The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana (ACLU-LA) is looking for a full-time Staff Attorney to spearhead and manage a substantial portion of its Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial docket.  With upwards of 30 cases filed in 2021, and an unprecedented Heck win achieved in one of its earliest cases, Justice Lab seeks to upend false narratives justifying police misconduct and lay critical groundwork for police accountability in Louisiana.  Working with more than 150 volunteers from national and multi-national corporations, more than 50 law firms functioning in a pro bono capacity, and multiple legal clinics, Justice Lab has processed more than 400 police misconduct complaints, published more than 20 stories from victims of racist policing, and filed [31] cases to date. 

The campaign also celebrated a significant milestone when the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana ruled that the lawsuit of Mr. Raynaldo Sampy, a young man who was brutalized during the course of an arrest by seven Lafayette City Parish police officers, may proceed. Because Mr. Sampy was convicted of battery of a police officer, defendants anticipated an easy Heck and qualified immunity win on their motion to dismiss. Heck bars a plaintiff who has been convicted of a crime from recovering damages for constitutional violations if he cannot show the alleged violations and underlying conviction are separable and conceptually distinct. Defendants lost on both Heck and qualified immunity grounds, which represents an early victory for Justice Lab.

Please click here to learn more about ACLU of Louisiana’s Justice Lab: Putting Racist Policing on Trial.

At bottom, the ACLU of Louisiana takes on the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases in the state, litigating issues seeking to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. While recognized as one of the nation’s leading public interest law firms, the ACLU’s strength lies in an integrated advocacy approach, which requires collaboration between legal, advocacy, public education, and communications staff on comprehensive strategies to maximize impact.

The priorities of the ACLU of Louisiana include advancing racial and gender justice, ending mass incarceration, defending the rights of the asylum seekers and vulnerable immigrant communities, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, preserving the right to vote, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, and the right to have an abortion.

The ACLU of Louisiana is the local affiliate of the National ACLU. Founded in 1956 with a growing staff of 15, we are poised for growth and expansion. The Executive Director, Alanah Odoms carries on the affiliate’s legacy of defending the Constitution, with the new charge of refracting that work through the lens of racial justice.

The Opportunity: 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana (ACLU-LA) seeks a leader who enjoys working in a fast-paced environment to join our dynamic team. The Staff Attorney is a member of ACLU-LA’s legal team and will report to the Legal Director. In addition, the Staff Attorney will manage an array of civil rights and civil liberties cases centered around our initiative of achieving racial and gender justice. 

ACLU-LA, the state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, non-profit, non-partisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, litigation, legislative, community mobilization, and public education.

ACLU-LA’s policy work includes but is not limited to, criminal justice reform; increasing access to the ballot box; advancing racial justice and LGBTQ equality; protecting religious freedom, reproductive justice, and the fair treatment of immigrants and refugees.

Reporting to the Legal Director, the Justice Lab Staff Attorney, will be accountable for performing duties which include:

Responsibilities: 

Managing a legal docket of upwards of 30 cases with co-counsel from national and local law firms.  This responsibility includes developing and executing novel legal strategies (both procedural and substantive) in consultation and coordination with the Legal Director, the National ACLU, and co-counsel, staying abreast of all pertinent and relevant case law, actively and productively engaging in co-counseling and client relationships, and tracking case progress and deadlines to ensure all relevant deadlines are met.

Supervise and direct ACLU of Louisiana litigation, including complaint drafting, all aspects of discovery, motion practice, evidentiary hearings, and drafting briefs in trial and appellate courts.

Collaborate with law student legal research volunteers at partner law schools and with attorneys and other staff at ACLU National and other affiliates as appropriate.

Supervise interns and volunteers including law students and others.

Other related duties as assigned by the Legal Director and Executive Director.

Must be willing to work flexible and non-traditional hours as needed and required by exigencies of the work.  Some travel is required.

Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes 

Demonstrate a commitment to the mission of the ACLU. 

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, disability and socio-economic circumstance. 

Demonstrate a commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts. 

Experience and Qualifications: 

J.D. and admission to the Louisiana Bar, or for an exceptional candidate, admission within one year of hire;

A minimum of 5 years of litigation experience at the state and federal court levels, with a strong background in criminal justice, immigration, constitutional, voting or other civil rights litigation;

Considerable experience litigating in federal courts, with strong preference for experience in civil liberties cases. 

A deep and demonstrated commitment to civil liberties and civil rights, and strong support for the goals of the ACLU;

Excellent research, writing, oral, advocacy, and analytical skills;

Excellent organizational skills;

Strong self-motivation and capable of complex analytic work; and

Strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to work collaboratively.

Willing to relocate to the New Orleans, Louisiana area

Leading applicants will have:

Experience litigating in federal courts including Section 1983 cases;

Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues;

Experience working with diverse communities, clients and coalition partners.

About the American Civil Liberties Union: 

The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked 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 LGBTQ+ 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.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference, treats everyone equitably, and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We 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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. 

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail careers@laaclu.org.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

Please follow the link here on BambooHR to apply.