Legal Director

You are here

Job location
701 E. Franklin Street
Suite 1412
Richmond, VA 23219
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia
Job type: 
Position Description: 

Legal Director, ACLU of Virginia

Job Summary: The Legal Director leads and coordinates all aspects of the legal program of the ACLU of Virginia. The legal program is a part of the ACLU’s integrated advocacy program that protects civil rights and civil liberty through litigation, legislation, and public education. The Legal Director is responsible for proactive development and administration of a program of litigation that advances civil liberties principles by persuading courts, administrative tribunals and regulatory agencies to recognize new or established legal principles and by educating the public about civil rights and civil liberties through court actions and other public education activities. The Legal Director is an at will employee who serves as a key member of the management team participating fully in establishing and accomplishing program priorities, developing and managing the budget for the legal program, and assisting in raising funds to carry out the program. The Legal Director also participates in other aspects of the affiliate’s integrated advocacy program as appropriate, including public speaking and public education and advising on legislative matters.

Major Responsibilities/Activities

Legal Program Leadership:
- Develop and implement goals and priorities for the legal program in furtherance of the strategic direction approved by the Board of Directors;
- Proactively seek out opportunities to initiate administrative proceedings and litigation in the federal and state courts that will help achieve the strategic priorities established by the Board of Directors;
- Recruit, train, and coordinate the work of ACLU volunteer attorneys to participate in litigation;
- Oversee implementation of legal program policies and procedures including case selection process, paper and electronic filing systems, legal docket, retainer agreements, malpractice prevention and insurance and cooperating attorney agreements;
- Supervise implementation of intake review criteria;
- Manage maintenance of the legal docket and case management policies and procedures for the office;
- Supervise the management of intake review process and legal work;
- Recruit, oversee the professional development of, and supervise legal staff including lawyers, paralegals, law student interns and legal fellows;
- In consultation with the Executive Director, make the initial decisions about case selection and present potential cases to the Legal Panel and Board of Directors;
- Prepare regular reports to the Board of Directors on the organization’s legal activities;  Develop and maintain relationships with legal staff at the National ACLU, its projects, other affiliates and participate in National ACLU legal conferences;
- Develop and maintain relationships with legal services agencies, law firms, and other public interest attorneys in Virginia;
- Develop and deliver Continuing Legal Education programs on civil liberties issues;  Keep the Executive Director informed of significant legal developments and controversies;
- As requested by the Executive Director, assist with fundraising activities.

Legal Work:
- Appear as counsel on behalf of the ACLU of Virginia;
- Oversee impact litigation in areas of significance to advancing or defending civil liberties or civil rights; participate in litigation as appropriate
- Conduct complex litigation in Federal and State court in civil rights and constitutional law, including all aspects of discovery, motion practice, briefs, trials, appellate work and amicus briefs;
- Research civil liberties issues, write legal memoranda, demand letters and advocacy letters;
- Maintain complete time records and oversee preparation of attorney’s fees requests in appropriate cases.

Other Advocacy Work:
- Advocate for civil liberties and serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with the press and as a public speaker, as appropriate;
- Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high impact strategies utilizing legal, communications, public education, legislative and outreach programs;
- Advise communications team on press releases on legal issues and cases;
- Write articles for ACLU website and other non-legal media regarding legal issues and cases;
- Identify and research issues related to legislation, ordinances, agency rules and regulations; draft memoranda and deliver testimony or lobby on such matters as needed.

Job Title: Legal Director
Department: Legal
Reports To: Executive Director:
Exempt/Nonexempt: Exempt, at will


Minimum Requirements:

- J.D. from an accredited law school.
- Membership in good standing in the Virginia State Bar or another state bar provided admission to the Virginia Bar is obtained within a reasonable time.
- Demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and the mission of the ACLU.
- Significant experience trying cases in federal and/or state courts.
- Experience managing cases, projects, or programs and supervising the work of other lawyers.
- Willingness to work beyond normal work-day or more than 40 hours a week as necessary.
- Willingness to travel as necessary.
- Ability to work effectively and professionally with clients, other counsel, volunteers, staff and Board members, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards and the values of the ACLU of Virginia.
- A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, and able to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.
- Facility with Microsoft Office suite, digital legal research, and case management software.

Essential Mental Functions:
- Excellent writing, speaking and analytical skills.
- Strong self-motivation; ability to meet tight deadlines and balance multiple priorities.
- Ability to work competently and effectively under pressure.
- Ability to think creatively.
- Strong problem-solving ability.

Desirable Skills and Experience:
- Ability to speak and/or write in Spanish.
- Criminal law expertise; criminal justice experience.
- Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues.

Equipment Used:
- Computer, mobile phone, telephone, copier, fax

To apply: 

Send a cover letter explaining your interest in and qualifications for the position as detailed in the job description, a current resume, and a short, one or two-page writing sample by mail to ACLU of Virginia, 701 E. Franklin St., Ste. 1412, Richmond, VA 23219 or by email to [email protected] with Legal Director in the subject line of the email.

The ACLU of Virginia is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Virginia encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status. Persons with disabilities may request accommodations.
Salary range: 
Salary based on market factors and individual experience and abilities. The salary range for this position is $80,800 to $121,200. To preserve the opportunity for advancement, we do not normally hire above the mid-point of the range.
Submission deadline: 
Wednesday, January 31, 2018