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Legal Director

Lincoln, NE, USA | American Civil Liberties Union

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Legal / Compliance
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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The ACLU of Nebraska is seeking an experienced Legal Director who is a talented leader with strong litigation, advocacy, and management skills to lead our high-impact legal program, to build our in-house litigation capacity, and to leverage existing resources to make an even greater impact on the civil liberties landscape in Nebraska. The Legal Director is a member of the senior staff, plays a key leadership role within the organization, and reports directly to the Executive Director. The Legal Director works in close coordination with our policy, organizing, and communications teams in addition to national ACLU staff and other local and national partners to advance our advocacy goals. The position is based in Lincoln but requires periodic travel.

The Legal Director will supervise and administer a statewide legal program covering a wide range of constitutional issues to bring about systemic change through impact litigation in federal and state courts, administrative advocacy, and other strategies.The Legal Director maintains an active and vibrant docket to further the priorities established in an organizational strategic plan approved by the Board of Directors, including, but not limited to, free expression, criminal justice and prison reform, reproductive freedom, LGBTQ equality, racial justice, police practices and mass surveillance, voting rights, and immigrants’ rights. 


Maintain and continue to develop our aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket, which proactively advances the ACLU’s strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;

Manage all aspects of the ACLU’s litigation program, including coordinating the selection of cases in concert with Executive Director, oversee the investigation and development of cases before commencing litigation; build litigation teams with in-house lawyers, cooperating counsel, and nonprofit partners; engage in litigation in federal and state court; oversee ongoing litigation, and strong effective and ethical client counseling;

Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation, including overseeing and directing demand letters, open records requests, producing legal and policy reports and analysis, pre-litigation investigations, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, appellate work, and amicus briefs;

Supervise two staff attorneys, law clerks and undergraduate interns; help lead recruiting and hiring for additional legal staff (budget permitting); and foster an organizational culture within the legal program that empowers staff, encourages professional development, and that emphasizes a commitment to upholding the highest ethical ideals of the legal profession;

Broaden and deepen relationships with the ACLU’s volunteer attorneys and other lawyers to elevate the visibility of the ACLU with key stakeholders in the legal community (and beyond) and to help build our legal docket, including by engaging lawyers in pre-litigation investigations, amicus briefs, litigation, and other ACLU activities;

Coordinate and collaborate on cross-departmental projects and serve as a resource on legal matters for staff, board and other partners as appropriate;

Serve as a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, working closely with our communications team to regularly engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities; and

Provide systemic and strategic planning and reporting, including assistance with developing budgets, providing regular reports on legal department activities, and supporting development and outreach activities.

Preferred Qualifications

At least 10 years of trial and appellate litigation experience in state and federal courts, including class actions, with a strong background in constitutional law and civil rights;

Admitted to the Nebraska Bar or eligible for admission;

A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences;

Demonstrated passion for civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission of the ACLU;

Management experience in recruiting, training, managing, and motivating a diverse, high-performing litigation team;

Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward from investigation and development and through all levels of the courts and forums for administrative advocacy;

Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills;

Experience working with a volunteer board of directors, non-profit organizations, and allies from across the political spectrum;

Experience representing and working with diverse activists, grassroots groups and other non-governmental organizations;

Excellent organizational skills and a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving and litigation;

Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization;

A team-building and collegial management style that is positive and flexible;

A strong track record of both courage and integrity.

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