Legal Director

American Civil Liberties Union   •  

Las Vegas, NV

Industry: Education, Government & Non-Profit


5 - 7 years

Posted 42 days ago

The ACLUNV is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties guaranteed by our nation's Bill of Rights. The national ACLU implements its vital civil liberties mission in all 50 states in large part through affiliate entities such as the ACLUNV. Operating out of Las Vegas with a satellite office in Reno, the Nevada affiliate has a $1M operating budget and 11 staff positions.

The Executive Director is responsible for and leads the day-to-day operations and oversees the senior leadership team in shaping the work of the ACLU of Nevada. The Legal Director, a critical member of the organization's senior management team, reports directly to the Executive Director and provides strategic leadership and coordination regarding both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy undertaken by the ACLU of Nevada. In addition, the Legal Director works in close coordination with the policy team, education and communications programs, as well as with the national ACLU staff, through an integrated advocacy model.

Role of the Legal Director

The Legal Director is based in the ACLUNV's Las Vegas office and is responsible for helping to set overall legal strategy to advance the mission of the organization and for the day-to-day litigation work and management of the legal staff and the ACLUNV legal docket. The Legal Director, who will come to the role with some management experience, is ultimately responsible for the supervision of a team of four, including one staff attorney, one paralegal, and one part-time Intake Coordinator, as well as legal interns, and the organization's intake system. The Legal Director also works with a Board-appointed Legal Committee of advisors to ensure a robust and responsive legal docket for the organization.

The ACLU of Nevada Legal Director has primary responsibility for coordinating the selection of cases based on ACLU policy, organizational priorities, and capacity. The Legal Director also oversees the development of cases prior to the commencement of litigation and the conduct of litigation thereafter.

The Legal Director must be a strategic, creative, and tactical thinker with a courageous and imaginative approach to advocacy. The Legal Director will maintain an individual caseload, and will primarily work with the legal staff and cooperating attorneys on litigation and advocacy efforts, aiding in case preparation, trial work, and appellate work.

In addition, the Legal Director serves as a spokesperson for the ACLU when appropriate, working closely with the executive director, communications, and public policy departments, speaking to print and broadcast journalists, and at public forums. At times, the Legal Director assists in fundraising efforts by participating in meetings with major donors and otherwise working with ACLUNV's development staff to ensure funding for our work.

Major Objectives

The ACLUNV expects the Legal Director to lead and manage the legal staff collegially in a manner that is respectful, collaborative, and consistent with the mission, vision, and values of the ACLU.

Specifically, the Legal Director will:

  • Maintain the affiliate's current litigation, track time, and donated legal hours;
  • Successfully manage legal staff;
  • Participate actively in regular strategic and tactical advocacy sessions in close partnership with the Executive Director, Senior Staff, Board, and National office;
  • Continue to develop an aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket that advances the ACLUNV's strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
  • Supports the Policy Director on local and statewide policy, including lobbying as needed;
  • Provide systematic planning and reporting, including items such as budgets, intake reports, regular litigation status reports, and communication with government agencies;
  • Continue to build an organizational culture within the legal program that encourages and mentors the staff, while holding them accountable for their work product;
  • Attends and represents the ACLUNV at state bar functions and meetings and continuing legal education seminars;
  • Develops and maintains relationships with partner organizations, public interest law firms, legal service agencies, and other members of the Nevada legal community;
  • Meets with individual donors to discuss the Litigation Program;
  • Adheres to the "Conduct and Ethics" section of the ACLUNV Employee Handbook; and
  • Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director.

Professional Qualifications

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

  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU;
  • Five years or more of trial and appellate litigation experience at the state and federal levels, , with a strong background in constitutional, civil rights, and/or criminal law litigation;
  • Experience in recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse, high-performing legal team;
  • Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward at all levels of the judiciary, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
  • Excellent communication skills, including written, spoken and analytical skills;
  • Experience representing and working with activists in grassroots organizations and non-governmental organizations;
  • Experience working in nonprofit settings that are governed by a volunteer board of directors;
  • Familiarity and/or experience with raising funds from foundations and in solicitations of donors.

Nevada Bar admission is required. An attorney not admitted to the Nevada Bar shall seek admission as soon as feasible and must be admitted within a year of employment.

Personal Characteristics

The following characteristics are sought in the Legal Director:

  • A deep personal commitment to and passion for advancing civil rights and civil liberties;
  • Excellent organizational skills and a creative approach to problem-solving and litigation;
  • A creative thinker with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities for the organization;
  • A team-building and collegial management style, including effective communications skills, a warm personal style that commands respect, and a sense of humor;
  • Integrity.


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.