The ACLU Foundation of Alabama seeks a Legal Director to lead and expand its litigation and legal advocacy programs. Defending civil rights and civil liberties in the 21st century requires a new and creative approach to advocacy. The ACLU of Alabama seeks a Legal Director who is eager to shape and lead both impact litigation and non-litigation advocacy in our work, as well as play a critical role in helping to plan and execute new strategies for growth and service to new constituencies. The Legal Director will be a critical member of the organization’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to the Executive Director and providing strategic leadership and coordination regarding both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy.
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. While recognized as one of the nation’s leading public interest law firms, the ACLU’s strength lies in an integrated advocacy approach, which requires collaboration between our legal, advocacy, public education, and communications staff on comprehensive strategies to maximize impact.
Our priorities include ending mass incarceration, separating church and state, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, advancing racial justice, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, preserving the right to vote and the right to have an abortion.
The ACLU of Alabama is the local affiliate of the National ACLU. Founded in 1965, it is over 5000 members strong and is poised for growth and expansion.
Role of the Legal Director
The Legal Director is responsible for helping to set overall legal strategy to advance the mission of the organization, as well as for the day-to-day management of our legal program, including a staff attorney, cooperating attorneys, and the legal docket. The Legal Director also works with a Board-appointed Legal Committee of advisors to advance the advocacy goals of the organization.
The Legal Director has primary responsibility for coordinating the selection of cases based on ACLU policy, organizational priorities, and capacity. They also oversee the development of cases prior to the commencement of litigation and the conduct of litigation thereafter.
The Legal Director must be a creative, strategic and tactical thinker with a courageous and imaginative approach to advocacy. While the Legal Director may maintain an individual caseload, they primarily work with the staff attorney, National ACLU attorneys, and cooperating private attorneys in their litigation and advocacy efforts, aiding in case preparation where necessary. In addition, the Legal Director is a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, speaking regularly to print and broadcast journalists and at public forums, and otherwise advocating for civil rights and civil liberties both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion. At times, the Legal Director assists in fundraising efforts by participating in meetings with major donors, speaking at donor forums and events, and otherwise working with development staff to ensure consistent funding for our work.
The ACLU Foundation of Alabama expects the new Legal Director to proactively seek out and creatively develop, lead, and implement a strategic impact litigation program that advances key civil liberties by persuading state and federal courts, and regulatory agencies to recognize new or established legal principles. Specifically, the Legal Director will be expected to accomplish the following major objectives within the first 12-18 months on the job:
- Participate actively in regular strategic and tactical advocacy sessions in close partnership with the Executive Director, staff (both Affiliate and National), and board;
- Develop an aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket that advances the ACLU’s strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
- Provide systematic planning and reporting, including items such as budgets and regular status reports;
- Continue to build an organizational culture within the legal program that encourages an integrated advocacy approach;
- Broaden and deepen the relationships among the ACLU of Alabama’s core constituents and volunteer attorneys and help to increase the growth and visibility of the Affiliate.
While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:
- Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU;
- A minimum of 5 years of litigation experience at the state and federal levels, with a strong background in constitutional and civil rights litigation;
- Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward at all levels of the judiciary, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
- Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills;
- Significant experience representing and working with activists in grassroots and nongovernmental organizations;
- Experience working closely with a volunteer board of directors and nonprofit organizations;
- Alabama Bar admission is preferred but not required initially; the successful applicant will be required to obtain admission as soon as possible after hire.
- A deep personal commitment to and passion for advancing civil rights and civil liberties;
- Excellent organizational skills and a creative 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, courage and integrity.
Compensation and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU of Alabama: $60,000 - $100,000 DOE. Benefits include medical and disability insurance, 401(k) and vacation, holiday and sick leave.
All applications are treated confidentially. Interested candidates should send the following: (1) a letter of interest; (2) resume; (3) legal writing sample; and (4) list of three professional references, including contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Review of applications may begin as early as June 15, 2019, and continue until the position is filled.
The ACLU of Alabama is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Alabama encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to arrest or conviction, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status. Women, people of color, and LGBTQ individuals are strongly encouraged to apply.