Career Opportunity


American Civil Liberties Union Foundation

Affiliate Support and Advocacy Department, NY


The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU), founded in 1920, is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 500,000 members dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the U.S. Constitution. The Affiliate Support and Advocacy Department of the ACLU’s National Office in New York City seeks a full-time Advocacy and Policy Counsel




Through its affiliates, members, and national staff, the ACLU has a presence in every state across the country. Each affiliate works with its state's legislature and policymakers to further the protection and advancement of civil liberties.


Reporting to the Director of Advocacy and Policy, the Advocacy and Policy Counsel will focus on supporting nationwide state-based advocacy to advance state legislative and public policy priorities. The Advocacy and Policy Counsel will be part of an integrated team, including litigators, advocacy staff, communications specialists, and federal lobbyists, and work closely with ACLU affiliates. The Advocacy and Policy Counsel’s work will primarily be with the ACLU’s Center for Justice’s Initiative to End Overincarceration, which seeks an end to excessively harsh crime policies that result in mass incarceration and stand in the way of a just and equal society. State legislative and public policy advocacy will focus on the reform of state pre-trial practices, drug laws, sentencing schemes, and parole and probation policies.


The Advocacy and Policy Counsel is a non-litigating attorney position for a lawyer with exceptional analytical and writing abilities.   The Advocacy and Policy Counsel will devise and execute nationwide state-based advocacy strategies, assess emerging policy trends, and mobilize affiliates across the country. Work will include drafting state legislation and legislative amendments, preparing state legislative advocacy materials, researching legal issues related to state legislation, and assisting in identifying litigation opportunities. 




·         Determine and execute state-based advocacy strategies to achieve public policy goals, including developing campaign objectives and strategies.

·         Provide legal analysis and strategic advice to ACLU affiliates to assist their state-based advocacy.

·         Draft policy analyses designed to effect change by state policymakers.

·         Conduct legal analysis on the interpretation and constitutionality of proposed state legislation and policy initiatives.

·         Develop and produce advocacy tools for ACLU affiliates to assist their state-based advocacy.

·         Develop expertise in criminal justice and other key civil liberties issues.

·         Work with ACLU affiliates in strategic goal setting, coalition-building, community organizing, and public engagement in furtherance of public policy outcomes.

·         Assist in identifying litigation opportunities.

·         Coordinate ACLU affiliates’ participation in the National Office’s federal advocacy campaigns.

·         Collaborate with the administration of grants to affiliates programs.

·         Monitor relevant state bills.

·         Participate in national coalitions and develop relationships with allies and other organizations to further advocacy goals.

·         Speak publicly at national, state, and local forums, conferences, and meetings.




·         A JD degree and a minimum of three years of legal experience are required; this position does not include active litigation, but the ability to identify and develop possible litigation is required.

·         Experience working in political, policy, legal, or government settings; familiarity with public policy and legislative processes is preferred.

·         Exceptional ability to conduct legal analysis and research.

·         Experience with constitutional issues, legislation, and organizing is preferred.

·         Ability to work independently as well as within a team.

·         Excellent research, writing, analytic, and communication skills.

·         Ability to communicate complex legal issues to the general public.

·         Ability to simultaneously handle multiple tasks, work efficiently and quickly, and meet deadlines under pressure.

·         Willingness to travel.

·         Strong and demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and social justice issues; expertise in criminal justice advocacy is strongly preferred.




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




Applicants should send a cover letter (including salary requirements), resume, the names and phone numbers of three references, and a writing sample by email to [email protected] – Reference [ASD-21/WESPAC] in the subject line – or by mail to:


Human Resources

American Civil Liberties Union Foundation


125 Broad Street, 18th Floor

New York, NY 10004


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.


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/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.


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.”