Website LinkedIn ACLU of Colorado (ACLU-CO)

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is the nation’s foremost defender of constitutional rights and civil liberties. The ACLU of Colorado (ACLU-CO) is an affiliate of the national ACLU, it is the state’s guardian of freedom, working in the courts, in the legislature, and in communities across the state to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all. Founded in 1952, ACLU-CO is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling the promise of equal justice under the law for all Coloradans. For more information about the work of the ACLU-CO and the civil liberties principles we uphold, please visit our website at www.aclu-co.org.
ACLU-CO is seeking a creative, dynamic, and visionary Legal Director to lead the growth of ACLU-CO’s legal department in advancing and shaping the civil rights and civil liberties landscape in Colorado. The Legal Director reports to the Executive Director, serves as a member of ACLU-CO’s senior leadership team working alongside them to ensure that legal strategies are aligned in support of the organization’s long-term issue priorities. The Legal Director is responsible for overall strategy, coordination, and management of the legal department including its litigation docket, staff, and network of volunteer cooperating counsel. The ideal candidate will be a skilled constitutional rights litigator, an inspiring leader, an experienced and visionary manager, with litigation experience as part of multi-disciplinary teams. Strong candidates will have demonstrated ability to initiate, develop, and pursue impact litigation as part of an integrated advocacy strategy as well as a demonstrated ability to work with, support, and inspire others in innovative advocacy.
Background
After serving as the ACLU-CO’s Legal Director for 26 years, Mark Silverstein has decided to retire. During that time, he led the ACLU-CO’s legal fights to fulfill the promise civil rights and liberties for all Coloradans. In his two decades of service, he built a strong in-house legal team, as well as a coalition of partnerships including building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, volunteer cooperating counsel, allied advocacy organizations, ACLU national legal staff, and other partners.
In recent years, the ACLU-CO legal program, in class actions as well as individual impact cases, has scored impressive victories on a wide variety of issues such as free expression, police misconduct, racial justice, criminal justice reform, and protection of prisoners, immigrants and unhoused persons. Most recently, after a three-week trial last spring, ACLU lawyers won a $14 million verdict against the Denver Police Department on behalf of persons subjected to police misconduct while protesting the murder of George Floyd in 2020.
ACLU-CO has grown dramatically over the past few years and is implementing an integrated approach to protect and advance civil rights and liberties for all Coloradans including legal strategies, organizing, policy advocacy, electoral expertise, and strategic communications.
Commitment To Equity, Diversity, Belonging, and Inclusion
ACLU-CO is an equitable opportunity employer. We believe that having a board, staff, and volunteer base with diverse personal and professional backgrounds enhances our ability to meet our mission creating an environment where all community members can thrive. We strongly encourage applications from all qualified persons, including people of color, immigrants, women, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, those who have been formerly incarcerated, and other members of underrepresented or marginalized groups.
ACLU-CO does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction. We are committed to providing a work environment that practices equitable and inclusive treatment. We work diligently to prevent and address harassment or discrimination of any kind.
Primary Responsibilities:
• Build, maintain, and oversee a robust docket of impact litigation and legal advocacy that advances the ACLU’s strategic priorities and responds to threats to civil rights and civil liberties.
• Work collaboratively with an inter-disciplinary team to design litigation and legal strategies that are aligned with and supported by strategic communications, organizing, policy advocacy, electoral programs, and other strategies and tactics.
• Help determine near- and long-term policy objectives for the ACLU-CO’s core issue-area campaigns by working with the Director of Advocacy on where litigation or legal strategies can be deployed to help teams achieve long-term policy goals.
• Manage all aspects of the ACLU’s litigation program, including coordinating case selection with the Legal Panel and senior leadership team; overseeing the investigation and development of cases prior to filing litigation; and building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, volunteer cooperating counsel, allied advocacy organizations, ACLU national legal staff, and other partners.
• Oversee litigation in federal and state courts to ensure effective client counseling.
• Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU-CO, working closely with our communications and policy teams to engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities. • Maintain an individual caseload, manage demand letters, public records requests, legal and policy reports and analysis, pre-litigation investigations, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, appellate work, and amicus briefs.
• Supervise a team that includes five attorneys, including a managing attorney, as well as a paralegal, intake coordinator, and law student interns; coordinate recruitment and onboarding of additional legal staff with team members; foster an organizational culture that empowers staff, encourages professional development, and emphasizes a commitment to upholding the highest ethical ideals of the legal profession and our diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging values
• Deepen relationships among ACLU attorneys, cooperating and pro bono counsel, as well as other lawyers to elevate the visibility of the ACLU in the legal community helping to build capacity in our legal docket by engaging lawyers in pre-litigation investigations, amicus briefs, active litigation, and other ACLU activities.
• Ability to create and develop litigation or legal strategies where an objective may be to uplift community, pressure decision-makers or have other political impact.
• Work closely with development team to engage donors and funders and support efforts to secure litigation funding.
• Assist with administrative matters including but not limited to developing budgets, providing regular reports on legal department activities, assisting with file retention policy implementation, managing intake correspondence, coordinating and supporting other activities as needed.

• JD from an accredited law school with a license to practice law in Colorado or licensed in another state and qualified to apply for bar admission in Colorado within one year.
• While less experience would be considered, 10+ years of increasingly responsible legal experience, which should include substantial state and federal constitutional law experience and an understanding of modern applications of civil liberties principles, is strongly preferred.
• Dedication to social justice work, cultural competency to work with a diverse team, and an awareness of, and willingness to engage in, the difficult and transformative work of challenging systems of oppression, institutional and structural racism, and implicit bias.
• Ability to plan effective legal strategies, establish realistic objectives, and evaluate progress.
• Commitment to working with community groups including marginalized communities in the planning and development of litigation. Ability and flexibility to work in both service and leadership roles with many diverse players and constituencies.
• Experience designing and executing complex, sequenced litigation strategies. An ability to manage multi-year or multi-jurisdictional projects.
• Excellent organizational and time management skills to manage one’s own work as well as others to assure completion of assignments and projects.
• A track record of leadership through strong communication, collaboration, and relationship- building.
• Proven management ability, including experience creating and overseeing department budgets, supervising attorneys and support staff, in addition to encouraging volunteers, both students and professionals
• Excellent problem-solving skills and demonstrated skills in participatory and equitable decision-making
• Exceptional analytical, writing, and speaking skills. Demonstrated ability to write clearly and precisely; to communicate effectively with plaintiffs, opposing counsel, staff, volunteers, and the public; and to convey difficult civil liberties issues to the public and media
• A commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging, with a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance
• A strong passion for the ACLU’s mission; personally committed to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications

All inquiries, nominations, referrals, and applications (resumes and letters of interest) should be sent electronically in confidence to:
Marcus Ollig The Advocates [email protected]
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