The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks a Staff Attorney to build and lead litigation, legal, and policy advocacy to protect and expand free expression rights, access to government, freedom of religion and meaningful civic participation throughout Southern California. The Staff Attorney will also provide technical assistance to community groups, develop advocacy, and equip people with knowledge and tools to enhance free expression rights, ensure government transparency, help people know their rights to engage with local government.
Founded in 1923, the ACLU SoCal has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Orange), the Inland Empire (San Bernardino), and Kern County (Bakersfield). ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including, police practices, First Amendment rights, voting rights, criminal legal system reform, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants' rights, education equity, and economic justice.
The Staff Attorney will develop and litigate state and federal cases; create and implement policy advocacy campaigns to advance the rights of free expression, access to government, and government transparency; engage in public education; and provide technical assistance to coalitions, community partners, government officials, and government bodies.
The Staff Attorney will advocate on the full range of free expression, access to government, and government transparency issues on which the ACLU SoCal engages locally and statewide. Litigation, advocacy, and public education campaigns might include: protecting people’s rights to engage in protest, political advocacy, whistleblowing and other forms of free expression; ensuring local governments do not constrain people’s ability to comment on and criticize government policies; expanding and protecting access to government bodies and information and ensuring people can meaningfully participate in government proceedings; providing technical assistance and support to social justice movements and other ACLU teams needing support with protest and government access issues in their campaigns; and stopping government favoritism of religion or particular religions and support other ACLU SoCal Project teams’ work to stop the use of religion to restrict other rights The Staff Attorney may also support the Project’s voting rights work when needed, and may also support intersectional work in other issue areas as needed.
The Attorney will be part of the ACLU SoCal’s First Amendment and Democracy project. The Staff Attorney will also work with other attorneys, policy advocates, organizers from other ACLU of SoCal Projects; attorneys and advocates in ACLU Northern California and San Diego and Imperial Counties offices; advocates in our Sacramento legislative office, and communications staff as needed and when intersectional issues arise.
The Staff Attorney will be supervised by the Director of First Amendment and Democracy within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department.
The ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Staff Attorney will work on cases, advocacy projects, public education, and campaigns. The attorney’s responsibilities will be the following:
- Conduct legal advocacy and investigate, develop and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.
- Lead litigation teams, serve as co-counsel, and work in conjunction with other legal, policy, and organizing staff within the ACLU SoCal, the other two California ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations.
- Serve as a policy expert and advocate on free expression, access to government, and government transparency issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, and outreach, as well as writing demand letters, sign-on letters, advocacy materials, op-eds, articles, reports, blogs, toolkits, and social media content.
- Provide technical support and strategic leadership to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region; run trainings for activists and organizers; and establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and ACLU members to identify issues.
- Conduct outreach, advocacy, and provide technical assistance to public officials and government bodies.
- Organize and attend lobbying visits with state and local officials, provide testimony to administrative agencies and governing bodies, and develop and cultivate relationships with lawmakers and decisionmakers to advance organizing and policy advocacy objectives.
- Devise and present engaging "know your rights" presentations, trainings, and engage in public speaking.
- Organize, lead, and participate in community education events and meetings.
- When necessary, build, facilitate, and participate in coalitions, and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions.
- Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work, as needed.
- Supervise the work of interns, fellows, and junior lawyers, as needed, and support intern hiring.
The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring an attorney with approximately 6-9 years of experience for this position and will consider all applicants with approximately that level of experience with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, racial justice, and strong advocacy and litigation skills.
- Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and litigate impact cases.
- Demonstrated ability to work in diverse coalitions and develop advocacy campaigns
- Demonstrated ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for all.
- Demonstrated ability to lead projects, build strong relationships, and work well in collaboration with others.
- A deep commitment to the cause of civil liberties and civil rights.
- Willingness to work occasional weekend and evening hours, as needed.
- Willingness to travel regularly within Southern California as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.
- Admitted to practice law in the state of California or willingness to promptly take the California bar exam.
- Familiarity working in the area of free expression, access to government, and/or government transparency.
- Familiarity with and connections to the Southern California region and advocacy communities and movement in Southern California.
- Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events.
- Spanish language fluency.
The salary range for this position is $79,250 to $91,750. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long-term and short- term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.
Please submit a resume, cover letter, a writing sample, and three references to email@example.com (NO Phone Calls PLEASE) with the subject title “Staff Attorney – First Amendment and Democracy”
Open until filled.
ACLU of Southern California is committed to developing a culture of diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion and to strive to maintain a workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer that does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply and value people of all races, genders (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientations, disabilities, citizenships, ages, religions, and national origins and who have different marital statuses, family caregiving responsibilities, lived experiences with the criminal justice systems, and genetic information. ACLU SoCal does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics.
The ACLU SoCal 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 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.