Location

Boise, Idaho

Department

Legal

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho seeks a staff attorney or senior staff attorney to build, file, and litigate complex civil actions in state and federal court and undertake strategic non-litigation legal advocacy. This position will increase our capacity to push forward our affirmative litigation agenda as well as engage in fast-moving, defensive battles against state and local affronts to civil rights and civil liberties. This is the time and the place to be a civil rights attorney. Idahoans’ lives are at stake. In recent years, our attorneys have built and litigated high-profile impact litigation challenging the state’s ban on transgender people competing in sports, the state’s failure to provide constitutionally adequate public defense, and the state’s bans on accessing reproductive health care. For the next few years we expect to bring more litigation challenging book bans, attacks on LGBTQ+ people, and restrictions on reproductive health care and gender affirming care. We also intend to attack inadequate education and disproportionate discipline of Native and Latinx children in K-12, discriminatory policing of communities of color, and abuses stemming from state/local law enforcement entanglement with federal immigration authorities. Join us as we grow from one full-time litigator to four over the next few years. This is a full-time, exempt position based in Idaho that reports to the Legal Director. The successful hire must reside in Idaho before employment can begin.

We will consider applications from individuals with a range of prior experiences, and with a range of preferred start dates. Judicial clerks entering clerkships and seeking a position for late 2023 will not be excluded. We will wait for the right candidates to join us but we will review applications on a rolling basis. 

About the ACLU and the ACLU of Idaho: 

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 is an affiliate of the National ACLU. 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 other strategies to maximize impact.

Our staff of 10 full-time, one part-time employee, and interns work in-person at least two days per week in a fast-paced, friendly office in the heart of downtown Boise, Idaho. We are a majority minority staff from all over the country and world and have chosen to make Idaho our home. We work closely with ACLU National staff and collaborate frequently with staff at other ACLU state affiliates. 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 and we have historically benefited from low turnover and long job tenures. 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; and immigrants’ rights.  

Boise, the City of Trees, is the capital of Idaho and the core of a metro area of 749,000 people. Boise residents enjoy a dry climate during all four seasons and the city 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. In 2019, Boise was ranked by Forbes as the best place in the country for millennials. 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. And Boise is a refugee resettlement city.  

Duties & Responsibilities:  

  1. Legal
    • Conduct factual and legal research; identify and recruit plaintiffs; interview clients and potential witnesses; prepare memoranda; draft pleadings, briefs, correspondence, and public records requests; conduct discovery, including depositions; argue motions; try cases in federal and state courts; handle appeals and negotiate settlements; oversee implementation of judgments and settlement agreements; and draft amicus briefs in cases of constitutional significance. 

    • Assess requests for legal assistance and identify appropriate cases for legal challenge. 

    • Investigate civil rights/civil liberties complaints that may lead to law reform litigation.

    • Contribute to case selection, formulating legal strategy, and identifying litigation priorities. 

    • Depending on experience, supervise, lead, or participate in a team of associated attorneys. 

  2. Public Advocacy

    • Complete legal research projects on legislative proposals, draft and deliver legislative testimony, and draft public education materials as assigned. 

    • Collaborate with policy and advocacy teams as assigned. 

    • Engage with coalition partners, law and policy makers, and community representatives working on similar issues. 

    • Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with the press and as a public speaker. 

  3. Administration, Supervision, and Support

    • Recruit and supervise law students and interns. 

    • Proactively communicate with all staff so they are well-informed of upcoming hearings, judicial decisions, and important developments in the legal department. 

    • Ensure that the Legal Director and Executive Director are adequately informed of work and solicit direction and input appropriately and consistent with professional standards. 

    • Provide administrative and organizational support as needed and adhere to internal systems for recordkeeping and information sharing. 

    • Engage in special projects and duties as assigned. 

Qualifications: 

  • J.D. with litigation experience or a judicial clerkship. Preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience in constitutional or public interest law. Please describe your litigation experience in your cover letter. 
  • Exceptional legal research, writing, and analytical skills. 
  • Ability to turn around high-quality work on tight deadlines. 
  • Strong oral advocacy skills.  
  • Demonstrated ability to juggle and prioritize many concurrent tasks at once, manage a high-volume workload, pay extremely close attention to detail, and meet moving deadlines. 
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative, problem-solve, multi-task, work independently, and exercise good judgment under stressful situations; a self-starter and finisher. 
  • Ability to think creatively and use non-litigation strategies to promote objectives. 
  • An enthusiastic, patient, and collegial style that inspires collaboration. 
  • Excellent at working collaboratively and building strong relationships with lawyers, other staff members, and with community organizers, and coalitions. 
  • Willingness to receive and respond to constructive criticism. 
  • Ability to work long hours on occasion, including evenings and weekends as necessary. 
  • Valid driving privileges and willingness to travel across Idaho. 
  • Clear, strong, and proven commitment to racial justice, civil rights and civil liberties, public interest work, and the mission of the ACLU of Idaho. 
  • Current admission to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction at time of hiring. Admission to the Idaho State Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit required within one year of being hired. 
  • Proficiency in written and spoken Spanish preferred. 

Compensation: 

The salary range for this position is $65,000-85,000 depending on experience. 

Excellent benefits include 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 five years, up to 16 weeks paid family leave, and generous paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave. The ACLU of Idaho invests in each staff member’s professional development. 

ACLU of Idaho will provide up to $3,000 to support relocation expenses.

To Apply:  

Submit:

  • A resume. 
  • A one- or two-page cover letter that identifies evidence of a clear, strong, and proven commitment to public interest work, describes your litigation experience, and explains how your experience and skills are applicable to the job responsibilities. 
  • Two professional writing samples that are no longer than 7 pages each demonstrating thorough legal analysis and legal writing skills. 
  • Contact information for three references, including two legal references, at least one of whom can discuss your litigation skills.  

Send to: careers@acluidaho.org.  

Please reference “Staff Attorney” in the email subject line and indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing. The interview process will likely consist of two interviews with the hiring committee and a skills test assigned as homework. If travel is required during the interview process, expenses will be reimbursed by the ACLU of Idaho. 

We will review 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 careers@acluidaho.org. If we select you for an interview, you will receive more information about how to request accommodations for the interview process. 

We strongly encourage applications from Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, bi- or multi-lingual (including Indigenous languages) speakers, bicultural individuals, members of the LGBTQ and two-spirit community, those who have been formerly incarcerated or are currently under supervision, and other people from underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. We seek to build a team that reflects that diversity. All qualified applicants who share our vision and who have a desire to contribute to our mission are encouraged to apply. 


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.