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Public Policy Director

Baltimore, MD, USA | American Civil Liberties Union

  • Industry:
    Non-Profit / Social Enterprise
  • Position Type:
  • Functions:
    General Management
    Legal / Compliance
  • Experience:
    3-5 years
Job Description:
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The American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland / ACLU Foundation of Maryland seeks a dynamic attorney, strong community advocate, and an experienced innovative program director to lead the public policy work of the organization in advancing the ACLU’s broad and ambitious civil rights and civil liberties agenda — including government accountability, police accountability, individual autonomy, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and education — before the Maryland General Assembly, the executive branch, and local governmental bodies, as well as some work with Maryland’s Congressional delegation.


This is a full-time position. During the Maryland General Assembly legislative session (January – April), the Public Policy Director will be based in Annapolis. During the interim (May – December), the Director will be based in either Baltimore City, Prince George’s County, and/or Montgomery County within Takoma Park.

The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader who flourishes in a fast-paced environment and can effectively manage multiple issues and projects simultaneously. They will enjoy mentoring staff and cultivating advocacy and leadership skills within the team. They will have a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity, substantial public policy or legislative experience, knowledge about civil rights, and experience in working with local, state, and national partner organizations and community allies. They are a thoughtful leader who values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance, and they actively work to foster an equitable and inclusive experience for everyone in their work. As a member of the Senior Leadership Team and Management Committee, the Public Policy Director will advise the Executive Director and colleagues on policy advocacy implementation consistent with ACLU-MD’s strategic priorities.


Manage a team of lawyers, advocates, interns, and contract lobbyists engaged in legislative and policy advocacy. Work in a fast-paced environment, including during Maryland’s annual General Assembly session.

Lead the Public Policy team in visioning and implementing innovative advocacy efforts.

Identify, track, and analyze all legislation before the Maryland General Assembly that affects civil rights and civil liberties.

Engage, develop, and execute a public policy agenda that supports the organization’s strategic goals.

Advocate for ACLU-MD’s position on pending legislation at Maryland State Capital through lobbying, written, and verbal testimony before the Maryland General Assembly and local legislative bodies.

Work to actively elevate the work of and center the leadership of communities directly impacted by injustice.

Develop respectful and productive relationships, and coordinate advocacy efforts with impacted populations and partners.

Assist with development and support of coalitions.

Cultivate relationships with key elected and appointed officials, policy makers and related governmental bodies and leaders.

Prepare and edit policy and advocacy materials in collaboration with the Communications Director, including action alerts, talking points, issue briefs, letters, press statements, opinion editorials, website updates, and legislative and public policy reports.

In collaboration with the Directors of Communications and Engagement and Mobilization, develop and coordinate messaging, initiate press conferences, and speak publicly on ACLU-MD’s behalf in media opportunities and at events and forums.

Leverage ACLU-MD’s access to media outlets to raise the profile of impacted constituents; collaborate with engagement team to engage and mobilize stakeholders.

Manage several projects simultaneously and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.


A demonstrated commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy and incorporating a structural power analysis. Experience centering race equity in all aspects of policy advocacy. Knowledge and understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances.

Juris Doctorate and at least 4 years of legislative or policy advocacy experience.

Knowledge of statutory and legislative analysis, legal research and writing, and legislative processes in MD, advocacy and policy change tools, political landscape.

A minimum of 2 years’ experience managing staff teams productively in a nonprofit, advocacy, or political organization.

Exceptional analytical, research, writing and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues and communicate them appropriately and effectively to a variety of audiences.

Adaptable team player with the ability to engage various constituencies in a complex environment.

Strong public speaking abilities.

A demonstrated ability to work respectfully and effectively with impacted populations, coalitions and community groups, motivate volunteers, work across the political spectrum, and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation or preference, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.

Availability to work long hours and weekends during the Maryland General Assembly’s three-month session.

Ability to commute to meetings and events in Annapolis and throughout the state, and often on short notice.

Supervisory Responsibilities:

This position is a management position which encompasses supervisory responsibility. Supervisory duties may include but are not limited to encompassing the authority to recommend individuals for hire, promotion, transfer and/or discharge. This position may recommend appropriate evaluation, rewards and/or disciplinary actions to other employees as needed in order to meet organizational policy. This position operates in the best interest of the organization using independent judgement to formulate and effectuate management policies by expressing and making operative decisions relative to the success of assigned departments or teams.

Lead the Public Policy team in visioning and implementing innovative advocacy efforts.

Assign, review, plan and coordinate the work of employees who are members of OPEIU, Local 2.

Evaluate employee job performance.

Provide instruction and training and respond to employee concerns.

Recommend/approve the discipline or discharge of employees when necessary.

Recommend/approve the selection, promotion or transfer of an employee when appropriate.

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