The ACLU of New Jersey is looking to hire a Policy Counsel or Senior Policy Counsel based in its Newark office. The primary goal of this position is to provide legal and policy support to the ACLU-NJ’s dynamic work protecting and expanding civil rights and liberties across New Jersey. This full-time, non-litigation position is designed for lawyer-organizers who seek to use their legal and community organizing expertise in furtherance of the movement for social justice, with a particular focus on criminal justice and immigrants’ rights campaigns. The Policy Counsel/Senior Policy Counsel is supervised by the Policy Director.
The position requires strong legal research and analysis skills, legislative analysis and policy advocacy experience, coalition and organizing experience, and willingness to travel around the state. The ACLU-NJ operates on a model of integrated advocacy, using litigation, legislation, policy advocacy, community engagement, and organizing as mutually supportive tactics to advance civil rights. The Policy Counsel/Senior Policy Counsel will work in the ACLU-NJ Policy Department and will work closely with ACLU communications and legal staff, as well as with National ACLU counterparts. This position presents an opportunity to make a lasting contribution to civil rights and civil liberties in New Jersey.
The ACLU-NJ, headquartered in Newark with a full-time staff of 25, 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 who are gender diverse, 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.
- Conduct legal and policy research and analysis related to the ACLU-NJ’s advocacy campaigns, and other public policy goals.
- Serve as a policy expert and advocate on criminal justice and immigrants’ rights issues.
- Prepare and deliver testimony at public hearings.
- Draft written policy documents including legislation, regulatory comments, policy papers, reports, know-your-rights guides, fact sheets, advocacy letters, op-eds, social media and web content, and other public education and advocacy materials.
- Facilitate and coordinate ACLU-NJ coalitions, and participate as an ACLU-NJ representative in coalitions run by external partners.
- Lobby local, state, and federal policymakers. Assist in mobilizing and organizing with impacted people and communities, ACLU membership, and allies in New Jersey to take action and advance the goals of ACLU-NJ campaigns.
- Enhance organizing and leadership capacity within directly impacted communities; and help recruit, train, and manage ACLU-NJ members and volunteers to support campaign goals.
- Develop public education materials and conduct trainings to support and prepare community members, activists, volunteers, and ACLU-NJ members to advance campaign goals and engage in actions.
- Represent the ACLU-NJ in coalition spaces, meetings, tabling events, and public education engagements.
- Provide logistical support for advocacy strategies initiatives across departments.
- Other duties as assigned.
Experience & Qualifications
- Commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, and structural power analysis, with knowledge and understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, language, immigration status, national origin, and socio-economic circumstances.
- Law degree required and admission to New Jersey bar preferable.
- Demonstrated experience in organizing, legal analysis, public policy, social justice advocacy, and/or work on issue or political campaigns.
- Applicants with 8 years of relevant experience will be eligible for a Senior Policy Counsel position
- Excellent legal research, writing and oral communication skills, including public speaking skills;
- Familiarity with the legislative process, and experience working in and with coalitions to achieve public policy goals.
- Outstanding interpersonal and communication skills, including an ability to navigate and resolve conflict in a manner that values and respects relationships with colleagues inside and outside the ACLU-NJ.
- Strong organizational and time management skills, and attention to detail.
- Self-motivation, with a demonstrated ability to manage projects and follow-through with minimal direct supervision.
- A positive attitude and the ability to maintain balance and perspective even when encountering interpersonal or strategic challenges.
- Experience working collaboratively and coordinating responsibilities with colleagues on projects and campaigns.
- Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.
- Ability to manage a demanding schedule, working beyond 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends when needed.
- Ability to work independently and keep organized in a fast-paced environment, manage several projects simultaneously, meet deadlines, and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Ability and willingness to travel throughout the state of New Jersey, and occasionally to other states for conferences and training.
The ACLU-NJ offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and in line with the ACLU-NJ compensation scale. Benefits for first-year employees 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 application form below and upload a resume and letter of interest. 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. Mailed applications should be sent c/o Policy Department. 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.