The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas is an advocacy organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through work in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities. We fight for free speech, racial justice, criminal justice reform, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigrants' rights, and more. We are organized as a nonpartisan, non-profit, membership organization with members and supporters in Arkansas. The ACLU of Arkansas is an affiliate of the ACLU, our nation’s guardian of liberty for 100 years. The position is based in Little Rock but requires periodic travel.
The ACLU of Arkansas is seeking a talented and experienced litigator with strategic vision, strong management skills, and a collaborative approach to lead our proactive, high-impact legal program, continue building our in-house litigation capacity, and leverage external and cross-departmental resources to make an even greater impact on the civil rights and civil liberties landscape in Arkansas.
Reporting to the Executive Director and working in close collaboration with our staff and partners, the Legal Director will supervise and administer a statewide legal program covering a wide range of constitutional issues to bring about systemic change through impact litigation in federal and state courts, administrative advocacy, and other strategies. The Legal Director is also responsible for handling the day-to-day management of legal staff and cooperating attorneys. As a critical member of the office's senior leadership team, the Legal Director will provide strategic leadership on both litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy and work in close coordination with our advocacy and communications teams, national ACLU colleagues, and other local and national partners to advance our strategic priorities. The candidate should have a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and should demonstrate a passion for civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission of the ACLU of Arkansas.
- Maintain and develop an ambitious impact litigation and advocacy docket that advances ACLU strategic priorities and responds to immediate or emerging threats to Arkansans’ rights and liberties.
- Manage all aspects of the ACLU of Arkansas’s legal program, including coordinating the selection of cases in concert with the Executive Director; overseeing investigation and development of cases before commencing litigation; building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, private attorneys, and nonproﬁt partners; and managing litigating in federal and state courts.
- Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation and amicus briefs, including pre-litigation investigations, demand letters, open records requests, legal and policy reports and analysis, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, and appellate work.
- Oversee implementation of legal program policies and procedures including intake review, case-selection process, paper and electronic ﬁling systems, legal docket, calendaring and meeting deadlines, timekeeping, and retainer agreements.
- Supervise legal staff including any law fellows or interns; assist with recruiting and hiring for additional legal staﬀ (budget permitting); and foster a collaborative organizational culture within the legal program that encourages staﬀ development through internal and external resources.
- Coordinate and collaborate with other ACLU of Arkansas staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing legal, communications, public education, legislative, and ﬁeld organizing programs. Advise communications team on publications addressing legal issues and cases and serve as a resource for the ACLU on legal matters for staﬀ, partners, and other constituents.
- Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with community organizations and networks – particularly community members impacted by policing and incarceration and racial justice initiatives led by people of color – and help advance the organization’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in both its internal and external-facing work.
- Broaden and deepen relationships with the ACLU of Arkansas’s volunteer attorneys and other lawyers, faculty, and law student volunteers and interns in the state to ensure the visibility of the ACLU in the Arkansas legal community (and beyond) and to help support and educate the next generation of civil rights lawyers.
- Work with ACLU of Arkansas’s Legal Advisory Panel, which includes lawyers who serve on our Board of Directors, to recommend litigation and amicus briefs and to advance organizational goals and strategies.
- Serve as a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, working closely with the Executive Director and our communications team to regularly engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities.
- Support and engage in policy and advocacy work with legislative and policy research and other matters; occasionally testify before legislative and administrative bodies.
- Foster an organizational culture that empowers staff, encourages professional development, and emphasizes a commitment to upholding the highest ethical ideals of the legal profession.
- Other duties as assigned.
- Strong demonstrated experience with trial and appellate litigation in state and federal courts, including complex litigation, with a strong background in constitutional law and civil rights;
- Admitted to the Arkansas Bar or must obtain Arkansas Bar admission within a year of employment;
- Experience representing and working with marginalized or impacted communities, grassroots organizations, and other non-profit organizations with a proven ability to work in a manner that respects differences in race, age, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance and background.
- Experience in recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse, high-performing team;
- Exceptional research, writing, analytical, and verbal communication skills.
- Proven ability to clearly communicate complex legal issues both in court and to the public.
- Experience working with a volunteer board of directors, non-profit organizations, and allies from across the political spectrum.
- Strong self-motivation and organizational skills and a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving, advocacy, and litigation.
- Valid driver’s license, reliable transportation, and willingness to travel within Arkansas and occasionally to other parts of the country for speaking events, meetings, and conferences.
- Ability to work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, exercise good judgment, and maintain calm and good humor, even in high-intensity situations.
- A strong track record of courage and integrity; ability to receive feedback, work through conflict with integrity, and operate in solidarity.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND INCLUSION
The ACLU of Arkansas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse work force and an inclusive and equitable office culture of belonging. We strongly encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or prior involvement in the criminal legal system.
COMPENSATION AND BENEFITS
The salary range for this position is $70,000 - $95,000 and is based on experience. Excellent benefits include generous paid vacation, sick leave, family leave, and holidays; life, health, and dental insurance with premiums paid 100% by the employer, including family coverage; and a defined 401(k) contribution plan with an employer match. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.