ABOUT THE ACLU
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Kansas is a non-profit and non-partisan organization dedicated to preserving and advancing the civil rights and legal freedoms guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights and the Kansas Constitution. The ACLU of Kansas works in the state legislature, the courts, and local communities to protect the rights of all people living in Kansas. The organization’s work includes efforts to strengthen and defend First Amendment rights, voting rights, reproductive rights, racial justice, LGBT rights, immigrants’ rights, stopping government surveillance, and reforming the criminal legal system. The ACLU of Kansas often works in broad-based coalitions made up of individuals and organizations from across the political, partisan, and ideological spectrum. The ACLU of Kansas is an affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, has an annual budget of approximately $2 million, and has more than 30,000 supporters across the state. The headquarters of the ACLU of Kansas is in Overland Park, in the metro Kansas City area.
The ACLU of Kansas comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and the ACLU Foundation of Kansas. Both entities have the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. The ACLU Foundation of Kansas is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in litigation and public education. The ACLU of Kansas is a 501(c)(4) non-profit corporation that primarily engages in lobbying and advocacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas seeks to hire an experienced, passionate, and innovative Staff Attorney or Senior Staff attorney to investigate and litigate selected civil liberties and civil rights cases in Kansas state and federal courts.
The position is a full-time, exempt, & salaried position. This position is a part of the bargaining unit. The position will report to the Legal Director and work with the Legal Department and other staff members across the organization to create high impact litigation strategies and handle all aspects of the affiliate’s ongoing and future litigation. The position will be filled as either a Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney, commensurate with experience as outlined below.
- Investigate and litigate a range of civil liberties and civil rights cases in state and federal courts, to include: conducting factual and legal research; interviewing clients and witnesses; preparing legal memoranda, Open Records Act requests, demand letters, and other materials in advance of litigation; drafting pleadings and briefs; managing discovery; participating in trials and appeals, including conducting voir dire, taking witnesses, and giving oral argument; negotiating settlements; and identifying and drafting amicus briefs;
- Provide supervision and mentorship to junior legal staff, including legal fellows and interns;
- Help assess requests for legal assistance as assigned, and identify appropriate cases for legal challenges;
- Develop and deliver trainings, CLEs, and other presentations to the Kansas legal community on ACLU issues;
- Develop and help maintain relationships with pro bono co-counsel, local officials, and others who can help the ACLU of Kansas accomplish its campaign objectives;
- Engage in legal advocacy work to advance civil rights and liberties through non-litigation means, such as writing public comments, participating in public education events, and assisting the Policy Department with analyzing or drafting public comment on proposed legislation, as necessary;
- Provide legal analysis to other senior ACLU staff as directed by the Legal Director;
- Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU of Kansas on legal issues handled by our office, as assigned;
- Work with other program staff to implement campaign objectives and identify opportunities for reform through litigation.
This position is for a Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney, commensurate with experience. Minimum qualifications for each position level are noted below. Individuals with more significant litigation experience are preferred and are strongly encouraged to apply.
- Staff Attorney: at least three years of civil or criminal litigation experience, including experience taking/defending depositions, participating in evidentiary hearings and/or trials, and experience managing complex discovery. Experience in federal courts strongly preferred.
- Senior Staff Attorney: At least six years of civil or criminal litigation experience, including experience managing complex litigation and significant experience in all facets of litigation, including taking/defending depositions, participating in evidentiary hearings and/or trials, brief writing, and managing litigation teams. Experience in federal courts strongly preferred.
For either Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney, the following qualifications are required:
- J.D. and law license, with ability to waive into the Kansas Bar or sit for the next available bar exam;
- Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law an civil liberties issues;
- Ability to litigate independently and collaboratively, juggle multiple projects at once, and exercise good judgment under stressful situations;
- Ability and willingness to research and quickly learn new, complex legal issues and build lawsuits on short notice in response to breaking events;
- Ability to think creatively about non-litigation solutions to promote ACLU of Kansas objectives, as part of an integrated advocacy team;
- Demonstrated commitment to the mission and principles of the ACLU of Kansas;
- Proficiency with LexisNexis and e-filing (state or federal). Preference for familiarity with other programs utilized in complex litigation, including Relativity and Clio.
- Willingness to manage a fast-paced and occasionally demanding schedule to meet litigation or other programmatic deadlines;
- Experience taking initiative, being proactive, and anticipating litigation needs;
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, along with a willingness to be patient, collegial, and supportive to the legal team and other affiliate colleagues;
- Willingness to receive and respond to feedback, communicate directly regarding issues that arise in cases, and work as a cohesive and collaborative member of a multi-person and multi-firm litigation team;
- A personal approach that values the individual, respects diversity, acknowledges the intersectionality of the identities of your colleagues and clients, and approaches the work with an anti-racist lens and commitment
For either position, the following qualifications are preferred, but not required:
- State or federal clerkship
- Experience litigating class actions
- Experience litigating Section 1983 cases
- Experience litigating emergency motions, including preliminary injunctions and temporary restraining orders, in state or federal court;
- Experience managing and/or mentoring other attorneys.
HYBRID/REMOTE OFFICE SCHEDULE
The ACLU of Kansas uses a hybrid office schedule, where employees have the option of working remotely up to three days per week. Employees are required to work in person in the Overland Park office two days per week. Attorneys are expected to travel to state and federal courts throughout Kansas, as required.
Between $60,000 and $72,000 annually commensurate with experience and final classification. The ACLU of Kansas offers excellent benefits, including medical and disability insurance (fully paid by employer), a 401(k) match program, professional development stipend and generous vacation, holiday, and sick leave.
Submit a letter of interest, resume, and two professional writing samples no more than 10 pages in length demonstrating your legal analysis and legal writing skills, to Sharon Brett, Legal Director, [email protected]. No calls please. Please put “Staff Attorney/Senior Staff Attorney – YOURNAME” in the subject line of your email.
Applicants who proceed beyond a first interview will be required to complete a brief research and writing assignment.
If possible, please indicate where you learned of the opportunity in your letter of interest.
Applicants will be reviewed beginning immediately and will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website. No phone calls or in-person applications, please. The ACLU of Kansas strongly encourages formerly incarcerated individuals to apply.
This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU of Kansas reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU of Kansas is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kansas encourages 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, criminal record, or veteran status. The ACLU of Kansas undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.