Staff Attorney (ACLU)

For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s protecting the rights of immigrants, ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT 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 from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.


The Immigrants’ Rights Project (IRP) of the ACLU seeks applicants for two Staff Attorney positions. IRP has offices in New York City and San Francisco, and this position can be based in either office.

Using targeted impact litigation, advocacy and public outreach, IRP carries on the ACLU’s commitment to protecting the rights and liberties of immigrants. In federal district and appellate courts, including the Supreme Court, the Project conducts the nation’s largest impact litigation program dedicated to defending and expanding the rights of immigrants, enforcing the guarantees of the Constitution, and achieving equal justice under the law.

The Project is currently engaged in litigation and advocacy to challenge, among other things: the President’s Muslim ban; the unconstitutional use of mandatory and prolonged immigration detention; the lack of due process in the deportation system, including the lack of appointed counsel and federal court review of deportation orders; unconstitutional state anti-immigrant laws; abusive immigration detainer practices; federal and state anti-sanctuary measures; unjustified cross-border shootings by the U.S. Border Patrol; and violations of the rights of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients.

The Immigrants’ Rights Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to ensure that the functions of American democracy comport with the Constitution and the rule of law, and to protect and defend the central role of immigrants in our national community. The Center also includes the ACLU’s national security, human rights, voting rights, and speech/privacy/technology work.  


  • Identify and develop new litigation and other advocacy projects by conducting factual, legal and strategic analysis and devising relevant theories and materials.
  • Litigate immigrants’ rights cases, including legal research; fact development; working with clients; drafting pleadings, briefs and legal memoranda; engaging in discovery and motion practice; and conducting evidentiary hearings and oral arguments in the trial and appellate courts.
  • Work with colleagues in the ACLU’s Communications and National Political Advocacy Departments to develop public education and other advocacy materials on immigrants’ rights.
  • Articulate ACLU views to a variety of audiences, through public speaking, traditional and social media, and other means.
  • Work with ACLU lobbyists and other legislative and policy advocates to advance the ACLU’s goals on immigration. Support legislative advocacy with legal and policy analysis.
  • Work with and advise ACLU state affiliates and partner organizations on immigrants’ rights issues.
  • Help manage summer legal internship program and supervise student interns.
  • Travel as required for litigation, conferences, and other advocacy opportunities.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Commit to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.


  • J.D. degree and three to eight years litigation experience preferred; responsibilities will be adjusted for those with more experience.
  • Admission to practice in the state where the position will be based (New York or California); if not currently admitted to the appropriate state bar, agreement to become admitted within one year of hire.
  • Superior analytic, research, and writing skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and fact-finding.
  • Fluency in Spanish (written and spoken) preferred.
  • Familiarity with immigrants’ rights, racial and social justice, and civil liberties issues is desirable; commitment to those issues is essential.
  • Excellent interpersonal and verbal communication skills
  • Proven ability to work independently as well as within a team.
  • Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks and see projects through to completion.
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people and foster a team environment.
  • Willingness to travel.


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


Send a letter of interest, a resume, a transcript, the names and telephone numbers of two legal references, and a legal writing sample to [email protected].Reference [IRP-01/IRP-20] in the subject line.

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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.

The ACLU undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact:[email protected]. Correspondence sent to this email 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.”


Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.