We are seeking a full-time staff attorney for a three-year position, to begin late spring/early summer 2018 and to work under the direction of the ACLU of Iowa Legal Director. 

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Investigate and litigate selected civil liberties and civil rights cases. This includes factual and legal research, client and witness interviewing, preparation of legal memoranda, writing demand letters, drafting pleadings and briefs, discovery and motion practice, trials, and appeals in both state and federal courts, including court appearances as required to argue motions or oral argument on appeal, negotiating settlements, and writing amicus briefs.
  • Manage legal intake as assigned by assisting in the evaluation of and response to requests for legal assistance.
  • Participate in a team of associated attorneys; co-counsel cases with other public interest groups; investigate civil liberties complaints that may lead to law reform litigation.
  • Work with ACLU volunteer attorneys.
  • Conduct research, prepare legal memoranda and letters; review, and/or write amicus briefs; provide legal analysis to other senior ACLU staff as directed by the Legal Director.
  • Assist in the recruitment and supervision of law students and interns as assigned.
  • Advocate for civil liberties and serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU both with the press and as a public speaker, as assigned.
  • Work with other ACLU of Iowa program staff as assigned by Legal Director. Our office follows an integrated advocacy model, using legislative, legal, advocacy and communications strategies to achieve significant goals.


  • J.D. and law license required. At least two years of experience preferred. Individuals with more significant litigation experience are also encouraged to apply.
  • Iowa law license or, if licensed in a state other than Iowa, must be willing and able to become licensed in Iowa as soon as possible.
  • Litigation experience, especially related to constitutional, criminal justice, or discrimination issues.
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law and civil liberties issues.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the preservation and vigorous enforcement of civil liberties. Firm commitment to the mission and principles of the ACLU.
  • A nuanced understanding of and experience with diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, citizenship and immigration status, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Demonstrated skills in legal analysis, research, and strategic thinking.
  • Demonstrated ability to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, other staff members, community organizations, and coalitions. Experience in non-profit advocacy or with other community-based groups is a plus, but not required.
  • Creative, result-oriented, self-starting, willing to learn, and able to manage an aggressive schedule.
  • Proficiency with computers:  Macs and Microsoft Office in particular.
  • A flexible, reliable, creative, and energetic person who can handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities.
  • Ability to manage a demanding schedule, working beyond 9 a.m.-5 p.m. as needed.
  • A team player who inspires collaboration and functions decisively; flexible and well-organized.
  • Emotionally mature with a sense of humor in order to maintain balance and perspective.
  • Knowledge of languages likely to be spoken by clients with limited English proficiency is a plus, but not required.
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts.
  • Ability to work with a wide range of people to foster an inclusive team environment.


Starting salary range is $53,000-$58,000, depending on experience and qualifications. Excellent benefits are offered, including health and dental insurance plan, life and long-term disability insurance; 401(k); sick, vacation and holiday leave.

Application Procedure:

Submit a letter of interest, resume, two professional writing samples of no longer than 7 pages each (one legal and one non-legal preferred; otherwise, two legal), and three professional references including their email, phone, and relationship to you, to Rita Bettis at jobs@aclu-ia.org. No calls please. Please put “Staff Attorney” in the subject line of your email.

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 career opportunity.


Applications due by Tuesday, April 9, 2018. Posting will remain active until the position is filled.

About the ACLU of Iowa:

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

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, veteran status, or record of arrest or conviction.


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