Staff Attorney [NPP-18] - National Prison Project, DC
Office: National Offices, Washington, DC
Location: District of Columbia
MARCH 13, 2019
Staff Attorney [NPP-18]
AMERICAN CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION FOUNDATION
National Prison Project, DC
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. With more than a million members, activists, and supporters, the ACLU is a nationwide organization that fights tirelessly in all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and Washington, D.C., for the principle that every individual’s rights must be protected equally under the law, regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, disability, national origin, record of arrest or conviction.
The National Prison Project of the ACLU’s National office in Washington, D.C. seeks applications for a full-time Staff Attorney.
Founded in 1972 by the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Prison Project (NPP) seeks to ensure constitutional conditions of confinement in prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, and immigration detention facilities. The Project has successfully litigated on behalf of prisoners in more than 25 states, and since 1991 has represented prisoners in five cases before the United States Supreme Court. The Project is the only organization litigating conditions of confinement cases nationwide on behalf of men, women, and children.
NPP policy priorities include reducing prison overcrowding, improving prisoner health care, eliminating violence and maltreatment, and increasing oversight and accountability in prisons, jails, and other places of detention. The Project leads the nationwide Stop Solitary campaign, which works to end the excessive and inappropriate use of solitary confinement. The Project also coordinates a nationwide network of litigators, conducts training and public education conferences, and provides expert advice and technical assistance to activists and lawyers throughout the country.
The Project also works to challenge the policies of over-incarceration that have led the United States to imprison more people than any other country in the world. This is an opportune moment to reform those policies. There is a growing consensus among criminal justice experts and policymakers that America’s criminal justice system has relied too heavily on incarceration as the first and often only response to non-violent behavior that could better be addressed through other means. The population in American prisons and jails has tripled in the past 25 years and now approaches two and a half million. Facilities are overcrowded; medical systems are overwhelmed; and work, education, and treatment programs are inadequate. This failed experiment does not make us safer, it is not affordable, and it exacerbates the racial disparities that have long plagued the criminal justice system.
The Staff Attorney will report to the Director of the National Prison Project and should be prepared to contribute to all aspects of the Project’s litigation and non-litigation work. This position will have a particular emphasis on challenging the conditions of confinement of detained immigrants.
ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
- Litigate in federal courts, including appellate courts, throughout the country.
- Work closely with other staff attorneys and local counsel to handle a substantial caseload of major class actions in federal court, working closely with other staff attorneys and local counsel.
- Conduct legal research and write legal memoranda.
- Analyze legislation for potential litigation.
- Draft pleadings and briefs, engage in discovery and motion practice, and conduct evidentiary hearings and oral arguments.
- Provide technical assistance and expert legal advice to local ACLU affiliates, cooperating attorneys and others who seek assistance from the Project.
- Conduct policy advocacy on prisoners’ rights, criminal justice, and immigration detention issues.
- Develop new cases and non-litigation advocacy projects.
- Engage in public speaking and articulating ACLU views to a variety of audiences on a broad range of prisoners’ rights, criminal justice and civil liberties issues.
- Supervise paralegals.
- Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office; using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
- Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
EXPERIENCE AND QUALIFICATIONS
Applicants should possess the following qualifications:
- J.D. and a minimum of three years of litigation experience, preferably in federal court, are required. Individuals with more experience are strongly encouraged to apply. Responsibilities will be commensurate with experience and demonstrated skill level.
- Active bar membership.
- A demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and public interest law.
- A demonstrated ability to work independently as well as within a team. Ability to foster and contribute to a collaborative team environment is essential.
- Excellent legal research skills.
- Demonstrated ability to perform complex legal analytical work.
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral.
- Self-motivated, diligent and able to meet strict deadlines while under pressure.
- Familiarity with immigration and criminal justice issues preferred.
- Fluency in Spanish preferred.
- Ability to travel required.
The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.
HOW TO APPLY
Please send a cover letter, current resume, the names and contact information of three references, and at least one legal writing sample to hrjobsNPP@aclu.org. Reference [NPP-18/ACLU-W] in subject line.
Please note that this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. This email address is specific to National Prison Project postings. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials.
Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
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 reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
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, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.
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The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with 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. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”