Legal Director

American Civil Liberties Union   •  

Phoenix, AZ

Industry: Education, Government & Non-Profit


8 - 10 years

Posted 27 days ago


Reporting to the Executive Director, the Legal Director will lead and expand the ACLU of Arizona's legal program, including developing and litigating high-impact cases and managing the legal department. The Legal Director will be responsible for setting the overall legal strategy to advance the ACLU of Arizona's mission, as well as handling the day-to-day management of legal staff, volunteers, and cooperating attorneys. As a critical member of the organization's senior management team, the Legal Director will provide strategic leadership on both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy in priority areas of criminal justice, immigrants' rights, education, and LGBTQ equality, as well as other areas including First Amendment rights. In addition, the Legal Director works in close coordination with our policy, organizing, and communications teams, the national ACLU staff, and other local and national partners to advance our advocacy goals.


  • Maintain and continue to develop our aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket, which advances the ACLU of Arizona's strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
  • Manage all aspects of the ACLU of Arizona's litigation program, including coordinating the selection of cases, overseeing the investigation and development of cases before commencing litigation; building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, private lawyers, and nonprofit partners; directly engaging in litigation in federal and state court; and overseeing ongoing litigation;
  • Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation and amicus briefs, including overseeing and directing pre-litigation investigations, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, and appellate work, and work with staff attorneys and cooperating attorneys on all work within the ACLU of Arizona legal program;
  • Supervise three staff attorneys, one paralegal, fellows, and numerous law student and undergraduate interns; handle recruiting and hiring for additional legal staff (budget permitting); and fostering an organizational culture within the legal program that encourages staff development through internal and external resources;
  • Broaden and deepen relationships with the ACLU of Arizona's volunteer attorneys and other lawyers in the Arizona community to ensure the visibility of the ACLU of Arizona in the Arizona legal community (and beyond) and to help build our legal docket, including by engaging lawyers in pre-litigation investigations, amicus briefs, litigation, and other ACLU activities;
  • Work with the Legal Panel, which includes Board members and Board-appointed lawyers, to approve litigation and amicus briefs and to advance organizational and departmental goals, including staff attorney development;
  • Coordinate and collaborate with other ACLU of Arizona departments on cross-departmental projects and serve as a resource on legal matters for staff, partners, and other ACLU of Arizona constituents;
  • Serve as a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, working closely with our outreach and communications team to regularly engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities; and
  • Provide systemic and strategic planning and reporting, including developing budgets, providing regular reports on legal department activities for the Board, and supporting reporting on grants with legal department deliverables.


  • A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences;
  • Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU;
  • 8-10 years of trial and appellate litigation experience in state and federal courts, including class actions, with a strong background in constitutional law and civil rights;
  • Admitted to the Arizona Bar or eligible for admission under Arizona Supreme Court Rule 34(f) (admission on motion);
  • Management experience in recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse, high-performing litigation team;
  • Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward from investigation and development and through all levels of the courts, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
  • Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills;
  • Experience working closely with a volunteer board of directors and non-profit organizations, including allies from across the political spectrum;
  • Experience representing and working with activists, grassroots groups and other non-governmental organizations;
  • Excellent organizational skills and a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving and litigation;
  • Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization;
  • A team-building and collegial management style, including effective communications skills, a warm personal style that commands respect, and a good sense of humor; and
  • Courage and integrity.