Website American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (“ACLU-PA”)

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania (“ACLU-PA”) seeks a Supervising Senior Staff Attorney to help lead and direct the ACLU-PA’s litigation from our Philadelphia office. As an affiliate of the ACLU, the ACLU of Pennsylvania focuses its work on issues that directly impact people who live in, work in, or travel to/from Pennsylvania. We also work with the National ACLU on litigation and advocacy.

Our current work is organized around the following three priority areas: (1) reducing the number of people in prisons, jails, and detention centers; (2) minimizing police and other law enforcement interaction with Black and brown communities and holding the police accountable for grievous harm; and, (3) protecting and expanding voting rights and access, eliminating barriers that disenfranchise voters, and increasing civic engagement. The Supervising Senior Staff Attorney will focus on these issues as well as other core civil rights and civil liberties matters.

The Supervising Senior Staff Attorney will help develop and lead major litigation and provide support and mentorship for the organization’s more junior attorneys. They will be based out of our Philadelphia office.

The ACLU-PA’s Legal Department is comprised of seven staff attorneys as well as legal fellows. Legal Department staff work on a wide range of civil rights and civil liberties cases, at both trial and appellate levels, in federal and state courts. They also support the legislative, advocacy, and communications work of the ACLU-PA.


Duties and Responsibilities

The vast majority of an ACLU-PA attorney’s work entails the investigation, development, and initiation of litigation involving a mix of high-impact and emergent cases, which requires the following duties and responsibilities:
Overseeing and supervising the development and litigation of cases involving a mix of emergent matters (which frequently requires emergency injunctive relief) and longer-term impact litigation, with a focus on litigation to reform criminal legal systems;
Drafting pleadings, motions, and briefs; conducting discovery; participating in evidentiary hearings, including injunction hearings and bench and jury trials; engaging in settlement negotiations, and post-judgment monitoring;
Writing and supervising the drafting of appellate briefs, including amicus briefs, and handling or assisting with oral argument;
Recruiting and co-counseling cases with lawyers from the private bar (we call them “cooperating attorneys”);
Supervising one to two staff attorneys and providing guidance and mentorship to the less experienced lawyers in the Philadelphia Office;
Developing and maintaining professional relationships with other lawyers, especially those in the public interest bar; judges; law professors; elected officials; and leaders of allied organizations and community partners; and
Other duties may be required to meet ACLU-PA needs.

Other important aspects of an ACLU-PA attorney’s job involve:
Research and support for our Legislative program;
Advocacy work to advance civil rights through non-litigation means, such as writing public comments, public speaking, interactions with the press, know-your-rights presentations, and other public-education efforts;
Intra-organizational work, including strategic planning, the practice of inclusive norms, participation in internal meetings, and collaboration with other ACLU affiliates and the National ACLU; and
Working closely with the legal director, legal department colleagues, and staff from other departments to promote cross-departmental projects and initiatives.


Required Education/Experience

A J.D. from an ABA-accredited law school
Membership in the Pennsylvania Bar. If you are currently a member of another state bar, you must either be eligible to be admitted to the Pennsylvania Bar or sit for the next available Pennsylvania Bar examination and pass within twelve months
As of January 3, 2022,  would be required to live within commuting distance of the Philadelphia office. (Remote work is allowed currently)
Litigation experience: seven or more years of litigation experience in either federal or state court (a clerkship with a trial or appellate level court counts as litigation experience)

While no one person will have all of the skills and competencies enumerated below, the successful candidate should have many of the following:

Highly important skills/competencies:

Excellent legal research, analysis, and writing abilities
Substantive knowledge of constitutional law
Experience with federal civil rights litigation
Experience engaging in the investigation, development, and initiation of complex litigation, including drafting pleadings, discovery, motion practice, and handling hearings
Experience managing and directing major litigation
Critical thinking skills, including; being able to quickly grasp the subtleties of complex legal issues and identify patterns; the ability to come up with insightful, pragmatic, equitable, and sustainable ways to tackle common challenges and produce positive change; and, a successful track record of taking a concept from idea to implementation
The ability to identify decisions, policies, or practices that have disparate impacts based on identity as well as the drive to make changes in systems and practices to advance equitable outcomes
Direct personal or professional experience with communities impacted by systemic bias or economic exclusion
Knowledge of and familiarity with racial equity and inclusion principles, including;  being able to recognize ways that race and other identities intersect in the work, especially with communities we serve; being comfortable talking about identities such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, class, ability, or gender in plain, specific terms; and, understanding the historical context for racial inequity and its present-day implications
Ability to manage a variety of work, to prioritize among competing demands, to stay organized and keep things on track, to take initiative to move cases forward, and to know when and how to ask for help
Proven ability to supervise a team and collaborate, to adapt quickly to changing circumstances, to pay attention to detail, to acknowledge mistakes, to be receptive to constructive feedback, and to be accountable and reliable

