September 21, 2022

Location

Jackson, Mississippi

Department

Legal

The Mississippi affiliate of the ACLU was founded in 1969 in the thick of the Civil Rights Movement. In Mississippi at that time, Civil Rights workers were being beaten, arrested and killed for demonstrating against unjust laws and institutionalized discrimination. Basic Constitutional rights were being violated daily, from the right to vote, to the right to speak out against one's government without arrest, to the right of equal treatment under the law.

The ACLU-MS is undertaking a new strategic plan and growing to meet the critical needs of individuals and communities across the state. In addition to adding new staff, the ACLU-MS is taking on key campaigns through an integrated advocacy model that combines community engagement, policy advocacy, and litigation to bolster existing freedoms and to bring about new wins in the face of ongoing racism and injustice.                       

The ACLU-MS works to defend and advance constitutionally guaranteed rights to people who have historically been denied those rights on the basis of race, gender, immigrant status, religion, and sexual orientation. In particular, although generations of civil rights activism in Mississippi have made significant strides toward racial equality, the fight for equality is far from won. The ACLU-MS challenges the systemic racism that continues to manifest itself in laws and policies throughout the state. With a storied past of working on groundbreaking and controversial issues, ACLU-MS strives to live its values of courage, integrity, justice, people, and progress.

Position Overview

The Senior Staff Attorney will litigate cases and engage in non-litigation advocacy to advance civil liberties and civil rights throughout Mississippi. Responsibilities include developing and litigating cutting-edge impact cases on a wide range of issues, primarily in federal courts and often in partnership with cooperating counsel and/or National ACLU lawyers.  The Senior Staff Attorney will represent the ACLU publicly through media interviews and speaking engagements and will collaborate extensively with our Advocacy, Policy and Communications departments to set goals and implement strategies that advance ACLU of Mississippi priorities.

 

Specific Responsibilities

  • Legal
    • Investigate, develop and litigate impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court.
    • Identify and recruit plaintiffs, conduct factual and legal research, prepare memorandums, write demand letters, draft pleadings and briefs, conduct discovery, argue motions, try cases, write appellate briefs and amicus briefs.
    • Supervise, lead, or participate in a team of associated attorneys; co-counsel cases with other public interest groups and the national staff.
    • Recruit and work successfully with ACLU volunteer attorneys. Comment on and edit letters and briefs of co-counsel and other ACLU staff. 
    • Work with partners to screen and develop promising cases.

 

  • Leadership, Public Advocacy and Teamwork
    • Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU with the press and as a public speaker and educator.
    • Work with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing the ACLU’s legislative, policy, and communications programs.
    • Engage with partners working in legal and advocacy capacities to build and mobilize issue networks statewide as appropriate.
    • Support the work of the Advocacy and Communications Departments by collaborating on policy and legislative materials, as well as by writing editorials, blogs and public education documents.

 

  • Administration, Supervision and Support
    • Recruit and supervise law students and interns.
    • Proactively communicate with all staff so they are well-informed of upcoming hearings, judicial decisions, and important developments in the legal arena.
    • Ensure that the Legal and Executive Directors are adequately informed of work and solicit direction and input appropriately and consistent with professional standards.
    • Prepare administrative and grant reports, provide administrative and organizational support as needed, and adhere to internal systems for attorney recordkeeping and information sharing.

 

  • Supervision: The Senior Staff Attorney will report to the Legal Director, who is responsible for implementation of the statewide legal program.

 

Qualifications

  • J.D. with at least four years of experience, including federal court litigation experience, preferably with experience litigating federal civil rights and civil liberties cases.
  • If not already barred in Mississippi, candidate must pass or waive into the Mississippi bar.
  • A strong understanding of, and demonstrated commitment to, civil liberties, civil rights and the mission of the ACLU.  
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues.
  • Demonstrated skills in litigating independently, jointly, and under pressure.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with both legal and non-legal audiences.
  • Demonstrated skills in legal analysis, research, and strategic thinking.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other staff members, and with community organizations and coalitions.
  • 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.
  • Creative, result-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an aggressive schedule, working beyond 9-5 as needed.
  • Willingness to travel across the state for litigation and engagements.
  • A background in criminal law and/or civil rights is preferred, but not mandatory.

 

Compensation

The Senior Staff Attorney salary will be no less than $72,000. Compensation will be commensurate with experience. Benefits include paid vacation; sick leave; employer-paid medical insurance for employees; 401(k) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; extended medical leave including parental leave after an eligible period; professional development opportunities; and a flexible remote work environment.

 

Hybrid/Remote Office Schedule

The ACLU of Mississippi uses a hybrid office schedule, where employees have the option of working remotely up to 2 days per week. Employees are required to work in person in Jackson office 3 days per week. Attorneys are expected to travel to state and federal courts throughout Mississippi, as required.

 

Application Procedure

Please send an email to office@aclu-ms.org and attach a cover letter, resume, and at least substantial writing samples demonstrating thorough legal analysis. All inquiries should include “Senior Staff Attorney” in the subject line, and all attachments should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format.

The position will remain open until filled.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Mississippi is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. Women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are encouraged to apply.