The ACLU seeks applicants for the full-time position of Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney in the Criminal Law Reform Project of the ACLU’s National office in New York, NY. This is a hybrid role that has in-office requirements of two (2) days per week or eight (8) days per month. 

The Criminal Law Reform Project’s mission is to advocate for the constitutional and civil rights of those impacted by criminal legal systems. We use litigation and advocacy to confront systemic government conduct that fuels the carceral state and police abuse, and oppresses people based on race, class, and other characteristics. CLRP does this work because everyone suspected, accused, or convicted of a crime deserves dignity, fairness, and an opportunity to thrive. Ultimately, we seek to shift power to under resourced communities and to elevate approaches to justice and safety that advance fundamental rights for all. CLRP partners closely with our affiliates across the country and with other ACLU departments to build a movement for social change, promote racial justice, and win reforms needed to significantly reduce our nation’s incarcerated population.


The Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney will report to the Deputy Project Director for Policing. The ACLU seeks a dynamic litigator to become a Staff Attorney with the Criminal Law Reform Project to develop and pursue impact litigation and advocacy aimed at challenging systemic abuses in the administration and enforcement of criminal law. This attorney will work on matters across the spectrum of the criminal system—from traffic stops to post-release supervision—with a particular emphasis on biased and abusive police practices. 


Litigation and Advocacy

The attorney will be expected to:

  • Litigate in state and federal courts across the country, including researching and drafting pleadings and briefs, engage in discovery and motion practice, and conduct evidentiary hearings, oral arguments, trials and appeals
  • Provide legal and strategic advice to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys, and other partners on litigation
  • Serve as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work, as well as advance ACLU policy goals through public education, advocacy and participating in coalitions
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization, including in other projects within the ACLU’s Legal Department, Communications, Affiliate Support and Advocacy, the National Political Advocacy Department, Data Analytics, and state affiliates
  • Engage in communications and media expressing CLRP views to a variety of audiences

Staffing and Management

The attorney will be expected to:

  • Participate in processes for hiring and onboarding staff
  • Assist in the development and mentoring of more junior staff, fellows, and interns


  • Be committed to advancing the mission of the ACLU
  • Center and embed the principles of equity, inclusion and belonging in their work by demonstrating commitment to diversity with an approach that respects and values multiple perspectives
  • Be committed to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and conflicts


To be successful is this role, you should bring previous work experience and qualifications which include:

  • J.D. degree. Those with ten or more years of experience will have the title Senior Staff Attorney
  • If not currently admitted to the New York Bar, you must be admitted to the bar of another state and agree to become admitted to the New York Bar within one year of hire
  • You have years of demonstrated civil litigation experience and aptitude, for instance drafting complaints and briefs and conducting discovery
  • You have demonstrated ability to conduct thorough and goal-oriented fact-finding and investigation
  • You are skilled in working with litigation and/or project teams, including development of clear goals, strategy, team processes and communication, and accountability
  • You value and excel at working with a wide range of people while fostering a collaborative, respectful team environment
  • You thrive in a complex, cross-departmental structure, particularly with respect to identifying and leveraging organizational resources
  • You have a deep familiarity with and commitment to criminal and racial justice (e.g., as a criminal defense lawyer, formerly incarcerated person, civil rights litigator, etc.)
  • You have excellent legal analytical, research, and writing skills
  • You are willing to travel as needed


  • You have demonstrated leadership skills, for instance serving as lead counsel on a litigation or project team
  • You have experience litigating police misconduct claims
  • You have the ability to develop novel litigation theories to challenge criminal legal abuses. For example, CLRP is currently exploring the application of the Americans with Disabilities Act across several areas of work, and in the past has utilized tort, consumer projection, and anti-racketeering law to challenge wealth discrimination in criminal systems
  • You have experience with data analysis as an advocacy or litigation tool
  • You have experience with complex litigation, such as civil rights class actions or other forms of impact litigation
  • You have skill working with or representing vulnerable clients, particularly those involved in the criminal legal system
  • You have deposition, trial, or hearing experience, or experience at oral argument or appellate litigation
  • You have experience with press strategies for advocacy, such as drafting press releases, and op-eds, or conducting television appearances


The ACLU has a litigator scale that determines pay for attorneys in our Legal Department. The range of salaries are the following, based on year of law school graduation (please consult the hiring manager for specific salary details, based on individual circumstances):

  • 0-2 years since law school graduation: $89,250-$111,491
  • 3-5 years since law school graduation: $124,873-$147,324
  • 6-10 years since law school graduation: $154,069- $173,808
  • 11-15 years since law school graduation: $177,058-$187,108
  • 16-20 years since law school graduation: $188,874-$193,738
  • 21-25 years since law school graduation: $194,719-$198,708
  • 26-30+ years since law school graduation: $199,666- $203,553

These salaries are reflective of positions based in New York, NY. The salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people.

We know that great people make a great organization. We value our people and know that what we offer is essential not just their work, but to their overall well-being. 

At the ACLU, we offer a broad range of benefits, which include:

  • Time away to focus on the things that matter with a generous paid-time off policy
  • Focus on your well-being with comprehensive healthcare benefits (including medical, dental and vision coverage, parental leave, gender affirming care & fertility treatment)
  • Plan for your retirement with 401k plan and employer match
  • We support employee growth and development through annual professional development funds, internal professional development programs and workshops


Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. For us diversity, equity and inclusion are not just check-the-box activities, but a chance for us to make long-term meaningful change.  We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

With this commitment in mind, we strongly 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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.    

The ACLU is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please email benefits.hrdept@aclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


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