Staff Attorney – Cross-Program

  • Full Time
  • Midwest
  • Applications have closed

Website ACLU of Illinois

The Roger Baldwin Foundation of the ACLU of Illinois (ACLU-IL) seeks a Staff Attorney to engage in litigation and, in collaboration with other Departments, non-litigation advocacy to promote transformational changes across several of our substantive program areas as described below.

The Legal Department of the ACLU of Illinois works with colleagues across the organization to advance civil rights and civil liberties throughout Illinois using strategic litigation, legislative and other advocacy with governmental officials, and public education. Our work focuses on fighting institutional and structural racism that undermines civil rights and civil liberties, including in the criminal and civil legal systems and immigration; protecting democracy by advancing First Amendment rights, government transparency, and voting rights; promoting access to reproductive health care, the rights of LGBTQ+ communities, and gender equity; and addressing and preventing the harm experienced by people in government care, including in the foster system, prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities.

A core priority of our work is to safeguard and expand access to reproductive and gender affirming health care, promote gender equity, protect and expand the rights of pregnant and parenting people and the LGBTQ+ community in the workplace, and fight back against the use of religion as a license to discriminate.  We work to promote transformational legal system changes, recognizing that litigation is only one tool in a broader social movement to promote these and related goals.

The Cross-Program Staff Attorney is a highly collaborative team player who will work with colleagues to litigate cases in state and federal court; create, implement, and participate—in collaboration with staff throughout the ACLU–IL and community partners—in non-litigation efforts to combat harmful laws and practices that are unlawful, harmful, and disproportionately impact women and members of the LGBTQ+ community; engage in public education; and advance the mission and goals the ACLU-IL’s legal work as a whole.

The Staff Attorney may advocate on a range of issues on which the ACLU-IL engages locally and statewide including: researching and evaluating potential affirmative measures to further protect access to reproductive and gender affirming health care in Illinois, advocating through litigation or non-litigation advocacy for people who seek such health care and are in State custody, monitoring the legal landscape and researching legal issues pertaining to attempts to criminalize or punish people seeking reproductive or gender affirming health care in Illinois, and representing clients in administrative proceedings related to discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, pregnancy, or other protected status.  As a member of the Legal Department, the Staff Attorney will serve as a team player and may contribute to litigation in other areas as needed to advance the ACLU-IL’s legal docket.

·         Investigate high-impact cases, including by researching systemic practices, seeking and analyzing public records, and learning from directly impacted people.

·         Conduct legal research and legal analysis, including on a short timeframe in response to emerging issues.

·         Litigate at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts, including by conducting discovery, engaging in motion practice, drafting factual and legal submissions, and handling routine hearings as appropriate.

·         Develop and maintain trusting, respectful, and collaborative relationships with clients, impacted individuals, issue experts, community-based and allied organizations, stakeholders, coalitions, communities affected by our work, and ACLU-IL members.

·         Investigate, develop, and advance, in coordination with other Departments, non-litigation strategies for advancing civil rights and civil liberties in policing and the criminal legal system.

·         Serve as an ACLU-IL spokesperson with the media and external partners on identified issues.

·         Conduct outreach, recruitment, and hiring for diverse and excellent legal interns.

·         Effectively supervise and mentor legal interns with an eye toward their professional development.

·         Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned to advance the work of the Legal Department as a whole, including in response to emerging issues.

·         Demonstrated capacity to perform complex legal analytical work.

·         Demonstrated ability to conduct efficient, thorough, and on-point legal research, including on a short timeframe.

·         Demonstrated ability to produce clear and persuasive written legal and non-legal documents.

·         Demonstrated ability to speak clearly and persuasively with a wide range of individuals and organizations in non-legal and legal settings.

·         Demonstrated ability to take initiative, multi-task, identify priorities amidst competing demands, and complete projects with strong problem-solving skills.

·         Excellent track record of working with individuals and communities with diverse identities.

·         Consistently integrates deep understanding of key equity concepts into work projects and interactions by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions on race, class, and other group identities within the context of job responsibilities and projects.

·         Demonstrates an ongoing commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion within the office, using an approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, socio-economic circumstance, and other factors.

·         J.D. degree.

·         Admitted to practice in Illinois, can waive into the Illinois bar, or is willing to take the Illinois bar exam no later than Winter 2023.

·         Willingness and availability to travel throughout Illinois and, when needed, work beyond the normal workday and on weekends.

·         Highly qualified applicants will generally have 2-3 years of legal experience.

The salary will be in accordance with the ACLU-IL salary scale and commensurate with experience:

·         $55,000 to $60,000 for attorneys in the 0-2 year range; and

·         $62,500 to $72,500 for attorneys in the 3-5 year range.

Excellent benefits include 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; four weeks paid vacation; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.

ACLU–IL staff are based in Chicago, IL, but are currently working on a blended in-office / remote work schedule. Staff members will be expected to work in our Chicago office on in-office days.

The Staff Attorney is full-time non-exempt union position that is part of a bargaining unit represented by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers/United Auto Workers Local 2320.


The ACLU-IL is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and encourage 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, criminal record, or veteran status.

The ACLU-IL is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you need assistance applying online, please email [email protected]. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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