The Legal Director is a thought leader who will work collaboratively to develop and manage impact litigation challenging laws and policies that impact vulnerable Idahoans. The Legal Director works with our policy, organizing, and communications staff in addition to our Executive Director, national ACLU staff, coalition partners, and others to develop a strategic, smart, and innovative docket and advance advocacy efforts. The Legal Director will work with the ACLU of Idaho Legal Panel and assist with recruiting and working successfully with cooperating attorneys.
The Legal Director manages a full and active docket of cases with co-counsel support from the national office and outside firms. The Legal Director also maintains their own small caseload to further organizational priorities, including, but not limited to LGBTQ equality, racial justice in education and policing, criminal legal system reform, reproductive rights, free speech, and immigrants’ rights. The Legal Director must demonstrate a strong commitment to racial equity and actively participate in work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and incorporate a DEI lens to the legal department’s internal and external work.
This is a full-time, exempt position based in Boise that reports to the Executive Director. The successful hire must reside in Idaho before employment can begin.
(1) Legal & Administrative (50%)
- Manage an ambitious impact litigation docket by coordinating and directing staff attorneys, law fellows, and co-counsel.
- Lead attorney actively litigating (drafting, arguing) 1-2 cases.
- Conduct factual and legal research, interview clients and potential witnesses, prepare memoranda, draft pleadings, briefs and correspondence, conduct discovery, including depositions, arguing motions.
- Try cases in federal and state courts, handling appeals and negotiating settlements.
- Recruit attorneys to file amicus briefs in cases of constitutional significance.
- Recruit and work with ACLU volunteer attorneys.
- Provide technical assistance and advice to attorneys and advocates on civil liberties issues.
- Develop legal strategy with National ACLU.
(2) Advocacy/Public Education (15%)
- Collaborate with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies that use legal, communications, public education, legislative, and field organizing simultaneously.
- Provide or assign legal research projects on legislative proposals and public education materials to other staff and volunteers within the Legal Department.
- Ensure that strategic plans for the ACLU of Idaho legal program, as well as specific litigation and legal advocacy projects are in line with the organization’s strategic priorities.
- Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with the press and as a public speaker.
(3) Administration, Coordination and Support (25%)
- Ensure that all pleadings are filed timely and according to court rules and maintain case files.
- Supervise all legal department staff, law students, interns, and volunteers.
- Work with our Legal Panel and legal department staff to screen and develop promising civil liberties cases.
- Develop and maintain relationships with legal staff at the National ACLU, its projects and other affiliates, and pro bono attorneys.
(4) Provide Support to the Executive Director and other staff (10%)
- Ensure the Executive Director is adequately informed of work; prepare reports and provide support as needed.
- Be willing to meet with individual donors to discuss the Legal Program.
- Develop and conduct staff training sessions and workshops on issues related to the ACLU’s Legal Program.
- A J.D. with at least 5 years of litigation experience; preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience in constitutional or public interest law and/or federal court litigation. Extraordinary candidates with less experience may be considered.
- Experience in being lead counsel on significant pieces of litigation (ideally from pre-suit through trial or decision on the merits and appeals).
- Skilled and experienced in managing others in litigation including lawyers, paralegals, and other members of the legal team.
- Patience, emotional intelligence, and cultural competency, including the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people with a wide range of races, ethnicities, language proficiencies, abilities, genders, ages, backgrounds, interests, skills, concerns, personalities, and geographies.
- Demonstrated ability to juggle and prioritize many concurrent tasks at once, manage a high-volume workload, pay extremely close attention to detail, adapt quickly to changing organizational priorities, and meet moving deadlines.
- Demonstrated ability to take initiative, problem-solve, multi-task, and work independently.
- Exceptional legal research, writing, and analytical skills.
- Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote objectives, including building coalitions with ally organizations and public advocacy.
- Ability to promote the legal program.
- Strong interpersonal skills and the ability and willingness to function as a member of the team.
- Clear, strong, and proven commitment to racial justice, civil liberties, public interest work, and the mission of the ACLU of Idaho.
- Ability to attend in-person meetings, hearings, and events on behalf of the legal department and the ACLU.
