American Civil Liberties Union - Durham, NC

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American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Capital Punishment Project, Durham, NC

For over 93 years, the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLUF) 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, members and activists in the advancement of equality, fairness, and freedom, especially for the most vulnerable in our society.

The Capital Punishment Project , a national project of the ACLU, invites applications for the full-time position of Staff Attorney for its Durham, North Carolina office.


The Capital Punishment Project is part of the ACLU's Center for Justice, which is leading the ACLU's effort to transform our nation's criminal justice system and end mass incarceration. The Center works to ensure that our criminal justice system is effective, fair, and free of racial bias; that conditions of confinement are humane and constitutional; and that the death penalty is rejected as a legitimate form of punishment. The Center for Justice also includes the Criminal Law Reform Project and the National Prison Project.

The mission of the Capital Punishment Project (CPP) is to end the death penalty across the nation. Through a nationwide program of strategic litigation, trainings, and advocacy, CPP promotes both abolition and systemic reform of the death penalty process. Project priorities include challenging racial, economic and geographic discrimination in the application of the death penalty, opposing the execution of the mentally ill and the intellectually disabled, improving the quality of counsel, protecting the innocent, and fighting attempts to expand the use of the death penalty. CPP is involved in litigation in state courts across the South, including best practices trial and appellate representation on behalf of individual clients. CPP regularly files amicus briefs on project priority issues in the United States Supreme Court and state appellate courts.


Litigate capital cases in state trial and appellate courts. This includes developing rapport with capital defendants, working closely with the capital team, conducting extensive legal research and factual investigation, writing motion and briefs, and appearing in court.

Identify and develop new cases and new litigation strategies in project priority areas.

Consult with other trial and post-conviction teams around the country in individual cases.

Lead trainings in best practices and cutting edge research in capital litigation.

Support and promote the work of the ACLU's local affiliates on capital punishment issues.

Develop and write advocacy materials for expert and lay audiences, including blog and media materials.

Supervise student interns, legal fellows, and paralegals.

Participate where appropriate on relevant task forces and coalitions.


J.D. degree is required. A minimum of three years of litigation experience preferred. Candidates with significant experience are encouraged to apply. Responsibilities will be commensurate with experience and demonstrated skill level.

Excellent analytic, legal research, factual investigation, and writing skills.

Ability to communicate clearly and persuasively both verbally and in writing.

Proven project management and organizational skills, including the ability to work independently, pay attention to detail, and meet deadlines while under pressure.

Ability to work collaboratively is essential. Must be willing to work in team settings.

Sensitivity to the need for culturally competent representation.

A demonstrated understanding of, or willingness to learn about, capital mitigation and mental-health issues.

Ability and willing to travel throughout the country.

Demonstrated commitment to social and criminal justice.

Commitment to the mission and goals of the Project and the ACLU.

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

Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, an original legal writing sample (sample will not be returned) and contact information for three references to . Reference: [CPP-05/ID] in the subject line. Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to the Capital Punishment Project Department posting. In order to ensure your application is received, please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.

Alternatively, applications can be mailed to:
Capital Punishment Project

RE: [CPP-05/ID]

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

201 W. Main St. Suite 402

Durham, North Carolina 27701

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

Please indicate where you learned of this job posting.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages 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, and veteran status.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact: . Correspondence sent to this address that is not related to requests for accommodations will not be reviewed. Applicants should follow the instructions above regarding how to apply.

The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name "ACLU."

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