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Senior Staff Attorney

Application Deadline: July 17, 2023


The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington (ACLU-WA) is seeking experienced attorneys to build, file, and litigate through trial complex civil actions in state and federal courts to protect and advance civil liberties for all Washingtonians—work that is important now more than ever.


This attorney position will give us the capacity to push forward our affirmative agenda as well as engage in fast-moving, defensive battles against attacks on civil liberties.



The ACLU-WA is one of the largest affiliates of the nation-wide ACLU. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend American rights to freedom, fairness, and equality. The ACLU is both nonprofit and nonpartisan. We have a staff of 50+ and nearly 60,000 supporters statewide.


Whether it is ending mass incarceration and police brutality, achieving full equality for LGBTQ+ people, protecting privacy in the digital age, preserving the right to vote, or ensuring reproductive freedom, the ACLU-WA is willing to take on tough civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government and corporate abuse and overreach. And we’re successful. In the past several years in Washington State, among other victories we’ve won an injunction against police abuse of racial justice protestors, a nationally significant lawsuit for a gay couple who was denied service by their local florist, treatment in jails and prisons for people suffering from opioid use disorder, access to employment for people with criminal records, and relief from discrimination for people who are transgender.


The ACLU of Washington is committed to ending racism in Washington State and throughout the country. This includes how we work with each other, and with our partners and allies in the communities we serve. We are committed to bringing anti-racism to all aspects of ACLU-WA's internal and external functions, including but not limited to recruitment; hiring and human resources; strategic planning; ally, donor, and volunteer relations; Board and committee processes; and deciding what cases to litigate and what legislation to support and oppose. We are looking for candidates who share this commitment to advancing racial justice, both internally in our organization and externally in the communities that we serve.



Participation in ACLU-WA’s race equity work. This may include utilizing ACLU-WA race equity tools, adopting ACLU-WA race equity practices, etc.


The senior staff attorney will be responsible for investigating, filing, and litigating through trial civil liberties and civil rights cases in both federal and state courts. This includes legal research, investigative work, identifying and signing up named plaintiffs, complaint drafting, discovery and motion practice, and handling trials and appeals, as well as participating in work on amicus briefs.


The senior staff attorney will be responsible for maintaining an active docket of their own cases, typically with assistance from outside cooperating attorneys and a senior staff attorney, as well as helping to supervise interns and fellows in the department as applicable and needed.


The senior staff attorney will also engage in advocacy, coordinate with the various policy-focused attorneys and other staff in the office, provide legal analysis to advance other ACLU-WA policy work, and conduct community outreach as needed. Along with other staff members, the staff attorney will represent the ACLU-WA publicly, speaking to the media and others, as assigned.


Travel, as well as some work on nights and weekends, may be necessary. Along with all employees, the staff attorney is expected to help maintain a positive, respectful, and welcoming work environment for employees and volunteers.


In addition to the above primary responsibilities, the senior staff attorney may also be asked to assist in the supervision and management of cases brought by other attorneys inside and outside the office, the drafting and review of internal and external department reports, and other non-litigation tasks essential for the smooth running of the Legal Department as needed.



We know that no attorney can specialize in everything. At the ACLU-WA, we work with staff to develop skills and support each other’s work. If the position sounds like a good fit, please do not let fear of not having every qualification deter you from applying.

· The senior staff attorney position requires at least seven (7) years of significant legal advocacy and civil litigation experience. Plaintiffs’ side work and/or previous experience in constitutional law litigation are strongly preferred, as is experience supervising.

· Must also have superior writing, research and verbal skills in presenting both to lawyers and to the non-lawyer public; leadership and organizational skills in order to encourage volunteer lawyers and work cooperatively in coalitions on complicated cases; the ability to take initiative, think strategically, take responsibility and share credit.

· Must have 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. Must have ability to work with and have work driven or directed by communities impacted by systems of oppression; established relationships with Washington communities preferred.

· Must be a member of the Washington State Bar or be eligible to be admitted by motion.



The ACLU-WA observes a hybrid workstyle, with some staff working primarily remotely while others work in the office several days a week. Our office is generally open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is located in downtown Seattle. The physical demands and work environment described below represent those required and encountered by an employee to perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

· Able to input information into a computer for long periods of time.

· Able to assess information communicated through a computer.

· Able to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays.

· Able to periodically work long and extended hours.

· Able to travel locally/regionally/across the state as needed.

This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. The ACLU-WA reserves the right to change the content of this posting at any time without advance notice. This position is “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.



The ACLU of WA is dedicated to centering equity in all aspects of the organization and, as such, has adopted a salary scale for measuring how to best compensate its employees. The salary for this position is $146,025 to $174,900. A range indicates the intention to accommodate those with varying years of relevant experience, as determined by the salary scale.


Benefits include three weeks of vacation, thirteen sick days with an additional ten days given in 2023, fifteen holidays, employer-paid professional development, fully paid employee medical, dental, vision, and disability insurance, an employer contributed retirement plan, student loan reimbursement, family care and adoption assistance, life insurance, and an ORCA card, the regional transportation pass.


ACLU-WA provides laptops, home office supplies, certain equipment, and technology support. You will need an effective WiFi connection and a way to reach you by phone. This position is eligible for either a work phone or phone stipend, as well as an additional $150 stipend each month to help cover any additional costs while working from home.



To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume on our online job portal. In your cover letter, please include specific detail about your litigation experience, describe your commitment to racial equity, and explain how you would help advance the ACLU of Washington’s racial justice work.


Applications will be accepted until noon on July 17, 2023, at which time the job announcement will be displayed as closed on our website at



We will schedule interviews with qualified candidates after the application deadline and hope to have the selected candidate start in September.


The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction. We do not conduct criminal background checks on our candidates. People of color, women, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

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