The ACLU of New Jersey is looking for an experienced, creative, and collaborative attorney to develop, lead, and supervise litigation and related advocacy and to assist in the management of the legal department.
The senior staff attorney will work on the full range of the ACLU-NJ’s priorities and issues, litigating in trial and appellate courts and advocating in an array of venues including state agencies, school districts, and municipalities. The person will also be responsible for supervising the work of staff attorneys and legal fellows and will be expected to play a leadership role in the legal department. The attorney will represent the ACLU-NJ publicly through speaking engagements and media interviews, and collaborate with staff in other departments to set goals and implement strategies that advance the ACLU-NJ’s priorities. This is a full-time, newly-created position, reporting to the Legal Director. It requires a commitment to advancing racial equity internally and externally and to working in authentic partnership with communities of color.
The ACLU-NJ, headquartered in Newark with a full-time staff of about 20, works in every corner of our state to defend the principles of civil rights and individual liberties. The ACLU-NJ values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages applications from all qualified applicants, including women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness, people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal justice, child welfare, or immigration systems, and people who have personal experience with other issues we work on.
- Investigate, develop, and litigate impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court and administrative forums. All staff attorneys are responsible for identifying possible litigation and advocacy; conducting factual and legal research; identifying, interviewing, and counseling clients and witnesses; writing demand letters; drafting pleadings, motions, and briefs; conducting discovery; presenting oral arguments; negotiating settlements; handling appeals; and writing amicus briefs.
- Play a leading role in the advocacy work of the legal department and the broader integrated advocacy campaigns of the organization. Demonstrate leadership by initiating cases, projects, and programs that are inclusive and responsive to community needs and that expand the ACLU-NJ’s impact.
- Supervise the work of other attorneys and assist in the review and evaluation of requests for legal assistance.
- Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU with the press and as a public speaker. Write editorials, blogs, and other external communications materials.
- Engage with coalition partners, legislators, legislative staff, and community representatives working on similar issues.
- Participate in the ACLU-NJ’s internal and external race equity work and in strategic planning for and management of the legal department.
- Assist with staff, internship, and fellowship recruitment and interview process, as needed, and with recruiting volunteer attorneys.
- Prepare administrative and grant reports, provide administrative and organizational support as needed, and adhere to internal systems for attorney recordkeeping and information sharing.
Experience and Qualifications
The ideal candidate will be a team player with a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial justice. We seek a seasoned litigator with extensive experience with all aspects of complex litigation; significant experience with civil rights laws and criminal justice policy; substantial experience in public engagement and public speaking; experience mentoring and supervising attorneys; and an eagerness to work effectively in a public interest environment, including a willingness to be flexible and responsive to organizational needs. Requirements include:
- J.D. with significant litigation experience, preferably at least eight years, including managing complex civil rights cases;
- Licensed to practice law in New Jersey or willingness to take the bar at the next sitting, if admission by motion is not available;
- A strong understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, constitutional law, civil liberties, civil rights, and the mission of the ACLU. Experience in non-profit advocacy or with other advocacy groups is a plus;
- A demonstrated ability to work respectfully and effectively with coalitions and community groups, mentor more junior attorneys, and work collaboratively across the political and socioeconomic spectrum;
- A strong commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, and incorporating a structural power analysis into work, with knowledge and understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances;
- Exceptional analytical, legal research, negotiation, writing, and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate complex issues and communicate them respectfully and effectively to a variety of audiences;
- Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other staff members, and with community organizers and coalitions;
- Ability to manage a demanding schedule, working beyond 9 a.m.-5 p.m. as needed;
- Ability and willingness to travel throughout the state of New Jersey, and occasionally to other states for conferences and training;
- Knowledge of languages likely to be spoken by clients with limited English proficiency is a plus, but not required.
The ACLU-NJ offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and in line with the ACLU-NJ compensation scale. Benefits currently include 16 days paid time off in addition to 11 office holidays and 12 health care leave days; medical, vision, and dental insurance; life and long-term disability insurance; pre-tax transit benefits; and 401(k) plan with employer match.
To apply, complete the form below, and upload a resume, detailed letter of interest, and writing sample (no longer than 10 double-spaced pages). Your letter should explain ways in which you satisfy the skills and qualifications specified above. We also invite applicants to include in their letter information about how their background and/or experiences could contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and advocacy work.
Application materials will also be accepted via postal mail, but electronic filing is strongly preferred. Applications will be reviewed beginning December 3. The position will remain open until filled.
The ACLU-NJ is an equal opportunity employer and embraces diversity, including those characteristics protected by law and beyond. We are committed to building a team that represents a variety of backgrounds, perspectives, and skills, and we value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The more inclusive we are, the better we are.