The Roger Baldwin Foundation of ACLU, Inc. (“ACLU of Illinois”) seeks a Project Director or Senior Supervising Attorney to build and lead litigation and, in collaboration with other Departments, non-litigation advocacy to promote the ability of LGBTQIA+ people in Illinois to live with dignity and full equality.
ABOUT THE JOB
The Legal Department of the ACLU of Illinois works with colleagues across the organization to advance civil rights and civil liberties throughout Illinois using strategic litigation, legislative and other advocacy with governmental officials, and public education. Our work focuses on fighting institutional and structural racism that undermines civil rights and civil liberties, including in the criminal and civil legal systems and immigration; protecting democracy by advancing First Amendment rights, government transparency, and voting rights; promoting access to reproductive health care, the rights of LGBTQIA+ communities, and gender equity; and addressing and preventing the harm experienced by people in government care, including in the foster system, prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities.
Our LGBTQ & HIV Project seeks to protect LGBTQIA+ people from discrimination so that all Illinoisans can fully participate in public life and not be judged based on characteristics like sexual orientation or gender identity. We advocate for people who are transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming, so that they are able to live their authentic lives free from discrimination in employment, with access to accurate identity documents, and with equal access to all facilities in places of public accommodation, including schools. Core priorities of our work are to litigate on behalf of trans people in state and federal prisons, advocate for affirming care for LGBTQIA+ youth in the foster system through our enforcement of the B.H. consent decree, and to identify issues impacting LGBTQIA+ people who are people of color, poor, or experience marginalization along other dimensions, such as homelessness. We combat arguments to justify discrimination against LGBTQIA+ communities based on religious refusals and seek to build relationships with partners and stakeholders so that our litigation is client-centered and advocacy is community engaged. We recognize that litigation is only one tool in a broader social movement to advance equality and justice for LGBTQIA+ communities.
The LGBTQ & HIV team is dedicated to helping ensure the Legal Department meets emerging threats to civil rights and civil liberties. Recently, attorneys on the team helped investigate emergency litigation on behalf of medically vulnerable immigrants detained by ICE in dangerous conditions.
The Project Director or Senior Supervising Attorney is a highly collaborative, team player who will develop and litigate cases in state and federal court; create, implement, and participate, in collaboration with staff throughout the ACLU of Illinois and community partners, in non-litigation efforts to advance full equality and dignity for LGBTQIA+ people in Illinois; supervise and mentor junior attorneys; engage in public education; and advance the mission and work of the ACLU of Illinois’ legal work as a whole. If the candidate is selected to serve as a Project Director, the role will also involve developing long-term strategies for advancing the rights and dignity of LGBTQIA+ people, building respectful relationships with diverse stakeholders, advocacy organizations in the field, and community-based organizations.
The Project Director or Senior Supervising Attorney may advocate on a range of issues on which the ACLU-IL engages locally and statewide including: litigating Monroe v. Jeffreys, a class-action lawsuit in federal court to ensure gender affirming health care and living conditions for transgender people in Illinois Department of Corrections custody; litigating Iglesias v. Federal Bureau of Prisons, an individual action for damages and injunctive relief on behalf of a transgender woman in federal custody denied critical medical care, raped, physically and sexually abused, and even held hostage while housed in facilities for men; supervising another attorney who is advocating before Illinois Human Rights Commission on behalf of a transgender woman who was denied healthcare coverage for gender affirming care; collaborating with ACLU-IL colleagues to develop a strategy to challenge religious refusals to protect the rights of LGBTQIA+ people and people exercising rights to reproductive health care. As a member of the Legal Department, the Project Director or Senior Supervising Attorney will serve as a team player and may contribute to litigation in other areas as needed to advance the ACLU-IL’s legal docket.
The Project Director or Senior Supervising Attorney will report to the Legal Director and may supervise one or more mid-career or early-career attorneys, including fellows in the Legal Department, and interns.
CORE JOB RESPONSIBILITIES
Senior Supervising Attorney and Project Director
- Investigate, develop and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.
- Investigate, develop and advance, in coordination with other Departments, non-litigation strategies for advancing civil rights and civil liberties.
- Conduct investigations, impact litigation, and/or non-legislative advocacy, either independently or in effective collaboration with the Legal Director or other members of the Legal Department.
- Develop and maintain strong, collaborative relationships with leaders and organizations in the field, community-based organizations, allies, stakeholders, communities affected by our work, and ACLU-IL members.
- Serve as an ACLU-IL spokesperson with the media and external partners on identified issues. Assist with the development of funding proposals.
- Assist with the development of funding proposals.
- Effectively supervise, manage, and mentor early-career and mid-career attorneys with an eye toward their professional development.
- Handle additional management and supervision responsibilities as assigned by the Legal Director.
Additional Responsibilities for Project Director
- Serve as an internal expert on LGBTQIA+ issues for the ACLU-IL and a go-to expert for partners in the field.
- Develop strategies and priorities for the LGBTQ & HIV Project in consultation with the Legal Director and Project staff.
- Complete tasks related to strategic planning, budgeting, and intern and staff recruitment and hiring as requested by Legal Director.
- Represent the ACLU-IL in public, providing inspiration and building external engagement, including by speaking to community groups, donors, funders, and other audiences.
- Develop relationships with organizations in the field, including community-based organizations.
- Build a sense of shared purpose among team members and ensure collaboration with colleagues throughout Legal and the ACLU-IL.
Senior Supervising Attorney and Project Director
- Demonstrated interest in protecting the civil rights and civil liberties of LGBTQIA+ people.
- Highly collaborative with the desire to consult and share information with colleagues and to respectfully resolve differences.
- Strong legal aptitude, including thoughtful engagement with legal principles and precedents and facility applying law to facts.
- Ability to synthesize multiple sources of facts and law quickly in response to emergent issues.
- Ability and willingness to absorb and litigate new areas of law outside of one’s existing expertise.
- Ability to produce exceptionally clear and persuasive written legal and non-legal documents.
- Ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively in legal (court) and non-legal settings, and with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
- Experience in federal or state court litigation and ability to develop and execute litigation and non-litigation advocacy strategies.
- Ability to take initiative, multi-task, identify priorities amidst competing demands, and lead projects to completion with strong strategic thinking, problem-solving, and relationship-building skills.
- Ability to effectively manage attorneys to consistently produce high-quality results while developing knowledge, skills, and abilities.
- Excellent track record of working with individuals and communities with diverse identities.
- Consistently integrates deep understanding of key racial equity concepts into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.
- Demonstrates an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the office, using an approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, and other factors.
- J.D. degree.
- Admitted to practice in Illinois, can waive into the Illinois bar, or is willing to take the Illinois bar exam no later than summer of 2022.
- Willingness and availability to travel throughout Illinois and, when needed, work beyond the normal workday and on weekends.
- Highly qualified applicants will generally have at least 8 years of legal experience.
Additional Qualifications for Project Director
- Subject mastery of core civil rights and civil liberties issues impacting LGBTQIA+ people.
- Demonstrated ability to bring creative approaches to building and sustaining relationships with organizations in the field, partners, and funders.
- Ability to build and develop an exceptional Project team, effectively conducting outreach, recruitment and hiring for diverse and excellent interns and staff.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
The salary will be $85,000 to $140,000 in accordance with the ACLU of Illinois salary scale and commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits include four weeks paid vacation; 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.
ACLU of Illinois staff are based in Chicago, IL, but are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions are safe to return to the office space, staff members will be expected to work out of our Chicago office.
HOW TO APPLY
The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and encourage 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, criminal record, or veteran status.