Staff Attoney
ACLU - New York, NY

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Racial Justice Program, NY

For more than 92 years, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU) , has been at the forefront of virtually every major battle for civil liberties and equal justice in this country. Principled and nonpartisan, the ACLU has offices in all 50 states, Washington, DC and Puerto Rico, and brings together the country’s largest team of public interest lawyers, lobbyists, communication strategists, and members and activists in the advancement of equality, fairness, and freedom, especially for the most vulnerable in our society. The Racial Justice Program (RJP) of the ACLU’s National office in New York City invites applications for the full-time position of Staff Attorney .


The ACLU’S Racial Justice Program challenges racial discrimination and other practices and policies that have a direct or disparate impact on communities of color with a particular emphasis on education and criminal justice issues and with an emerging focus on economic issues. Among its other goals, RJP seeks to ensure that all children have access to equal, high quality educational opportunities, regardless of race or ethnicity. Likewise, the RJP is dedicated to exposing and eliminating discriminatory racial practices and policies which have a disproportionate impact on communities of color throughout the criminal justice system. RJP has worked to assure that persons of color have access to economic opportunities in the areas of government programs and access to home ownership. In furtherance of these goals, RJP, often working with the ACLU’s 53 affiliates nationwide, has filed lawsuits challenging disparate educational opportunities, pre- and post- 9/11 racial profiling, policies and practices which push children out of the education system into the juvenile justice and criminal justice systems, unfair lending practices and a range of police and criminal justice system practices which have a particularly adverse impact on communities of color.

RJP has also engaged in other innovative advocacy and public education efforts including the development of resource materials and web sites addressing a number of racial justice issues. RJP is part of the ACLU Equality Center, which also includes the ACLU’s work on immigrant’s rights, voting and disability rights.

  • Litigate in trial and appellate courts, both state and federal, including writing and reviewing briefs, motion papers, and affidavits, preparing witnesses and taking and defending depositions.
  • Conduct legal research and fact investigations to identify racial justice issues subject to legal challenge.
  • Develop new cases and identify and work with potential plaintiffs and witnesses.
  • Support and advise ACLU affiliates, coalition partners and racial justice bar on legal and policy issues.
  • Serve as a resource for, and, when needed, participate directly in ACLU legislative and policy work.
  • Advance ACLU goals through public education, advocacy and media.
  • Supervise student interns, legal fellows, and paralegals.
  • Work on funding proposals, reports and donor solicitations as requested.

  • J.D. degree is required. A minimum of seven years of litigation experience preferred.
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Demonstrated commitment to racial justice issues and public interest law preferred.
  • Ability to engage in complex legal analysis and fact investigation in an impact litigation setting.
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills are essential.
  • Experience conducting factual research and interviewing witnesses preferred.
  • Knowledge of criminal and racial justice law is strongly preferred.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
  • Ability and willingness to travel is required.


The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.

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The philosopher Socrates once said, "I am that gadfly which God has given the state." While the American Civil Liberties Union...