Deputy Legal Director

ACLU of Illinois | Chicago, Illinois

Background

The ACLU of Illinois Legal Department works with colleagues across the organization to advance civil rights and civil liberties 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 custody or control, including in the foster system, prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities. 

Job Summary

The Deputy Legal Director is a highly collaborative team player who will lead, in partnership with the Legal Director, many aspects of the administration and management of the Legal Department. Examples include developing and improving systems to ensure the legal program runs efficiently, overseeing legal intake, supervising staff, managing the legal internship program, advancing attorney training, recruiting and working with cooperating attorneys and other legal partners, and other administrative and managerial tasks as needed to assist the Legal Director.

The Deputy Legal Director is a critical thought partner to the Legal Director and will contribute to litigation as needed to advance the ACLU-IL’s legal docket. The Deputy Legal Director will report to the Legal Director and will initially supervise administrative staff in the Legal Department.

Reports To

Legal Director

Responsibilities

Legal Counsel

  • Serve as close partner to the Legal Director in the development of new litigation strategies and case priorities.
  • Supervise cases involving early and mid-career attorneys seeking to develop litigation skills, and approve major strategic decisions in these cases in consultation with the Legal Director and other staff as appropriate.
  • Communicate regularly with the Legal Department and other organizational staff about obligations and boundaries that must be observed to ensure that the Legal Department meets the highest standard of ethics and minimizes organizational risk.
  • Consult outside counsel on complex legal issues where necessary to fulfill these responsibilities.

Department Leadership and Management

  • Serve as a leader in the Legal Department, supporting the development and execution of department-wide work and modeling inclusive leadership.
  • Promote a team-oriented culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging, professional growth, and job satisfaction.
  • Design systems to promote more effective working partnerships within and across departments.
  • Execute annual performance evaluation processes.
  • Oversee and maintain efficiency in Legal Department systems.
  • Work with staff in the Legal and Communications Departments to ensure consistent updates to case information on the ACLU-IL website and in reports to the Board. 
  • Manage the legal internship program.
  • Oversee IT needs for the Legal Department.

Hiring

  • Work with Legal Director on recruitment and hiring efforts.

Internal Training Program

  • Assess training needs for early and mid-career attorneys.
  • Design and execute training programs.

Supervision

  • Serve as personnel supervisor to legal administrative staff, intake volunteers, and other staff as needed.
  • Supervise and oversee legal intake.

Integrated Advocacy, Community Engagement, and Public Education

  • Partner with the Legal Director and staff in other Departments to anticipate and identify instances where advocacy and public education are necessary.

Qualifications

  • Experience as lead counsel in federal or state litigation.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in multiple written forms and in oral advocacy.
  • Highly collaborative with the desire to consult and share information with other colleagues across disciplines and departments.
  • Ability to lead projects to completion with strategic thinking and problem-solving.
  • Ability to take initiative, multi-task, and identify priorities amidst competing demands
  • Demonstrated experience in recruiting, developing, supervising, and retaining a diverse team of attorneys and legal staff.
  • Ability to navigate a wide variety of stakeholders and build respectful relationships with people from diverse backgrounds.
  • Consistently integrates deep understanding of key racial 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.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging within the office, using an approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regard 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 summer of 2021.
  • Highly qualified applicants will generally have at least 8 years of legal experience.

Compensation

The salary range is $90,000-$150,000 and will be based on the level of experience of the successful candidate, ranging from 8 to 20+ years. Excellent benefits include four weeks’ paid vacation; 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.

Requirements/Other

The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals 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.

ACLU of Illinois staff are based in Chicago, IL, but are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. When conditions are safe to return to the office space, staff members will be expected to work out of our Chicago office.

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Organization: Nonprofit organizations