Legal Director

  • ACLU
  • Boise, ID, USA
Full Time Legal

Job Description

The Legal Director is a thought leader who will work collaboratively to develop a vision for advancing civil rights and liberties and engaging in defensive battles against policies and practices that impact vulnerable Idahoans. This position is responsible for shaping, directing, and managing the ACLU of Idaho’s impact litigation and legal advocacy. The Legal Director works in partnership with our policy, organizing, and communications staff in addition to national ACLU staff, coalition partners, and others to develop a strategic, smart, and innovative litigation docket and advance advocacy efforts. The Legal Director will work with the ACLU of Idaho Legal Panel and assist with recruiting and working successfully with cooperating attorneys. The Legal Director maintains an active and vibrant docket to further the organizational priorities, including, but not limited to, criminal justice and prison reform, LGBTQ equality, racial justice, disability rights, voting rights, and immigrants’ rights. The Legal Director must demonstrate a strong commitment to racial equity and actively participate in work to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and incorporate a DEI lens to the legal department’s internal and external work.

This job is not limited to attorneys who graduated from one of a handful of schools or clerked for one of a handful of judges. 

The ACLU is the nation’s premier guardian of liberty. A nationwide, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization, the ACLU is dedicated to defending and expanding civil liberties and human rights across the country. The ACLU of Idaho and its foundation operate jointly as private nonprofit organizations devoted to furthering the ACLU’s mission in Idaho. The ACLU of Idaho employs a three-prong approach to its work, which includes litigation, legislative advocacy, and community engagement. To learn more, visit and

Our staff of eight full-time and two part-time employees work in a fast-paced, friendly office in the heart of downtown Boise, Idaho (though due to COVID-19, our staff are currently working remotely). Boise, the City of Trees, is the capital of Idaho and the core of a metro area of 730,000 people. The city enjoys all four seasons in a dry climate and offers an exceptional quality of life and a diverse business community with high tech industries. Recreational activities include whitewater rafting and kayaking, climbing, fishing, hunting, and skiing. There is a 190-mile foothill trail system for hiking and mountain biking and a 25-mile riverside greenbelt along the Boise River which flows through the city. Downtown offers thriving restaurants, shops, concerts, and public markets, and an ever expanding number of local microbrew pubs and wineries. Over 95 languages are spoken in Idaho. The Treasure Valley, which includes the cities of Boise, Meridian, Nampa and Caldwell is home to the state’s largest Latinx community. Boise is also a hub for LGBTQ communities and political activism in Idaho. Boise is a refugee resettlement city.


(1) Legal

  • Lead attorney to maintain and develop an ambitious impact litigation docket that advances the ACLU of Idaho’s strategic priorities and responds to immediate or emerging threats to Idahoans’ civil rights and liberties.
  • Conduct factual and legal research, interviewing clients and potential witnesses, preparing memoranda, drafting pleadings, briefs and correspondence, conducting discovery, including depositions, arguing motions, trying cases in federal and state courts, handling appeals and negotiating settlements.
  • Draft and or recruit attorneys to file amicus briefs in cases of constitutional significance.
  • Supervise, lead, or participate in a team of associated attorneys, including those at other public interest organizations.
  • Recruit and work with ACLU volunteer attorneys.
  • Provide technical assistance and advice to attorneys and advocates on civil liberties issues.
  • Develop legal strategy with National ACLU.

 (2) Advocacy/Public Education

  • Collaborate with ACLU staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies that use legal, communications, public education, legislative, and field organizing simultaneously.
  • Manage, oversee and assist the Movement Support Lawyer in developing strategies to advance movement support work through our advocacy campaigns. 
  • Provide or assign legal research projects on legislative proposals and public education materials to other staff within the Legal Department.
  • Ensure that strategic plans for the ACLU of Idaho legal program, as well as specific litigation and legal advocacy projects are in line with the organization’s strategic priorities. 
  • Participate in organizational work grounded in theories of change that educate, build community-based movements, and get at the root of the problems they seek to address.
  • As appropriate, serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with the press and as a public speaker. 

