Two-Year Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union

Voting Rights Project, New York, NY

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 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 or national origin.




The ACLU seeks to hire an attorney for a two-year position for its Voting Rights Project, to begin in mid-2017.  The ACLU Voting Rights Project was established in 1965 – the same year that the historic Voting Rights Act (VRA) was enacted – and has litigated more than 300 cases since that time.  Its mission is to ensure that all Americans can participate freely and equally in the political process. The Project employs an integrated advocacy approach – a combination of legislative advocacy and litigation – and has active cases in over a dozen states.


Within the last few years, the Voting Rights Project has represented parties in two voting rights cases on the merits before the Supreme Court: representing plaintiffs in Arizona v. ITCA, a successful challenge to Arizona’s imposition of onerous documentary proof of citizenship requirements for voter registration; and representing intervenors in Shelby County v. Holder, defending the constitutionality of Sections 4(b) and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  Between the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, the ACLU won or settled 15 cases in 12 states protecting the voting rights of more than 5 million people.


In addition to our work on voter suppression, the Project works on redistricting issues and challenges electoral arrangements that dilute the political strength of minority communities.  In recent years, the Project has successfully litigated minority vote dilution cases at the trial and appellate levels in places including Ferguson, Missouri; Yakima, Washington; Sumter County, Georgia; and Fremont County, Wyoming.


The Voting Rights Project is part of the ACLU’s Center for Democracy, which works to strengthen democratic institutions and values, including the values of government transparency and accountability, and to reinforce the United States’ commitment to human rights and the rule of law. The Center for Democracy includes, in addition to the National Security Project, the Human Rights Program, the Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology, the Immigrants’ Rights Project, and the Voting Rights Project.


The two-year Staff Attorney will work on priority issues of the Project as needed, including redistricting-related issued.




  • Participate in litigation of constitutional and statutory cases on a wide range of voting rights issues including researching and 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.
  • Participate in analyzing legislation for potential litigation.
  • Develop new cases, non-litigation advocacy projects and identify and work with potential plaintiffs and witnesses.
  • Work with and advise ACLU state affiliates; Provide technical assistance and expert legal advice to cooperating attorneys, and others who seek assistance on voting rights litigation, legislation, and advocacy.
  • Serve as a resource for ACLU legislative and policy work and advancing ACLU policy goals through public education, organizing and participating in coalitions.
  • Engaging in public speaking and articulating ACLU views to a variety of audiences.
  • Collaborate with staff across the organization, including in other projects within the ACLU’s Legal Department, Communications, Affiliate Support and Advocacy, the Washington Legislative Office and state affiliates to advance voting rights.
  • Travel as required for litigation, conferences, and client development.
  • 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.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.



  • J.D. degree.  Individuals with significant litigation experience are encouraged to apply; salary and responsibilities will be adjusted accordingly.
  • Appropriate bar membership permitting practice in New York.
  • Familiarity with voting rights, racial justice, and other civil liberties and civil rights issues is desirable; commitment to those issues is essential.
  • Superior analytic skills and legal research and writing skills are required.
  • Demonstrated ability to perform complex legal analytical work.
  • Excellent public speaking skills; Demonstrated ability to write and to speak clearly and persuasively are essential.
  • A demonstrated ability to work independently as well as within a team. Ability to foster and contribute to a collaborative team environment is essential.
  • Self-motivated, diligent, and able to meet strict deadlines while under pressure.
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people and foster a team environment.
  • Ability to travel.




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




Interested persons should submit a cover letter, resume, a legal writing sample of no more than 15 pages (preferably not a law journal submission), and names and contact information for three references, to: - Reference [VRP-11/ACLU] in the subject line.


Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to Voting Rights Project postings.


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.  Please indicate where you learned of this career opportunity.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


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 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 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 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.”

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