Staff Attorney - Immigrants' Rights

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Job location
PO Box 32159
Newark, NJ 07102
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey (ACLU-NJ) invites applications for a full-time Staff Attorney position in the legal department. We are looking for an experienced and creative attorney to develop and lead the organization’s work on behalf of the rights of immigrants and other vulnerable populations and to advance civil liberties and civil rights throughout New Jersey.

Founded in 1960, the ACLU of New Jersey is the state’s leading organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights. The ACLU-NJ fights for criminal justice reform, free speech, racial justice, privacy, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights, voting rights, and government transparency, among many others. The ACLU-NJ and its tens of thousands of members, activists, and supporters defend the principle that every individual's rights must be protected equally under the law.

Immigrant and Muslim communities and families are facing renewed attacks on their ability to live safely and free from discrimination. The ACLU-NJ has created this Staff Attorney position to protect and expand the rights of immigrants and to combat public and private discrimination against them. Using impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community outreach, the Staff Attorney will focus on issues that affect immigrants at the local, state and federal levels and will strengthen the ACLU-NJ’s collaboration and communication with allied organizations. We anticipate that the Staff Attorney will devote about 80 percent of her or his time to working on issues related to immigrant rights and about 20 percent to working on a broader range of civil liberties issues. This allocation may be modified as conditions change.

The position is based in the ACLU-NJ’s downtown Newark office, which houses 19 full-time staff members and many volunteers. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and encourage women, people of color, people with disabilities, people of all ages and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to apply.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

-Identify, develop, and litigate cases, including conducting factual and legal research, interviewing clients and witnesses, preparing memoranda, writing demand letters, drafting pleadings and briefs, conducting discovery, arguing motions, negotiating settlements, and handling appeals.
-Follow up with individuals who contact the ACLU-NJ for assistance, including interviewing them, drafting certifications or testimony on their behalf, and conducting research to determine whether further action is warranted.
-File administrative complaints and public records requests with governmental agencies.
-Build and strengthen relationships with coalition partners, allies, and community organizations.
-Devise and implement non-litigation advocacy strategies to achieve policy reforms.
-Represent the ACLU-NJ in coalition meetings, conferences, and other gatherings.
-Communicate with the media and serve as a public speaker on behalf of the ACLU-NJ.
-Provide technical assistance and advice to attorneys and advocates on the civil rights of immigrants.
-Assist in public education by developing and writing advocacy materials, including Know Your Rights publications, blog posts, and other resources.
-Participate in the development of the legal department’s vision, plans, and priorities.
-Recruit and supervise law fellows, law students and interns.
-Provide administrative and organizational support as needed, and adhere to internal systems for attorney recordkeeping and information sharing.


-J.D. degree and minimum four years of litigation experience required. Preference will be given to candidates with significant experience representing immigrants.
-Licensed to practice law in New Jersey or willingness to sit for and pass the next bar exam.
-Knowledge of languages likely to be spoken by clients with limited English proficiency.
-Excellent analytic, legal research, factual investigation, and writing skills.
-Ability and willingness to travel extensively throughout the state of New Jersey and occasionally out of state.
-Ability to synthesize complex issues and communicate them effectively to diverse audiences, including: elected officials, attorneys, judges, advocates, impacted communities, supporters, the media, and the general public.
-Proven project management and organizational skills, including the ability to work independently, attention to detail, and the ability to meet deadlines while under pressure.
-Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse staff, coalitions, and community groups, and to recruit and motivate volunteers.
-A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
-A strong understanding of, and demonstrated passion for, civil rights, civil liberties and social justice.
-Experience in non-profit advocacy or with other community-based groups is a plus, but not required.
-Ability to manage a demanding schedule, working beyond 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. as needed.

To apply: 

To apply, complete the application form available at Application materials will also be accepted via postal mail, but electronic filing is strongly preferred. No calls please. Resumes reviewed upon receipt. Position will remain open until filled.

The ACLU-NJ offers a comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU-NJ compensation scale. Excellent benefits include paid vacation, sick time and holidays; medical, vision and dental insurance for staff members, their dependents and spouse; life and long-term disability insurance; and 401(k) plan with employer match. The ACLU-NJ is an equal opportunity employer, and is committed to a policy of equal treatment and opportunity without regard to race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, domestic partnership or civil union status, affectional or sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, perceived disability, and AIDS and HIV status.