- Valid driving privileges and willingness to travel across Idaho and occasionally to other places in the United States.
- Current admission to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction at time of hiring. Admission to Idaho State Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit within six months of being hired.
- Broad knowledge of constitutional, civil rights, and human rights law.
- Proficiency in Spanish preferred.
- Experience working with state and local policymaking processes.
The salary for this position is $125,000, which is re-evaluated on an annual basis and is subject to adjustment in connection with an organization wide adjustment of compensation. We offer excellent benefits, including 100% employer-paid premiums for medical, vision and dental insurance, 401(k) plan with an employer match, life and long-term disability insurance, sabbatical eligibility after at least five years, and generous paid holidays. Idaho Bar Dues, liability insurance and CLE expenses are also provided by the ACLU.
ACLU of Idaho will provide up to $3,000 to support relocation expenses.
(1) Compile the following into a single PDF file:
- A résumé.
- A one- or two-page cover letter that identifies evidence of a clear, strong, and proven commitment to civil liberties and public interest work, and explains how your experience is applicable to the job responsibilities.
- A legal writing sample, up to ten (10) pages in length. The writing sample can be an excerpt from a longer piece, such as a brief.
- Contact information for three references, including at least two legal references, at least one of whom can discuss your litigation skills.
(2) Send to email@example.com.
Please reference “Legal Director” in the email subject line and indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.
Review of applications on a rolling basis. The position will remain open until filled.
If you are a person with a disability and need assistance applying, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If we select you for an interview, you will receive more information about how to request accommodations for the interview process.
ABOUT THE ACLU:
The ACLU is the nation’s premier guardian of liberty. A nationwide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the ACLU is dedicated to defending and expanding civil rights and civil liberties across the country. The ACLU of Idaho and its foundation operate jointly as private nonprofit organizations devoted to furthering the ACLU’s mission in Idaho. The ACLU of Idaho combines legal, policy, organizing and communications approaches to maximize its impact. We partner with individuals and communities impacted by injustices to inform and mobilize people throughout the state. The people in the center of the struggles for justice, who feel the impact in their daily lives, are especially important allies.
Our staff of 10 full-time, two part-time employees, and interns work in a fast-paced, friendly office in the heart of downtown Boise, Idaho (due to COVID-19, our office is currently working in a hybrid environment splitting time between the office and remote). We are a majority minority staff from all over the country and world and have chosen to make Idaho our home, but we enjoy frequent, deep, and positive collaborations with staff across the ACLU network at ACLU National and other ACLU state affiliates. All ACLU of Idaho staff have a strong community organizing background, and we strive to ensure that our work is deeply informed by the communities we serve. Our supportive, inclusive, and empowering work culture has created opportunities for staff to grow with and within the organization. We enjoy autonomy and collaboration. Our current organizational priorities are in gender, sexuality, and reproductive justice; racial justice with a focus on disparities in education and policing; immigrant rights; as well as criminal legal reform.
Boise, the City of Trees, is the capital of Idaho and the core of a metro area of 764,000 people. The city enjoys all four seasons in a dry climate and offers an exceptional quality of life and a diverse business community with high tech and healthcare as the largest employers. Recreational activities include whitewater rafting and kayaking, climbing, fishing, hunting, and Nordic, alpine, and backcountry skiing. There is a 190-mile foothill trail system for hiking and mountain biking and a 25-mile riverside greenbelt along the Boise River which flows through the city. Easy access to diverse outdoor activities and unspoiled wilderness is unmatched. Downtown offers thriving restaurants, shops, concerts, and public markets, and an ever-expanding number of local microbrew pubs and wineries. Boise is a refugee resettlement city; over 95 languages are spoken in Idaho. The Treasure Valley, which includes the cities of Boise, Meridian, Nampa, and Caldwell is home to the state’s largest Latinx community. Boise is also a hub for LGBTQ communities and political activism in Idaho.
FAIR & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYMENT STATEMENT:
The ACLU of Idaho advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, arrest or conviction record, and any other basis prohibited by law. The ACLU of Idaho embraces Fair Chance policies.
The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Our equity and inclusion commitment applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this commitment, the ACLU of Idaho strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is supportive and free from discrimination.