 (3) Administration, Coordination and Support

  • Contribute to the maintenance of the legal docket.
  • Ensure that all pleadings are filed timely and according to court rules.
  • Supervise the Movement Support Lawyer, Paralegal, and other Legal Department staff as we grow.
  • Supervise law students, interns, volunteers.
  • Work with our Legal Panel to screen and develop promising civil liberties cases.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with legal staff at the National ACLU, its projects and other affiliates.

(4) Provide Support to the Executive Director and other staff

  • Ensure the Executive Director is adequately informed of work, and prepare reports and provide support as needed. 
  • Be willing to meet with individual donors to discuss the Legal Program.
  • Develop and conduct staff training sessions and workshops on issues related to the ACLU’s Legal Program.

 Required Qualifications:

  • A J.D. with at least 5 years of litigation experience; preference will be given to applicants with demonstrated experience in constitutional or public interest law and/or federal court litigation. Extraordinary candidates with less experience may be considered.
  • Patience, emotional intelligence, and cultural competency, including the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people with a wide range of races, ethnicities, language proficiencies, abilities, genders, ages, backgrounds, interests, skills, concerns, personalities, and geographies.
  • Demonstrated ability to juggle and prioritize many concurrent tasks at once, manage a high-volume workload, pay extremely close attention to detail, adapt quickly to changing organizational priorities, and meet moving deadlines.
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative, problem-solve, multi-task, and work independently.
  • Exceptional legal research, writing, and analytical skills.
  • Extensive familiarity with the structures and operation of state and local government.
  • Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote objectives, including building coalitions with ally organizations and public advocacy.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability and willingness to function as a member of the team.
  • Skilled in managerial and administrative tasks, including supervising others and coordinating with others inside and outside the ACLU.
  • Clear, strong, and proven commitment to racial justice, civil liberties, public interest work, and the mission of the ACLU of Idaho.
  • Ability to work irregular hours, including evenings and weekends as necessary.
  • Valid driving privileges and willingness to travel across Idaho and occasionally to other places in the United States.
  • Current admission to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction at time of hiring. Admission to Idaho State Bar, U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit within six months of being hired.
  • Proficiency in Spanish preferred. 

Desired Qualifications:

  • Broad knowledge of constitutional, civil rights, and human rights law.
  • Knowledge and experience with immigration law.
  • Experience working with state and local policymaking processes.
  • Spanish speaking and writing ability.


The salary range for this position is expected to be between $60,000 and $80,000. Excellent benefits include 100% employer-paid premiums for medical, vision and dental insurance, 401(k) plan with an employer match, life and long-term disability insurance, sabbatical eligibility after at least five years, and generous paid holidays.

Idaho Bar Dues, liability insurance and CLE expenses provided by the ACLU.

 To Apply:

Compile the following into a single PDF file:

  • A résumé.
  • A one- or two-page cover letter that identifies evidence of a clear, strong, and proven commitment to civil liberties and public interest work, and explains how your experience is applicable to the job responsibilities.
  • A legal writing sample, up to 10 pages in length. The writing sample can be an excerpt from a longer piece, such as a brief.
  • Contact information for three references, including at least two legal references, at least one of whom can discuss your litigation skills.

Send to admin(at)

Please reference “Legal Director” in the email subject line, and indicate in your cover letter where you found this job listing.

Review of applications will begin February 22, 2021. The position will remain open until filled. Absolutely no unsolicited calls, please.

The ACLU of Idaho advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to support a work environment free from discrimination on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age (over 40), sexual orientation, military and veteran status, arrest or conviction record, and any other basis prohibited by law. The ACLU of Idaho embraces Fair Chance policies.

The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. Our equity and inclusion commitment applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this commitment, the ACLU of Idaho strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is supportive and free from discrimination.



$60,000 - 80,000