The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia (ACLU-VA) seeks a recent law graduate or early-career attorney who has a passion for expanding civil rights and civil liberties for a one-year fellowship to begin in Fall 2020. The Dunn Legal Fellow will work full-time under the supervision of experienced civil rights litigators to participate in legal case selection and development, active litigation, and implementation of non-litigation legal strategies.  The Fellow’s work will also support the Advocacy Team and the Communications Team as a part of the ACLU-VA’s integrated advocacy program. The ideal candidate will have the capacity to engage in thoughtful legal analysis, excellent legal writing skills, and the ability to take initiative on projects. They will also enjoy working on a variety of matters on a fast-paced team.  Past legal fellows have had the opportunity to testify before the Virginia General Assembly, conduct Know Your Rights trainings, take depositions, argue in court, and speak on behalf of the ACLU-VA to national and local media outlets. See full job description for complete details.

Who We Are

The ACLU-VA strives to be Virginia’s premiere guardian of civil liberties and a recognized champion of civil rights for all Virginians. For nearly a hundred years (50 in Virginia), the ACLU has made a profound difference in the lives of clients and community members, as well as historic contributions to our country and state. Now, more people than ever before have turned to the ACLU, to fight back against unprecedented new attacks on civil rights and liberties. The ACLU-VA is committed to cutting the number of people who are incarcerated in Virginia in ways that dramatically reduce racial and gender disparities in the criminal legal system while securing a constitutional right to vote for everyone.  You can see the matters currently on our legal docket here:

What You’ll Do

You’ll help us protect and advance the ACLU’s mission by:

  • Participating in selected litigation before state or federal court or administrative agencies, including assistance in drafting pleadings, motions, briefs, and correspondence; assistance with conducting discovery; assistance with trying cases; and assistance with preparing materials for appeals;
  • Participating in the review and consideration of intakes and other requests for assistance received by the ACLU of Virginia; conducting research or factual follow-up as necessary, and proposing and/or considering recommendations for additional action;
  • Acting as a resource for communications and advocacy staff, and drafting memoranda, reports, public education materials, and legislative advocacy materials; and
  • Identifying and researching issues related to legislation, local ordinances, and agency rules and regulations.

Who You Are

Our “Must Have’s”

  • D. from an accredited law school.
  • Membership in good standing with the Virginia State Bar or ability to obtain membership within a reasonable time.
  • Strong self-motivation and capacity to handle numerous deadlines and work in a fast-paced, stressful environment.
  • Excellent writing, research, analytical, and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work competently and effectively under pressure.
  • Ability to think critically and creatively and solve complex problems.
  • Ability to work independently and to take initiative.
  • Ability to work effectively and professionally with clients, other counsel, community members, volunteers, and staff, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards and the values of the ACLU of Virginia.

What Else You Should Know

The ACLU-VA is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU-VA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status and commits to comply with all applicable equal opportunity and nondiscrimination laws and to refrain from unlawful discrimination.

This is a grant-funded one-year limited term appointment made possible by a generous gift from the Anthony Stewart Dunn Foundation to invest in the development of the next generation of civil liberties and civil rights lawyers.

The starting salary range for this position is $53,000 to $60,960 with recent law graduates starting at the bottom of the range.  We offer excellent benefits including generous paid time off, paid holidays, 401k plan with employer contribution, medical and dental insurance, life insurance, and income replacement during illness through a combination of annual sick leave, short-term and long-term disability insurance.

What Now?

Send a cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position as detailed in this announcement, and a current resume to Eden Heilman, Legal Director, by email to with “Dunn Legal Fellow” in the subject line of the email.  Applications can also be mailed to ACLU of Virginia, 701 E. Franklin Street, Suite 1412, Richmond, VA 23219.

Submit your application as soon as possible.  Applications will begin being reviewed June 22, 2020 and will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.  Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.

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