative work.
  • Serve as a spokesperson with the Executive Director on policy issues to the media.       
  • Give presentations and timely updates to community members and partners about our policy agenda and legislative priorities.
  • Collaborate with communications staff as they develop reports, talking points, and message guidance related to priority policy positions and pending legislation.

Qualifications: Our “must have’s”

  • Bachelor’s degree, JD preferred or equivalent skill drafting, interpreting, and analyzing laws.
  • At least two years of experience in legislative, political, or relevant policy-related work, preferably in Arizona.
  • Substantial knowledge of civil liberties and civil rights policies.
  • A commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals.
  • Experience supervising staff and leading teams; ability to listen, guide and support people.
  • Demonstrated ability to build and sustain relationships with diverse groups, work cooperatively with communities across the political spectrum and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Experience with policy and legislative analysis and research.
  • A clear understanding of the dynamics of personal and political influence.
  • Familiarity with grasstops/roots and electoral tactics and experience building coalitions.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills with the ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues clearly and tactfully to a variety of audiences.
  • Ability to work independently, keep organized and manage several projects simultaneously.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the highest ethical standards of lobbying and professionalism.
  • Able to work long hours during session and commute to meetings and events across the state.


The ACLU-AZ offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience, and competitive with public interest salaries.  Benefits include three weeks paid vacation; 100%-employer paid medical and dental insurance, life and long-term disability insurance; 401(k); and twelve paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Please submit a letter of interest, resume, and three professional references including their email, phone and relationship to you.  Send electronic materials to Office Manager Beth Thomson-Gorman at: lizabethtg@acluaz.org and please reference “Policy Director” in the email subject line.  You can submit hard copies to ACLU of Arizona, Re: Policy Director, P.O. Box 17148, Phoenix, AZ 85011.  Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.

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 contact: drobinson@acluaz.org. 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.


Applications will be reviewed beginning September 24 and accepted until the position is filled, at which time announcement will be removed from our website: www.acluaz.org/careers


For the past nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been at the forefront of every major civil liberties fight in our country’s history. 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, 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 in the courts, legislatures, and through community engagement to ensure that all individuals’ rights are protected. 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 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.

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 of Arizona comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona and the ACLU Foundation of Arizona. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation of Arizona are statewide organizations with the same overall mission; they share office space and employees. The ACLU of Arizona 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-AZ.” 


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