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Legal Director

Montpelier, VT, USA | American Civil Liberties Union

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
    Full-Time
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Legal / Compliance
  • Experience:
    10-12 years
Job Description:
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The ACLU of Vermont is inviting applications for a Legal Director. We seek a talented and experienced litigator with strategic vision, strong management skills, and a collaborative approach to lead our proactive, high-impact legal program, continue building our in-house litigation capacity, and leverage external and cross-departmental resources to make an even greater impact on the civil rights and civil liberties landscape in Vermont.


POSITION OVERVIEW


Reporting to the Executive Director, and working in close collaboration with our two Senior Staff Attorneys, the Legal Director will help to set and coordinate overall legal strategy to advance the ACLU of Vermont’s mission, developing and litigating high-impact cases in priority areas of racial and economic justice, police accountability and criminal justice, immigrants’ rights, and a variety of other core ACLU issue areas.


The Legal Director will be responsible for the day-to-day management of staff, volunteers, and cooperating attorneys, as well as working in close coordination with our advocacy and communications teams, National ACLU colleagues, and other local and national partners to advance our strategic priorities.


RESPONSIBILITIES


Maintain and develop an ambitious impact litigation and advocacy docket that advances ACLU strategic priorities and responds to immediate or emerging threats to Vermonters’ rights and liberties.

In close collaboration with ACLU of Vermont Senior Staff Attorneys, manage all aspects of the ACLU of Vermont’s legal program, including coordinating the selection of cases; overseeing the investigation and development of cases before commencing litigation; building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, private attorneys, and nonprofit partners; directly engaging in litigation in federal and state court; and overseeing ongoing litigation.

Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation and amicus briefs, including pre-litigation investigations, discovery, motion practice, brief writing, hearings and trials, and appellate work.

Supervise two Senior Staff Attorneys and any law fellows or interns; handle recruiting and hiring for additional legal staff (budget permitting); and foster a collaborative organizational culture within the legal program that encourages staff development through internal and external resources.  

Coordinate and collaborate with other ACLU of Vermont staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies utilizing legal, communications, public education, legislative, and field organizing programs. Advise communications team on publications addressing legal issues and cases and serve as a resource on legal matters for staff, partners, and other constituents.

Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with community organizations and networks – particularly community members impacted by policing and incarceration and racial justice initiatives led by people of color – and help advance the organization’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion in both its internal and external-facing work.

Broaden and deepen relationships with the ACLU of Vermont’s volunteer attorneys and other lawyers in the state to ensure the visibility of the ACLU in the Vermont legal community (and beyond) and help build our legal docket, including by engaging lawyers in ACLU litigation and activities.

Work with ACLU of Vermont’s Legal Advisory Panel, which includes lawyers on and appointed by the Board, to recommend litigation and amicus briefs and to advance organizational and departmental goals, including staff development.

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

Oversee implementation of legal program policies and procedures including intake review, case selection process, paper and electronic filing systems, legal docket, timekeeping, retainer agreements, malpractice prevention and insurance, and cooperating attorney agreements.

Provide systemic and strategic planning and reporting, including developing budgets, providing quarterly reports on legal department activities for the Board, and supporting reporting on grants with legal department deliverables.

Present a positive and professional face at all times when representing the ACLU of Vermont and help maintain a welcoming environment for employees and volunteers.

Develop and maintain relationships with staff at the ACLU’s National office and other state affi

Keep the Executive Director and other staff informed about significant legal developments and controversies. 

Other duties as assigned.


PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS


Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU; prior experience litigating for racial and economic justice strongly preferred.

At least 10-12 years of litigation experience in state and federal courts, including class actions and appeals, with a strong background in constitutional law and civil rights.

Admitted to the Vermont Bar or eligible for admission.

Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward from investigation and development through all levels of the court system, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies; extensive familiarity with the working and operation of state and local government.

Project management experience and goal-oriented approach; the ideal candidate is skilled at developing a strategic vision in alignment with ACLU of Vermont organizational priorities, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization.

Management experience in recruiting, training, mentoring, managing, collaborating with, and motivating a diverse, high-performing litigation team; ability to work cooperatively and effectively with others to set goals, resolve problems, and exercise good judgment. The ideal candidate is a team player who inspires collaboration, lifts up the work of others, and maintains balance and perspective with patience and a sense of humor; proven ability to build and nurture a calm and positive working environment, even in high-intensity situations.

Demonstrated commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion, both in the workplace and in collaboration with community partners and constituents. Proven ability to work with emotional intelligence, receive feedback, work through conflict with integrity, and operate within principles of solidarity when working in partnership with constituencies impacted by oppression. Proven ability to work in a manner that respects differences in race, ethnicity, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.

Exceptional research, writing, and analytical skills; excellent oral communication skills; proven ability to clearly communicate complex legal issues both in the courtroom and to the public; and proven ability to develop and implement short- and long-term litigation strategies in trial and appellate proceedings in both state and federal courts.

Strong self-motivation, organizational skills, a demonstrated capacity to work in a timely and professional manner under multiple deadlines; a creative and strategic approach to problem-solving and litigation; and the ability to coordinate with and manage staff attorneys and outside cooperating counsel.

Ability to work irregular hours, including evening and weekend events as necessary. Valid driver’s license or driver’s privilege card, reliable vehicle, and willingness to travel.


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