Louisville, KY



Deadline date

Priority deadline: 5PM ET, Monday, December 13, 2021

General Information:

  • Supervisor: Legal Director
  • Classification: Full-Time Exempt
  • Supervisory Position: Yes

Position Overview:

The staff attorney works under the direction of the legal director to help develop and litigate cases at the trial and appellate level in state and federal courts on a wide variety of civil rights and civil liberties issues. While the staff attorney will be responsible for engaging in pro-active litigation around our strategic priority areas with a likely focus on criminal legal reform, they also will be expected to work closely with communications staff and policy advocates in support of the ACLU of Kentucky’s integrated advocacy model, which unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact.

Primary Responsibilities/Essential Duties:

  • In concert with the legal director, strategically plan, proactively seek out, and creatively implement a strategic impact litigation program to advance key civil rights and civil liberties. 
  • Work with fellow ACLU of Kentucky staff to integrate litigation with policy advocacy, communications and public education, and philanthropy.
  • Serve as co-counsel and work in conjunction with other staff within the ACLU of Kentucky, the national ACLU, other ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations to bring pro-active litigation around civil rights and other strategic priority issues.
  • Investigate, develop, and litigate—to include factual and legal research, discovery, motion practice, trials, appeals, and amicus briefs—high-impact cases at the trial and appellate levels in federal and state courts; maintain excellent and ethical client representation throughout.
  • Assist with intake review and responses conducted by legal assistant; follow-up with individuals who file complaints with the ACLU, including interviewing them, drafting affidavits or testimonies on their behalf, and conducting research to determine whether further action by the ACLU is warranted.
  • Engage in legal advocacy short of litigation, including: file open records requests and litigate ORR disputes, where needed; and write demand letters.
  • Coordinate with advaocacy team staff to implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies supporting ACLU priorities; provide legal analysis to advance ACLU-KY policy work; present testimony before legislative bodies and administrative agencies as requested by policy staff.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU of Kentucky, as assigned.
  • Assist legal director with supervising legal fellows, law student interns, legal support staff, and volunteers.
  • Conduct community outreach as needed, including public speaking, media interviews, outreach, and “know your rights” presentations, as well as writing op-eds, newsletter articles, and reports.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with partner organizations, public interest law firms, legal service agencies, and other members of the Kentucky legal community.


  • Critical Thinking: Ability to make substantial contributions on behalf of the legal program in matters of complex planning and coordination, including organizational strategic planning and formation of cross-departmental project teams.
  • Decision Making: Use organizational vision and mission to set goals, develop and implement tactics; assume ownership and exercise a high degree of discretion.
  • Leadership: Assist legal director to supervise legal fellows, law student interns, legal support staff, and volunteers.
  • Performance Feedback: Able to provide critical and effective feedback to both staff and executive team.
  • Organization: Excellent organization and administrative skills: a strong, consistent attention to detail, an organized work style, and the ability to follow through on work assignments with a minimum of direct supervision.
  • Demonstrated ability to communicate effectively, orally and in writing, to diverse audiences and in a variety of contexts. Demonstrated ability to simplify complex themes and activities into a short, compelling presentation or written piece.
  • Demonstrated skills in legal research and legal analysis.
  • The ability and willingness to travel regularly throughout Kentucky and the possession of a valid driver’s license and a reliable vehicle.
  • The position of staff attorney requires a willingness to occasionally work beyond the 9 to 5 hours of the normal work day, including evening and weekend meetings and/or events.

Required Qualifications and Experience:

  • J.D. with at least three years of significant experience litigating complex civil cases. Attorneys with less experience but with exceptionally outstanding abilities and experience will be considered.
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills, with both legal and non-legal audiences.
  • Demonstrated skills in legal research and legal analysis.
  • Ability to develop and implement litigation strategies.
  • Ability to edit the work of oneself and others with a collegial spirit to correct grammar and sharpen prose.
  • Strong self-motivation and ability to manage multiple deadlines.
  • Substantive knowledge of constitutional law and civil liberties.
  • Strong, demonstrated commitment to public interest law and the mission of the ACLU of Kentucky; knowledge of and experience with wide range of civil liberties and civil rights issues.
  • Displayed commitment to racial justice.
  • Ability to work effectively and professionally with attorneys, clients, and with community organizations and coalitions.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values individuals and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance, and the ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.
  • A confident and professional work style and the ability to work independently as well as cooperatively, exhibiting patience, good will, and good judgment.
  • Proficiency with personal computers, using Windows and Microsoft Office software.
  • Facility for administrative work including coordination with volunteer attorneys and supervision of support staff, law students, interns, and office volunteers.
  • Licensed to practice law in Kentucky (or admission within one year of hire).

Preferred Qualifications and Experience:

  • Experience working on impact litigation.
  • Experience with or understanding of issues facing people in Kentucky

Salary and Benefits:

The ACLU of Kentucky has a litigator scale that determines pay for attorneys in our legal department, which is based on year of law school graduation. Based on the level of experience sought for this position, we expect the salary to fall between $74,000 and $90,000. Excellent benefits offered, including generous health insurance plan, life and long-term disability insurance, 401(k), generous sick, vacation, parental, and holiday leave, and parking.

How to Apply:

Submit a letter of interest, resume, legal writing sample, and a list of three professional references including contact information, to Tracy@ACLU-KY.org with a subject line of “Staff Attorney Position.” The letter of interest should include: (A) how you learned about the position, and (B) your earliest available start date. Additionally, your cover letter must address the following questions: (C) what single civil rights/liberties issue do you feel is most pressing right now and why? (D) what identities, perspectives, and experiences would you bring to the ACLU of Kentucky that are important to you and/or relevant to our work; and (E) what familiarity do you have with issues facing Kentuckians?

Application Deadline:

Applications will be reviewed as they are received and will continue until the position is filled. Applicants are encouraged to apply early as we will have a priority deadline of December 13, 2021.


The ACLU of Kentucky is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail Tracy@ACLU-KY.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodations for the interview process.

The ACLU of Kentucky is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Kentucky encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, criminal history, and veteran status.