May 7, 2021

We are looking for an experienced, strategic and collaborative Senior Staff Attorney to lead our initiative to advance and defend the rights of those being detained in New Mexico with a focus on those detained by ICE and CBP. The ideal candidate is an experienced manager who can help lead our legal team through case selection and development while executing a wide range of impact litigation strategies.

Under the supervision of the Legal Director, the Senior Staff Attorney will: minimize the damage of arbitrary detention on immigrant detainees and check abuse by ICE, CBP, and cooperating law enforcement. The Senior Staff Attorney maintains an active docket of their own cases and assists the Legal Director in overseeing and managing cases brought by other staff attorneys, fellows or volunteer attorneys from outside the office.

The Senior Staff Attorney will coordinate closely with the ACLU-NM’s office in Las Cruces, the ACLU-NM Immigrant Rights team and National ACLU partners to litigate cases, carry out legal advocacy, provide “Know Your Rights” trainings and other education, collaborate with allied organizations, immigrant families, and immigrant allies to minimize the damage of detention on immigrant detainees, and check abuse by CBP and cooperating law enforcement.

Currently, we anticipate that the Senior Staff Attorney will devote about 80 percent of time to working on issues related to the rights of those detained in New Mexico and another 20 percent to working on a broader range of civil liberties issues, including privacy, student rights, religious liberty, freedom of speech, LGBT rights, and criminal justice reform.


The ACLU of New Mexico is the state affiliate of the ACLU, the nation’s premier civil rights and civil liberties organization. The purpose of ACLU-NM is to protect and advance justice, liberty and equity as guaranteed by the constitutions of New Mexico and the United States.  We work to make justice, liberty and equity realities for all people in New Mexico, with particular attention to the rights of people and groups who have historically been disenfranchised.

We partner with individuals and communities impacted by injustices to inform and mobilize people throughout the state. The people in the center of the struggles for justice, who feel the impact in their daily lives, are especially important allies.

The ACLU of New Mexico is committed to ending racism and other inequities. This includes how we work with each other and with our partners and allies in the communities we serve. We are looking for candidates who share our commitment to advancing racial justice, both internally in our organization and externally in the communities that we serve.

This is an exciting time to join the ACLU. Check out our website for more information about how we are fighting to protect civil rights and civil liberties.


Primary responsibilities include, but are not limited to:

  • Investigating, developing, and litigating impact cases, including factual and legal research; interviewing clients and potential witnesses; preparing memoranda; drafting pleadings, briefs, and correspondence; conducting discovery and motions practice, including depositions; drafting pleadings; trying cases; handling appeals; and negotiating settlements.
  • Developing and implementing non-litigation strategies for reform, which may include filing public records requests, administrative complaints, and amicus briefs.
  • Building relationships with allied organizations representing immigrants, the Muslim community, and other targeted populations, and representing ACLU-NM in key coalitions.
  • Providing legal technical assistance and strategic collaboration to community groups and activists including facilitating “Know Your Rights” trainings relating to immigrant rights.
  • Acting as a public spokesperson to advance the ACLU-NM’s vision of the constitutional and civil liberties principles that apply to non-citizens.
  • Partner with the National ACLU, ACLU affiliates, and the ACLU-NM’s Las Cruces staff to develop and coordinate the ACLU-NM’s litigation and legal advocacy relating to detained immigrant rights.
    Recruiting and working with ACLU-NM volunteer attorneys to serve as co-counsel in civil rights litigation.
  • Supervise attorneys, fellows and legal interns
  • Coordinating and collaborating with other ACLU-NM staff in carrying out the ACLU’s “integrated advocacy” approach.
  • At the Legal Director’s discretion, the position also contributes to administrative tasks necessary to ensure the smooth functioning of the department.


The Senior Staff Attorney should possess the following experience and personal attributes:

  • An understanding of and enthusiasm for civil liberties and civil rights and personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs.
  • Strong commitment to racial and social justice.
  • Awareness of, and willingness to engage in, the difficult and transformative work of challenging systems of oppression, institutional and structural racism, and implicit bias.
  • Ability to participate in, create and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for all races, ethnicities, genders, ages, classes, and geographies.
  • J.D. degree and a minimum of ten years of litigation experience with demonstrated ability to develop and/or litigate class actions. Plaintiffs’ side work and/or previous experience in constitutional law litigation, and relevant expertise on border, immigration, national security, or other related issues is preferred, but not required. Experience supervising attorneys a plus.
  • Ability to file and litigate cases independently and collaboratively; excellent problem-solving skills; can juggle multiple ongoing projects and exercise good judgment under stressful situations.
  • Strong writing, research, and verbal skills in presenting both to lawyers and to non-lawyers; leadership and organizational skills in order to encourage volunteer lawyers and work cooperatively in coalitions; able to take initiative, think strategically, and share responsibility and credit.
  • Member of the State Bar of New Mexico or willingness to become admitted to the New Mexico Bar within one year of hire.
  • Spanish language fluency (both written and oral).
  • Ability to develop and implement non-litigation strategies for achieving reform.
  • Experience working cooperatively on a variety of projects with co-workers, and diverse community organizations and coalitions.
  • Ability to travel for research and client visits throughout New Mexico, including to New Mexico detention facilities, with occasional out of state travel.
  • Able to work beyond a standard 8-hour workday, including evenings and weekends.


The ACLU of New Mexico offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and in line with the ACLU of New Mexico compensation scale.  The salary range for this position is $75,000 to $80,000 per year, depending on experience. We offer excellent benefits include paid time off, paid holidays, fully paid employee medical, dental, vision, and disability insurance, and a 401k plan with employer contribution.


Due to COVID-19 and our desire to keep our employees safe, our organization currently is operating remotely. This position is, in non-pandemic times, based out of our Albuquerque office. If the successful candidate is hired while the ACLU of New Mexico staff is still remote, we will work with that candidate to ensure that they have the tools, equipment, and digital onboarding to be successfully integrated into our remote work environment.


To apply, email a cover letter, resume, and a list of three references to and include in the subject line of the email: your last name and Senior Staff Attorney. In your letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting.

Applications will be accepted until the position has been filled. We encourage you to apply as soon as possible as we will be evaluating applications on a rolling basis beginning on April 19, 2021. 

Application materials will also be accepted via postal mail, but electronic filing is strongly preferred. Mailed applications should be sent to c/o HR, P.O. Box 566, Albuquerque, NM 87103.

The ACLU of New Mexico is an equal opportunity employer. The ACLU of New Mexico is committed to creating a work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve. The ACLU of New Mexico strongly encourages applications from all qualified including women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people who are gender diverse, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness, people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal justice, child welfare, or immigration systems, and people who have personal experience with other issues we work on.

“ACLU of New Mexico” refers collectively to two separate corporate entities, the ACLU of New Mexico and the ACLU of New Mexico Foundation. The two entities share the same mission, office space, and employees.


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