Career Opportunity



Center for Justice, New York or Washington, DC


The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation (ACLU), founded in 1920, is a nationwide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization with more than 500,000 members and is dedicated to the principles of liberty and equality embodied in the U.S. Constitution. The Center for Justice of the ACLU’s National Office seeks a full-time Staff Counsel who will focus on juvenile justice reform. This position will be based in New York, NY or in Washington, D.C. It is a two year position with the possibility of extension contingent on further funding. 




The ACLU’s Center for Justice seeks to transform the U.S. criminal justice system into one that views incarceration as an option of last – not first – resort. The Center works to ensure that our criminal justice system is effective, fair, and free of racial bias; that conditions of confinement are humane and constitutional; and that the death penalty is rejected as a legitimate form of punishment. The Center comprises the Criminal Law Reform Project, the National Prison Project and the Capital Punishment Project, as well as affiliated staff from our Washington Legislative Office and Advocacy and Communications Departments.


The Center for Justice seeks a Staff Counsel to work closely with other parts of the Center and organization to shape and advance its juvenile justice reform work as part of our Initiative to End Overincarceration. Priority areas of work will include reform of local and state policies that will lead to a reduction of youth incarceration rates in the juvenile justice system; minimizing and making more constructive the contact youth have with the adult criminal justice system; and eliminating the disproportionate contact youth of color have with the juvenile justice system. The Staff Counsel will be part of an integrated team that includes litigators, policy counsel and strategists, federal lobbyists, and communications specialists, and will work closely with ACLU affiliates across the country. 




  • Working closely with the Center Director and other staff in the Center and organization, as well as consulting with outside experts and allies, create a strategic work plan to advance our juvenile justice reform goals.
  • Effectively implement the work plan through strategic advocacy and litigation.
  • Work with other projects in the Center for Justice, as well as other projects and departments within the ACLU, including the Racial Justice Program, to establish and implement campaigns to reduce incarceration and bring fairness and equality to all aspects of the juvenile justice system.
  • Work with the ACLU’s Affiliate Support and Advocacy Department to advise and support ACLU state affiliates that work on juvenile justice reform in their own jurisdictions.
  • Serve as a public spokesperson in speeches, debates, the media, and other settings to advance the ACLU’s juvenile justice reform agenda.
  • Partner with peer organizations and advocates to further juvenile justice reform and to enhance the role of due process and other constitutional rights in the public conversation about the juvenile justice system.




Applicants must have a J.D. and:


  • At least 5 years of experience in criminal justice, juvenile justice, and/or other closely related public policy or legal work. Greater experience in the field is preferred.
  • A commitment to criminal justice reform, demonstrated by engagement in criminal justice (including juvenile justice) reform and advocacy on behalf of impacted communities.
  • Strong leadership skills, including experience supervising other staff and demonstrated ability to think creatively and work independently.
  • An ability to develop and implement multi-faceted strategic campaigns that include litigation, public education, and community outreach.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to write and speak persuasively and professionally.
  • Excellent analytic and writing skills. 
  • Ability to work on multiple time-sensitive projects effectively and efficiently, both as part of a team and independently, while meeting deadlines and paying close attention to detail.
  • A strong record of working in coalition with other public interest advocates and organizations.
  • Outstanding public speaking/communications skills including a demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences such as the general public, national and local media, policymakers, members of communities affected by over incarceration, and others.
  • Willingness to travel.




The ACLU offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU compensation scale.




Please send a cover letter, resume, two references, and a writing sample (preferably 10 pages or less), by email to Please note this is not the general ACLU applicant email address. In order to ensure your application is received please make certain it is sent to the correct e-mail address. You can expect to receive an automatic response that acknowledges the submission of application materials. Please reference [CJ-05/NABA] in the subject line – or send application materials by mail to:


   Alex Stamm

[RE: CJ-05/NABA]

American Civil Liberties Union

915 15th Street, NW

Washington, DC 20005


Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned of this career opportunity.


Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


This job description provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.


The ACLU is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.


The ACLU comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation. Both the American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU Foundation are national organizations with the same overall mission, and share office space and employees. The ACLU has two separate corporate entities in order to do a broad range of work to protect civil liberties. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU.”