Des Moines



Deadline date

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until the position is filled.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Iowa seeks an experienced full-time Paralegal to join our team!

The Paralegal will be a dynamic professional who is looking for a meaningful opportunity in a proven and vibrant organization that makes profound differences in the lives of individuals.

Reporting to the Legal Director, the Paralegal will assist the Legal Director in efficiently running the ACLU of Iowa’s legal program, which includes litigation support for staff attorneys, day-to-day management of legal intake and requests for assistance, and other administrative and clerical tasks.

The position is based in our office in Des Moines, Iowa and is eligible for a hybrid work schedule, which would allow the paralegal to work remotely up to three days a week and to work in office at least two days per week as needed/assigned.

Founded in 1935, the ACLU of Iowa is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization which uses legal, legislative, and public education approaches to protect and promote individual rights and freedoms, including free speech rights, voting rights, LGBT equality, criminal justice reform, immigrants’ rights, reproductive freedom, women’s rights, racial justice, and privacy rights.

The ACLU of Iowa is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties guaranteed by the Bill of Rights.

Our Paralegal will:

  • Provide Legal Department Support by:
  • Filing and serving legal pleadings and other documents, such as notices, motions, briefs, exhibits, and discovery.
  • Screening, investigating, and responding to legal intake and requests for assistance.
  • Maintaining intake records and creating and maintaining an updated intake database.
  • As assigned, working with other staff to recruit, hire, train, and supervise interns and volunteers to work with intake and other projects.
  • Maintaining professional and timely communication, as appropriate, with clients, volunteer attorneys, opposing counsel, court reporters, government officials, and court staff.
  • Proofreading, cite-checking, and formatting pleadings and other documents, including letters, briefs, and affidavits.
  • Organizing and maintaining electronic and paper legal files; creating and maintaining a shared litigation calendar; managing the legal department’s record keeping and data collection.
  • Managing document discovery and summarizing depositions.
  • Conducting Internet and other factual research or investigation and assisting attorneys with legal and other research.
  • Assisting with client and witness interviews.
  • Make logistical arrangements for depositions, client meetings, and other events as assigned.
  • Mailing, copying, and scanning tasks.
  • Providing other administrative support for the legal department and cooperating volunteer attorneys.

The successful Paralegal will have these essential attributes:

  • At least 3 years of experience working within a legal environment, including experience as a paralegal, legal assistant or secretary, or handling administrative support work in a law office or comparable legal setting. Paralegal degree/certificate is highly desirable, but not required.
  • Excellent writing, editing, formatting, and proofreading skills, with careful attention to detail.
  • General familiarity and comfort with the basics of legal terminology, the legal process, and procedures for filing and serving litigation documents in federal and state court. Some form of prior experience with litigation support, including discovery, motion practice, and formatting briefs, is preferred. Civil rights experience is helpful.
  • Basic working knowledge of Westlaw is helpful, as is any experience using our federal and state courts’ online e-filing systems.
  • Ability to organize and maintain legal files, physically and electronically.
  • Must be comfortable with frequent client contact, protecting clients’ best interests, maintaining confidentiality, and other ethical duties of the legal profession.
  • Excellent time management and organizational skills, including an ability to maintain focus and manage workflow in a fast-paced, deadline-driven environment while juggling competing priorities and assignments from multiple attorneys.
  • Proficiency with computers, including Microsoft Windows, Word, Outlook, and related office software. Ability to master new software such as an intake database or case management program.
  • Ability to handle day-to-day legal intake and supervise legal intake interns and volunteers.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, including an ability to work with a diverse clientele. Patience, sensitivity, and empathy are critical.
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.

Finally, our Paralegal will bring a commitment to the mission and goals of the ACLU of Iowa, along with a personal dedication to a professional team.


Starting salary for this full-time, non-exempt (overtime eligible) position is commensurate with experience within the range of $26.50-$36.00/hour (estimated $55,000-75,000 per year). We offer excellent benefits, including health insurance, life and long-term disability insurance; a 401(k) plan with employer contribution; and sick, vacation, and holiday leave.


Submit a letter of interest, resume or C.V., and three professional references including their email, phone, and relationship to you, to Rita Bettis Austen at jobs@aclu-ia.org. No calls please. Please put “Paralegal” in the subject line of your email.

Applicants who proceed beyond a first interview will be required to complete a test assignment. 

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 indicate where you learned of this opportunity.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU 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, and veteran status, record of arrest or conviction.