Legal Director

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Job location
1410 Coal SW
Albuquerque, NM 87104
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
ACLU of New Mexico
Street address: 
PO Box 566
New Mexico
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico

Legal Director

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico seeks a Legal Director to lead its statewide program of impact-oriented litigation and legal advocacy. The Legal Director is a visionary, strategic thinker with the passion, drive and creativity to lead a dynamic team of attorneys to defend and expand civil rights and liberties through reform litigation and advocacy. The Legal Director is a key member of the senior leadership team which works with the Executive Director to shape the ACLU’s work in New Mexico.


Founded in 1962, the ACLU of New Mexico is the state’s largest and most influential civil rights organization, combining litigation, policy advocacy, communications and organizing tactics to promote a broad range of individual rights and liberties. These include, but are not limited to, racial justice, reproductive rights, criminal justice reform, immigrant rights, and free speech.

An affiliate of the National ACLU, the ACLU of New Mexico has a $1.7M operating budget, 18 staff positions and offices in Albuquerque and Las Cruces. The latter, the Regional Center for Border Rights, focuses on promoting human and civil rights throughout the border region.

The ACLU of New Mexico has a proud tradition of impact litigation which includes such successes as:

 Winning the freedom to marry for same-sex couples;
 Seeking the right to physician aid in dying;
 Guaranteeing Medicaid coverage of abortion services;
 Ending racial profiling by the Hobbs Police Department; and
 Protecting Internet access from state censorship.

A committee of volunteer legal experts, the “Legal Panel,” supports the ACLU-NM legal program and contributes to litigation. The program also draws on a broad network of volunteer attorneys to lead or co-counsel on ACLU cases.


Based in the Albuquerque office, the Legal Director balances direct involvement in litigation with management of legal staff (3 attorneys, a paralegal and interns) and engagement in non-litigation advocacy. The position oversees legal intake and has primary responsibility for selecting cases, with advisory support from the Legal Panel. The Legal Director also collaborates with policy, communications and border staff in carrying out multi-faceted campaigns to achieve organizational goals.

The Legal Director has the following specific responsibilities:

• In coordination with Executive Director, develop vision and set overall strategy for the ACLU-NM legal program.
• Supervise legal staff, overseeing legal intake, managing workload, providing mentorship and selecting and delegating cases.
• Investigate and litigate select civil liberties/civil rights cases, including legal research, drafting pleadings and briefs, discovery and motions practice, trials, and appeals in both state and federal courts.
• Prepare legal memoranda and demand letters. Review, comment on or write amicus briefs. Provide legal analysis to other senior ACLU staff.
• Coordinate collaboration with and legal support for other ACLU-NM programs in the promotion of integrated advocacy.
• Collaborate with National ACLU partners and participate in national ACLU conferences;
• Coordinate Legal Panel. Recruit and coordinate the work of ACLU volunteer attorneys and legal interns.
• Serve as spokesperson for the ACLU of New Mexico in the press, as a public speaker, and before policymaking bodies, as appropriate. Coordinate media strategies for legal cases with communications staff.
• Report on legal program activities to funders and the ACLU-NM board of directors, attending board meetings as necessary.
• Support fundraising effort, as necessary.
• Perform other related duties as assigned by Executive Director.


While no one person will embody all of the qualities listed below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:

• At least 7 years litigation experience, at state and federal levels, with a background in constitutional law and civil rights.
• Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward at all levels of the judiciary, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
• Strong leadership skills and experience recruiting, training, managing and motivating other attorneys.
• Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
• Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively with lawyers, other staff members, and with community organizations.
• Experience working in nonprofit settings, especially advocacy organizations.

New Mexico Bar admission is required. An attorney not admitted to the NM Bar shall seek admission as soon as feasible and be admitted within a year after employment.

Personal Characteristics

• Deeply committed to, and passionate about, the advancement of civil rights and liberties.
• Creative, energetic and aggressive in the pursuit of fairness and justice.
• A person who prioritizes and manages diverse responsibilities well. Well organized.
• A team player that inspires collaboration and acts decisively.
• Emotionally mature and self-confident, with a sense of humor and balance.
• A commitment to diversity and respect for differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.

Compensation and benefits

Salary is commensurate with similarly-situated nonprofit advocacy organizations, based on experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits include health and dental insurance, a defined contribution retirement plan, and generous vacation, holiday and medical leave policies.

To apply: 

To apply, send a letter of application with salary requirements, resume and two writing samples via email to [email protected] including in the subject line: “Legal Director Position.” In your cover letter, please indicate where you learned of this posting. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Submission deadline: 
Monday, May 30, 2016