Deadline date

Application open until position is filled

The ACLU-NC Legal Foundation (ACLU-NCLF) seeks to hire one full-time Staff Attorney to work out of our office in Raleigh and join a passionate and dedicated team.  The Staff Attorney will work under the legal director’s supervision and in close collaboration with other attorneys, paralegals, law student interns, and co-counsel, as well as staff from the policy and advocacy and communications departments. Staff Attorneys work in a fast-paced environment to address emerging and ongoing civil rights issues through complex litigation, community education, and integrated advocacy. They work as part of a multidisciplinary team whose leadership includes community organizers and other directly impacted people. The ideal Staff Attorney will be able to move fluidly from the courtroom to the community and will be able to work with diverse allies and coalitions to achieve our ambitious goals.

Who We Are

Founded in 1965, the ACLU of North Carolina (ACLU-NC), an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that stands as the state’s guardian of liberty – working in courts, the General Assembly, and communities to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all North Carolinians. 

The ACLU-NC brings together litigation, legislative advocacy, communications, and organizing strategies to empower communities and achieve our objectives in major issue areas including criminal law reform, racial justice, LGBTQIA+ equality, reproductive freedom, and the rights of immigrants. With nearly 30,000 members and supporters across the state, the ACLU-NC has a staff of more than 20 people with a central office in Raleigh and a satellite office in Charlotte.

What You’ll Do

You’ll help us protect and advance the rights of all North Carolinians by:

  • Investigating, developing, and litigating high-impact civil rights cases in federal and state courts to protect and expand the constitutional rights of North Carolinians. This includes conducting effective community outreach to impacted people; investigating possible civil rights violations; drafting and filing correspondence, pleadings, motions, and briefs; conducting written and oral discovery; negotiating and enforcing settlements; and, presenting oral argument and evidence in hearings and trials.
  • Developing and implementing non-litigation advocacy campaigns in partnership with colleagues and coalition partners who are not lawyers.
  • Organizing and leading community education events and trainings to advance our strategic priorities.  
  • Providing expert legal analysis of legislation and legal research and strategy assistance in support of campaigns. 
  • Working with non-lawyer staff and coalition partners to implement multi-faceted advocacy campaigns.
  • Representing the ACLU of North Carolina in coalition spaces.
  • Preparing summaries and reports of legal issues and cases for the public, as well as ACLU membership, staff, and leadership.
  • Serving as a spokesperson for the ACLU of North Carolina at public forums, meetings, and in the media.
  • Providing administrative support in recruiting and managing interns and legal fellows as needed. Occasional other administrative support is required of all team members as needed.
  • Engaging in occasional travel, and occasionally working evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed.

Who You Are

The ideal candidate will be ready to hit the ground running to expand the organization’s work as a leading advocate for the civil rights of North Carolinians. Other requirements and preferences include:

  • J.D. degree required. 
  • At least 3 years of law practice is preferred. Significant complex civil litigation experience, especially experience litigating civil rights cases, is strongly preferred.
  • Membership in good standing with the North Carolina Bar or admission to the North Carolina Bar within one year of hire is required.
  • Demonstrated ability to meet tight deadlines while managing a docket that includes multiple cases in various stages of active litigation is strongly preferred. The ability to proactively communicate as part of a team, ask for support, and delegate as needed to ensure all work is completed on time, is critical in this role. 
  • Demonstrated ability to participate in all stages of complex litigation, from initial investigation through trial and appeal, and readiness to take a leading role in cases is strongly preferred. Successful applicants will be able to identify both well-established and novel legal theories and build cases to advance state and federal constitutional jurisprudence on behalf of marginalized communities. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to the civil liberties mission and social justice principles of the ACLU is required, especially in one or more of the ACLU of North Carolina's strategic priority areas: racial justice, immigrants’ rights, criminal law reform, gender equity, reproductive freedom, or LGBTQIA+ equality. “Demonstrated commitment” can include, but is not limited to, prior employment. It can also include significant experience in law school clinics or other volunteer efforts, such as unpaid activism or pro bono work.
  • Experience working with diverse and marginalized communities is strongly preferred, including work with immigrant, incarcerated, and/or low-income people, people of color, and LGBTQIA+ people.
  • Ability to consistently draft written work products that meet deadlines, reflect thorough legal research, is self-edited, and contains concise, up-to-date analysis of the law is required.  
  • Demonstrated ability to make successful arguments to courts based on established law, to develop creative legal theories, and to write clearly and persuasively is required. 
  • Demonstrated personal commitment to social justice, equity, and inclusion is required, including a personal approach that values individual lived experience and respects differences of race, ethnicity, nationality, age, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances. 
  • Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote objectives is strongly preferred, including building coalitions with ally organizations, engaging in public advocacy, and working under the leadership of non-lawyers and directly impacted people. High levels of emotional intelligence, humility, personal accountability, and well-developed listening skills are required in this role to successfully build relationships with clients, co-counsel, and coalition partners.
  • Commitment to working collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and conflicts is required.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus but not required.
  • Excellent computer skills, including knowledge of Microsoft Office Suite, are required.

What Else Should You Know?

You are welcome here! The ACLU-NC is committed to an inclusive work environment that reflects the population that we serve. We are proud to be an equal opportunity employer and are committed to building an organization where all employees and North Carolinians can be proud. We eagerly anticipate applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, parental status, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.


The salary range for this position is from $60,600 to $90,800, depending on experience. Excellent benefits include health insurance, a 401K plan, and paid holidays, vacation, and sick leave. Salary and benefits may be modified subject to a collective bargaining agreement.

To Apply

Applications should include a cover letter that explains your specific interest in litigating complex civil rights cases in North Carolina and addresses why, based on your experience, you will be an effective advocate for social justice in this setting. Your application should also include your resume, one legal writing sample (no more than 15 pages, with a strong preference that you provide us with an example of something you filed in court), and a list of at least three professional references, including at least one who has directly supervised your legal work. Your writing sample should be something that you primarily authored and edited, without significant drafting or editing by others. 

Please send all materials in a single PDF file to HR@acluofnc.org. To facilitate our review, your emails should have the subject line: “[Your last name] 2021 Staff Attorney Application.” We will review applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

The ACLU-NCLF is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. Recognizing that strict minimum requirements tend to disproportionately discourage women and people of color from applying for jobs for which they would otherwise be competitive, we encourage all qualified individuals to apply -- especially people of color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people with disabilities; people who identify as LGBTQIA+; and people who are formerly incarcerated or otherwise directly impacted by the criminal legal system.