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Staff Attorney Position Available at the ACLU Foundation of Texas

Friday, January 07, 2011

  • American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas


Employment Opportunity

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Texas (“ACLU TX”) invites applications for the position of senior staff attorney. The ACLU is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 500,000 members dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied within the U.S. Constitution and state and federal law. The ACLU TX is the state affiliate of the national organization, and is a leader in the field of advocacy that addresses various problems facing today’s racial and ethnic minority communities.

The ACLU TX Legal Department coordinates all litigation and investigation conducted on behalf of the ACLU TX. Under the direction of the Legal Director, the Senior Staff Attorney’s primary responsibility will be the development and administration of an active litigation program addressing systemic patterns of race-based discrimination in Texas. The Senior Staff Attorney will work on issues involving criminal justice, racial profiling, and immigrants’ rights, employing strategies involving litigation and general legal advocacy. Applicants for this position must be willing to work beyond the normal work day, including frequent evening and weekend meetings and events. A work week commonly in excess of 40 hours and substantial travel should be anticipated. The Senior Staff Attorney will office in Houston at the ACLU of Texas’ new headquarters; training and temporary housing in Austin will be provided prior to the move.



Develop and manage racial justice litigation docket:

• Review and investigate complaints received through the ACLU TX intake system as well as referrals from other agencies and attorneys;
• Research civil liberties issues concerning racial justice and/or immigrants’ rights that arise, and prepare legal memoranda, demand letters, advocacy letters, complaints and briefs;
• Present selected cases to the Legal Committee for evaluation and authorization of litigation;
• Secure the services of and expand the pool of cooperating attorneys for litigation the ACLU undertakes;
• Monitor litigation being handled by cooperating attorneys and provide back-up assistance as needed;
• Participate directly in litigation in selected cases; either as co-counsel with cooperating attorneys or as lead counsel when necessary;
• Obtain and supervise the assistance of legal interns, law students, and other legal volunteers;
• Develop and maintain relationships with legal and advocacy staff at the national ACLU, its projects and other affiliates;
• Participate in national ACLU legal conferences and maintain the requisite CLE requirements;
• Provide legal assistance and recommendations to the Legal Director; ACLU of Texas staff; private attorneys and others who seek assistance; and,
• Prepare necessary dockets and reports for the Legal Director, Legal Committee, the Board and the Executive Director.


At the request of the Legal Director, the Attorney will also be required to:

• Coordinate with ACLU of Texas policy and public education staff to progress our larger agenda;
• Work with the Public Education Director and associated staff to engage in public speaking and articulate ACLU views to the public and the media on a broad range of topics, including researching and drafting materials for public education, engaging in public speaking, and responding to press inquiries;
• Work with the Development Director and associated staff to participate in fund raising efforts; and,
• Travel to attend local, statewide, or national meetings, and travel for the purposes of litigation.



• Minimum of 4-7 years of experience litigating constitutional issues;
• Experience litigating complex federal class action claims, ideally including police pattern-and-practice and/or prison/jail conditions of confinement claims;
• Broad substantive knowledge of constitutional law and a strong and demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and civil rights;
• Exceptional analytic, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills, including the capacity to research and think quickly under pressure;
• Capacity for administrative work, including the supervision of others and coordinating with others inside and outside the ACLU;
• Licensed to practice law and a member of the State Bar of Texas;
• Ability to work well with a diverse range of strong personalities;
• Demonstrated ability to set priorities and reliably meet deadlines;
• Spanish speaking and writing ability preferred;
• Strong consideration will be given to applicants with federal law clerk experience, although such experience is not a prerequisite for submitting an application.


Salary and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience based on ACLU TX salary scale. Paid time off in accordance with ACLU of Texas policies and procedures. Additionally, the ACLU of Texas offers excellent medical and dental insurance, disability insurance and a retirement plan.


Application Procedure

Applications should include a cover letter, resume, three references, and an ACLU of Texas Employment Application, which is available at our website,, under the heading “Career Opportunities”. Two writing samples are also required, at least one of which should be a substantive legal research memo, brief, or article. Applicants who graduated from law school within the past five years should include a law school transcript. Please indicate in your cover letter where you found this job posting.


Applications should be sent electronically in MS Word format or Adobe PDF to:

Absolutely no unsolicited calls.


Applications accepted until position is filled.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals to apply.

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