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 Foundation of Arizona seeks an experienced attorney to build, file, and litigate complex civil actions in state and federal court around our four key priority issues: immigrants’ rights, criminal justice reform, education equity, and LGBTQ equality. This attorney position will increase our capacity to push forward our affirmative litigation agenda as well as engage in fast-moving, defensive battles against the Trump administration’s policies.

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. 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.


The staff attorney will be responsible for maintaining an active docket of their own cases, typically with assistance from outside cooperating attorneys. The staff attorney will investigate, file, and litigate civil liberties and civil rights cases in both federal and state courts on a wide range of issues. Duties include legal research, investigative work, identifying and signing up plaintiffs, complaint drafting, discovery and motion practice, and handling trials and appeals. The staff attorney will also conduct community outreach as needed and supervise law students and volunteer attorneys. Along with other professional staff members, the staff attorney will represent the ACLU publicly, speaking to the media and others.

While the staff attorney will be responsible for engaging in pro-active litigation around our strategic priority areas, they also will be expected to work closely with communications staff and policy advocates in support of the ACLU of Arizona’s integrated advocacy model, which unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact. Much of that work will focus on immigration-related litigation and advocacy, including addressing unlawful immigration enforcement practices, challenging inhumane conditions of confinement in short- and long-term immigration detention facilities, reducing immigration detention, protecting the due process rights of detained immigrants, and disentangling local law enforcement from immigration enforcement.


  • Investigate, develop, and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts.
  • Serve as co-counsel and work in conjunction with other staff within the ACLU of Arizona, the National ACLU, other ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations to bring pro-active litigation around immigrants’ rights and other strategic priority issues.
  • Follow-up with individuals who file complaints with the ACLU, including interviewing them, drafting affidavits or testimonies on their behalf, and conducting research to determine whether further action by the ACLU is warranted.
  • File administrative complaints with governmental agencies and records requests to obtain information about civil rights violations along the U.S.-Mexico border and across the state.
  • Serve as a policy expert and advocate on state and local immigration issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, outreach, and “know your rights” presentations, as well as writing op-eds, newsletter articles, and reports.
  • Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the Tucson/border region.
  • Develop legal strategies with senior ACLU staff to advance our litigation and advocacy efforts around strategic priority issues.
  • Conduct outreach and advocacy to public officials.


  • 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.
  • Five or more 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) or 38(f) (employment by approved legal services organization).
  • Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to independently develop and litigate impact cases.
  • Demonstrated ability to work in diverse coalitions and develop advocacy campaigns.
  • Willingness to work beyond a standard 8-hour workday, including evening and weekend meetings, and to work weeks commonly in excess of 40 hours.
  • Willingness to travel regularly within Arizona.
  • Experience working with vulnerable communities, preferably with immigrants, incarcerated people, or indigent populations.
  • Spanish language fluency.


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.


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 “Staff Attorney 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 “Staff Attorney 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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