Additional skills/competencies



Experience with criminal legal systems
Experience and/or interest working at the intersection of criminal legal reform and economic justice
Experience working directly or in coalition with grassroots and community-based organizations
Experience supervising junior lawyers
Experience with public speaking

Compensation & Benefits

We are committed to creating and maintaining a diverse workforce through equity initiatives, which includes equitable pay practices. Competitive compensation is commensurate with experience.  The salary for the Supervising Senior Staff Attorney is $81,000-$102,000 annually, depending on experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-PA compensation scale. Excellent benefits include generous vacation and sick leave; individual/family employer-provided health and dental insurance; life insurance and long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; and 11 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act.


Application Procedure/Deadline

Applications will be accepted until October 1, 2021, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website,

We encourage you to apply as soon as possible.  Applications must include (1) a resume, (2) a cover letter, and (3) a writing sample.

Please email your letter of interest and attachments to Witold Walczak, Legal Director, at with a subject line of “Supervising Senior Staff Attorney.” Application materials sent via postal mail or fax will not be accepted. No calls, please.

Applications will be accepted until October 1, 2021, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website,


About the ACLU of Pennsylvania

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization that serves as an enduring guardian of justice, fairness, and freedom, working to protect civil liberties and advance equity for all.

ACLU-PA defends and promotes the fundamental principles and values protected by the constitutions of the United States and of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, as well as by national, state, and local civil rights laws. For more than 100 years, the ACLU has sought in particular to protect and expand the freedoms of expression, belief, and association; voting rights; the separation of church and state; the right to privacy, including reproductive freedom; due process of law, including the rights of the accused and of immigrants; limitations on the power of police; limitations on the power of police; and the right to equal protection for all marginalized individuals and groups. In advancing these rights, ACLU-PA strives always to acknowledge and remedy the pervasive and persistent harms of systemic racism.

Integrating litigation, legislative and policy advocacy, organizing, and communications, ACLU-PA’s staff and volunteers work both independently and in coalition with those most affected by the issues we address to ensure that threats to liberty and the civil rights of all persons in Pennsylvania are met with stark resistance as we progress toward a more genuine multiracial, multicultural democracy.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunities 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, and any other basis prohibited by law. The organization also provides reasonable accommodations for qualified applicants and employees with disabilities. This equal employment opportunity policy applies to all aspects of employment, including recruitment, selection, advancement, training, problem resolution, and separation from employment. Through this policy, the ACLU-PA strives to establish and maintain an equitable and accessible work environment that is free from discrimination and supportive of a workforce that reflects the rich diversity of our communities and the people we serve.


Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Vision Statement

The ACLU-PA affirmatively values the humanity and contributions of those we work with, inside and outside of the organization, and will take action to build and sustain an equitable, anti-racist culture that centers the voices and experiences of marginalized and directly impacted people and communities, and an organizational environment where all people feel valued, trusted, and respected. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and having a workforce that reflects the populations that we serve; we actively recruit people of color, women, people with disabilities, formerly incarcerated people, and LGBQ&T, and gender non-conforming people.

The Approach

Our work is guided by the principles of freedom, equality, and justice enumerated in the Constitution. However, we understand that systemic racism and other forms of oppression have prevented the equitable application of these principles to all, and we strive to ensure that our approach accounts for this reality. We also acknowledge that the demands of the work as well as the challenging subject matter it often involves takes a toll. While we know that the path of this work is long and hard, we also value the importance of personal wellbeing. To that end, we endeavor to cultivate a culture that is supportive and sustainable and promotes taking care of oneself.

ACLU-PA’s hiring process will comply with Philadelphia’s Fair Criminal Records Screening Standards (“Ban the Box”) ordinance.

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