Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino or Bakersfield County (Note: The ACLU SoCal staff is working from home due to COVID-19 except on a restricted only-as-necessary basis at least through end of 2020.)



Deadline date

Open until filled.

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks an experienced Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney to build and lead litigation, legal, and policy advocacy to protect and expand transformational criminal justice changes throughout Southern California. The Attorney will also provide technical assistance to community groups and develop advocacy to expand the rights of people who are or have been in contact with the criminal legal system.

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, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants' rights, education equity, and economic justice.


The Attorney will develop and litigate state and federal cases; create, implement, and participate in campaigns that seek approaches to community safety that are community-based, holistic, and transformative; engage in public education; and provide technical assistance on criminal justice issues to coalitions, community partners, government officials, and government bodies.

The Attorney will advocate on the full range of criminal justice issues on which the ACLU SoCal engages locally and statewide. Litigation, advocacy, and public education campaigns might include: addressing unlawful law enforcement practices; helping to lead our work as legal monitors of various conditions in the LA County jails; reducing incarceration; increasing diversion, restorative justice, and other alternatives to incarceration; improving reentry for people impacted by the criminal legal system, increasing the civic participation of those released from jails and prisons, and enhancing criminal justice-related transparency, accountability, and responsiveness from elected officials’ offices.

The Attorney will be part of the ACLU SoCal’s Criminal Justice Project and ACLU of California’s cross-affiliate statewide criminal justice team. The Attorney will also work with other attorneys, policy advocates, organizers from other ACLU of SoCal Projects, and communications staff as needed and when intersectional issues arise.

The Attorney will be supervised by the Director of Criminal Justice Project within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department.


Full-time, Exempt


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 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 and manage 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.
  • If a Staff Attorney, lead litigation but the litigation will be managed and supervised by a Senior Staff Attorney.
  • Supervise the work of interns and support intern hiring.
  • If a Senior Staff Attorney, supervise the work of more junior lawyers.
  • Help lead monitoring and addressing conditions issues in LA county jails.
  • Serve as a policy expert and advocate on state and local criminal justice issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, and outreach, as well as writing op-eds, and reports. • Provide technical support to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region.
  • Run trainings for activists and organizers.
  • Establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and ACLU members.
  • Conduct outreach, advocacy, and provide technical assistance to public officials and government bodies.
  • Devise and present engaging "know your rights" presentations, trainings, and engage in public speaking.
  • Organize, lead, and participate in community education events and meetings.
  • 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.
  • Forge and maintain relationships with people impacted by criminal justice work and people who have been through the legal system, community partners, decision-makers, government officials, allied organizations and academics to implement collaborative projects and foster positive, effective working relationships while focusing on a people power-based theory of change.
  • Meaningfully incorporate people who have been impacted by the legal system into all aspects of your criminal justice work, helping to elevate and center their expertise and leadership whenever possible.
  • Build and facilitate coalitions when necessary and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions that focus on issues that impact criminal justice.
  • Collaborate with and provide support to people in other ACLU affiliates in California and the Sacramento legislative office, as well as colleagues at the national ACLU.
  • Develop advocacy sign-on letters, fact sheets, advocacy materials, toolkits, action alerts, op-eds, blog posts, and social media content.
  • Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work, as needed.
  • Other duties, as needed and assigned.


The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring an attorney with approximately 10 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. The ideal candidate will be a hard-working leader with a proven record of accomplishments working with, advocating with, and/or organizing with legal-system-involved and legal-system-impacted individual, other marginalized populations, and community-based organizations.


  • Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.
  • Ability to develop and litigate impact cases.

  • 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 within Southern California as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.

  • Extremely strong project and time management skills, including a high level of organization, attention to detail and follow-through, while balancing and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities.

  • Admitted to practice law in the state of California or willingness to promptly take the California bar exam.


  • Familiarity working in the area of criminal justice and experience working with people who are incarcerated. People with personal experience with the criminal justice system, including people who are formerly incarcerated or have a close family experience with incarceration, are encouraged to apply for this position.
  • Familiarity with or experience working on social justice issues in Southern California, connections to Southern California communities affected by incarceration, and organizations working in those areas.
  • A demonstrated commitment and track record of doing intersectional advocacy and taking an intersectional approach to criminal justice transformation work.
  • Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events.
  • Spanish language fluency.


The salary range for this position for an applicant who fits our Senior Staff Attorney experience level is $91,750 - $105,000. The salary range for this position for an applicant who has 6-9 years of experience and would be a Staff Attorney is $79,250 - $91,750. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long-term, short-term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.


Please e-mail jobs@aclusocal.org, or complete an application and submit your resume, cover letter, and writing sample through our career portal: https://secure.onehcm.com/ta/ACLUSC.careers?CareersSearch. Please attach all documents in the resume upload section.


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 cpinon@aclusocal.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.