SENIOR STAFF ATTORNEY
Application Deadline: August 22, 2019
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) is seeking an experienced
attorney to build, file, and litigate complex civil actions in state and federal court to protect and preserve civil liberties for all Washingtonians—work that is important now more than ever.
The ACLU-WA is increasing its level of operations in order to fight Donald Trump’s broad attacks on civil liberties while continuing to vigorously move forward the work of our existing projects—much of which will also be affected by the actions of the Trump Administration: protecting immigrant rights; criminal justice reform; the school to prison pipeline; using religion to oppose LGBT rights and reproductive freedom; and privacy, surveillance, and technology. Our goal is not just resistance; it is progress.
This new attorney position will give us the capacity to push forward our affirmative agenda as well as engage in fast-moving, defensive battles against Trump administration policies.
The ACLU of Washington is a leader among state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union, the country’s premier guardian of liberty. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend American rights to freedom, fairness and equality. The ACLU is both nonprofit and nonpartisan.
Whether it’s ending mass incarceration and police brutality, achieving full equality for LGBT
people, protecting privacy in the digital age, preserving the right to vote, or ensuring
reproductive freedom, the ACLU is willing to take on tough civil liberties cases and issues to
defend all people from government abuse and overreach. And we’re successful. In the past
couple of years in Washington State, we’ve won a nation-wide preliminary injunction against the Trump administration’s refugee ban, damages for a man wrongfully detained by a local police department because he was an immigrant, reforms on the use of solitary confinement for children in Grays Harbor County, the right to documents describing the Tacoma Police Department’s ownership and operation of a cell site simulator device, and a nationally significant lawsuit for a gay couple who was denied service by their local florist.
We have also filed a number of groundbreaking cases, including a First Amendment action
against ICE, the first class action lawsuit in the country about the right to medication assisted opioid treatment for people in jail, and a suit against the state for failing to prevent the disproportionate discipline of children with special education needs. The ACLU stands for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, disability or national origin.
The ACLU-WA’s staff of 40+ employees and numerous volunteers work in a fast-paced, friendly and professional office in downtown Seattle. We are supported by more than 135,000 members, activists, and donors.
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, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction. Women, people of color, LGBT people, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.
The senior staff attorney will be responsible for investigating, filing, and litigating civil liberties and civil rights cases in both federal and state courts. This includes legal research, investigative work, identifying and signing up named plaintiffs, complaint drafting, discovery and motion practice, and handling trials and appeals.
The senior staff attorney will be responsible for maintaining an active docket of their own
cases, typically with assistance from outside cooperating attorneys, as well as helping to
supervise and mentor more junior attorneys in the department.
The senior staff attorney will also engage in advocacy short of litigation, coordinate with the various policy-focused attorneys and other staff in the office, provide legal analysis to advance other ACLU policy work, conduct community outreach as needed, and supervise law students and volunteer attorneys. Along with other professional staff members, the staff attorney will represent the ACLU publicly, speaking to the media and others, as assigned.
The senior staff attorney may also be asked to assist the Legal Director in the supervision and management of cases brought by other attorneys inside and outside the office, the drafting and review of internal and external department reports, and other non-litigation tasks essential for the smooth running of the Legal Department as needed.
Travel, as well as occasional work on nights and weekends, will be necessary. Along with all
employees, the senior staff attorney is expected to help maintain a positive, respectful,
welcoming, and professional work environment for employees and volunteers.
• A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-
• At least ten years of significant civil litigation experience, with demonstrated ability to
develop and/or litigate class actions. Plaintiffs’ side work and/or previous experience in
constitutional law litigation is a plus, as is experience supervising other attorneys.
• Must have ability to file and litigate cases independently and collaboratively; excellent
problem-solving skills; ability to juggle multiple on-going projects and exercise good
judgment under stressful situations; and ability to affirmatively prosecute civil rights
• Must also have superior writing, research and verbal skills in presenting both to lawyers and to the non-lawyer public; leadership and organizational skills in order to encourage
volunteer lawyers and work cooperatively in coalitions on complicated cases; the ability to
take initiative, think strategically, and share responsibility and credit.
• Must be a member of the Washington State Bar (or willing to take the next bar
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. This position is “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
Salary starts at $102,000, depending on experience. Benefits include three weeks of vacation to start, medical and disability insurance, a retirement plan, and an ORCA card.
To apply, email a letter of application and resume to [email protected] and include in the
subject line of the email: your last name and Senior Staff Attorney. In your letter, please indicate where you learned of the posting. Applications will be accepted until August 22, 2019 at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at www.aclu-wa.org/careers. Should we need a broader pool of applicants, we will repost the position with an extended application deadline.
The ACLU of Washington comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation. The two corporations share the same overall mission, office space, and employees. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Washington”.