The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (“ACLU-PA”) seeks an experienced attorney to lead and supervise litigation and related advocacy.  The Staff Attorney will work on a broad range of civil rights and civil liberties cases in Pennsylvania. This position reports directly to the Legal Director and is located in Philadelphia, PA. The ACLU-PA’s Legal Department is composed of ten lawyers, including legal fellows and an intake manager. Legal Department staff work on a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties cases in federal and state courts and in administrative tribunals.  They also support the legislative, advocacy, and communications work of the ACLU-PA.

Responsibilities

The Staff Attorney’s work will focus on challenging civil rights abuses. Among other responsibilities, the Attorney will: 

  • Develop, conduct, and lead litigation in federal and state courts at the trial and appellate level.  This includes identifying possible litigation and advocacy; investigating complaints about rights violations; preparing pleadings, motions, and briefs; conducting discovery; presenting oral arguments; handling appeals; negotiating settlements; and monitoring final judgments.
  • Manage groups of lawyers as part of a litigation team and cultivate and recruit private attorneys to assist with litigation pro bono.
  • Help assess requests for legal assistance and identify appropriate cases for legal challenge that come through our Intake program.
  • Supervise volunteers, law student interns, legal fellows, and junior legal staff including the Intake Attorney.
  • Engage in advocacy work to advance civil rights through non-litigation means such as writing public comments, public speaking, and public-education efforts.
  • Work with the ACLU-PA Legislative Director to research issues related to proposed legislation, draft documents to help the organization’s lobbying efforts, and provide testimony before legislative bodies and administrative agencies.  
  • Participate in strategic planning for the legal department

Qualifications 

Candidates should have: 

  • A law degree; 
  • At least three years of significant civil litigation experience, including in federal courts; 
  • Substantive knowledge of constitutional law and civil liberties;
  • Excellent analytical, writing, and speaking skills in presenting to both lawyers and non-lawyer members of the public;
  • Ability to litigate independently and collaboratively, juggle multiple projects at once, and exercise good judgment under stressful situations;
  • Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote ACLU-PA objectives, including building coalitions with ally organizations, lobbying, and developing public-education programs;
  • A demonstrated commitment to diversity and equity, including the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people of all races, ethnicities, genders, orientations, ages, beliefs, classes, and geographies;
  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings and weekends, travel regularly to different parts of the state, and, at times, to other parts of the country.
  • A strong and demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and civil rights, and support for the goals of the ACLU-PA.
  • Admission to the Pennsylvania State Bar (or admission upon being hired).

Preferred Qualifications

  • Experience successfully handling all aspects of complex public-interest litigation, including class actions;
  • Demonstrated experience successfully litigating emergency motions (PIs and TROs);
  • Experience working with legislative processes; and
  • Experience recruiting, working with, and supervising volunteers, fellows, and junior attorneys.

Compensation & Benefits

Salary range is  $70,000 - $85,000 annually, depending on experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-PA compensation scale. Excellent benefits include generous vacation and sick leave; individual/family employer-provided health and dental insurance; life insurance and long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; and ten paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act. 

Application Procedure 

E-mail a letter of interest and resume addressed to Witold Walczak, Legal Director, to legalsearch@aclupa.org with a subject line of “Staff Attorney.” Application materials sent via postal mail or fax will not be accepted. No calls, please. 

The ACLU-PA is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU-PA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.  We also encourage those with personal experience in the criminal justice system and those who have been formerly incarcerated to apply.

Deadline

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website, www.aclupa.org/jobs.

About the ACLU of Pennsylvania

The ACLU-PA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization, dedicated to defending and enhancing personal freedoms protected by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights through litigation, legislative advocacy, and community education. It is a fast-paced environment that addresses headline-making issues with powerful personal stories and dynamic, precedent-setting solutions. The ACLU-PA has three offices, ten volunteer chapters, over 40,000 members and donors, more than 35 full-time employees, and a $5.3 million operating budget.

The ACLU-PA comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union (the “Union”) of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation (the “Foundation”) of Pennsylvania. The Union is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation, and ACLU membership dues fund its lobbying work. Donations to the Union are not tax-deductible. The ACLU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Foundation funds support litigation and public education efforts. Donations to the Foundation are tax-deductible. The senior staff attorney is an employee of the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania. 

Both the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the ACLU Foundation of Pennsylvania have the same overall mission, and share office space, employees, and the same board of directors. The two entities are jointly known by the term “ACLU of Pennsylvania.” 

ACLU-PA’s hiring process will comply with Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards (“Ban the Box”) ordinance. 

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