The American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) invites applications for a full-time Legal Director. 

Founded in 1965, the ACLU of North Carolina, an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that stands as the state’s guardian of liberty – working in courts, the legislature, and communities to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all North Carolinians. With nearly 30,000 members and supporters across the state, the ACLU of North Carolina has its main office in Raleigh and satellite sites in Charlotte and Wilmington.

The Legal Director will be based in the Raleigh office.  This is a remarkable opportunity for a visionary attorney to build on the successes and help shape the future of the premier constitutional rights organization in North Carolina.


The Legal Director will supervise and administer a statewide legal program covering a wide range of constitutional issues to bring about systemic change through impact litigation in federal and state courts.  The Legal Director maintains an active and vibrant litigation docket to further the priorities established in an organizational strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors: criminal law reform, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, and racial justice, including voting rights and immigrants’ rights.  A key focus of the work is the Campaign for Smart Justice, a multiyear interdepartmental effort to reduce the number of people in North Carolina’s jails and prisons and to fight racism in the criminal legal system. Reporting directly to the Executive Director, the Legal Director is a member of the ACLU of North Carolina’s senior management team, playing a key leadership role within the organization.


Legal Program Leadership:  

  • Develop and implement goals and priorities for the legal program, including non-litigation strategies to further the strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors; 
  • Affirmatively seek opportunities to initiate litigation in federal and state courts that will help achieve the organization’s strategic priorities and goals; 
  • Oversee implementation of legal program policies and procedures including intake review, case selection process, paper and electronic filing systems, legal docket, timekeeping, retainer agreements, malpractice prevention and insurance and cooperating attorney agreements; 
  • Recruit, oversee the professional development of, and supervise legal staff including lawyers, paralegals, law student interns and legal fellows; 
  • Recruit, train, and supervise the work of volunteer attorneys to participate in litigation, as needed;  In consultation with the Executive Director and legal team, make the initial decisions about case selection and present potential cases to staff, the Legal Committee and Board of Directors; 
  • Develop and maintain relationships with staff at the ACLU’s National office and other state affiliates, 
  • Develop and maintain relationships with legal services agencies, law firms, and other public interest attorneys in North Carolina;
  • Keep the Executive Director informed about significant legal developments and controversies.   

Legal Work:

  • Appear as counsel on behalf of the ACLU of North Carolina and its clients; 
  • Oversee and participate as appropriate in complex impact litigation in federal and state court in relevant areas to advance or defend constitutional rights, including all aspects of discovery, motion practice, briefs, trials, appellate work and amicus briefs; 
  • Research civil rights and constitutional issues, and write legal memoranda, demand letters and advocacy letters;  

Public Education & Advocacy:

  • Advocate for civil rights and civil liberties and serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with media and as a public speaker, as appropriate; 
  • Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high impact strategies utilizing legal, communications, public education, legislative and field organizing programs;  Advise communications team on publications addressing legal issues and cases; 


  • The ideal candidate will be an experienced civil litigator with substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil rights issues, and demonstrated commitment to the preservation and vigorous enforcement of the constitutional and civil rights of all North Carolinians. 
  • They will have extensive familiarity with the working and operation of state and local government; exceptional research, writing and analytical skills; excellent oral communication skills; proven ability to clearly communicate complex legal issues both in the courtroom and to the public; and proven ability to develop and implement short- and long-term litigation strategies in trial and appellate proceedings in both state and federal courts. Experience with the ACLU of North Carolina’s strategic priorities is a plus.
  • They will also have proven ability to successfully manage and mentor employees, a commitment to diversity and equity, and experience working with and engaging diverse communities, clients and coalition partners including non-attorneys. 
  • Success in this position will require strong self-motivation, a demonstrated capacity to work in a timely and professional manner under multiple deadlines, and the ability to coordinate with and manage staff attorneys and outside cooperating counsel. 

J.D. from an accredited law school and membership in good standing with the North Carolina Bar – or admission to the North Carolina Bar within one year of hire – is required.


The salary range for this position starts at $80,000 depending on experience. Excellent benefits include paid time off, generous paid holidays, medical, dental and vision insurance, 401k retirement plan, life insurance, and short-term and long-term disability insurance.


Email your resume to with “Legal Director” and your name in the subject line. Please submit your resume and cover letter as one PDF document using the following document naming convention: Last Name_First Name. In your cover letter, in addition to describing your unique qualifications for this position, please mention where or how you learned of this job posting. Applications will be reviewed immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled. To ensure consideration, submit application materials by August 16, 2019. Qualified candidates may be asked to submit additional information, including performance samples and references from people they have worked with in the past.

The ACLU of North Carolina is an equal opportunity employer.  We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU-NC 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.

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