Legal Fellow (Term Limited, 1 Year)

Application Deadline:  March 7, 2023
The ACLU of Washington seeks a 2023 or prior law graduate to serve as a Legal Fellow between August 2023 and August 2024, working alongside ACLU-WA staff attorneys and the Legal Director to research and investigate potential litigation, assist with litigating existent cases, and assist with identifying and writing amicus briefs.  The position is term limited and will not be extended.
*Please note: the ACLU-WA is closely following the 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Currently, we have begun transitioning back to the office and hope to open fully under our new Hybrid Work Policy in the fall. We will continue to carefully monitor public health pronouncements and recommendations.
To aid remote work, we provide laptops, home office supplies, certain equipment, and technology support. You will need an effective WiFi connection and a way to reach you by phone. This position is eligible for either a work phone or phone stipend, as well as an additional $100 stipend each month to help cover any additional costs while working from home.
The ACLU of Washington is a leader among state affiliates of the American Civil Liberties Union, the country's premier guardian of liberty. We work in courts, legislatures, and communities to protect and extend American rights to freedom, fairness, and equality. The ACLU is both nonprofit and nonpartisan. We have a staff of 45+ and are supported by more than 135,000 members, activists, and donors. 
Whether it is ending mass incarceration and police brutality, achieving full equality for LGBTQ+ people, protecting privacy in the digital age, preserving the right to vote, or ensuring reproductive freedom, the ACLU-WA is willing to take on tough civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government and corporate abuse and overreach. And we’re successful. In the past several years in Washington State, we’ve won through litigation an injunction against police abuse of racial justice protestors, a nationally significant lawsuit for a gay couple who was denied service by their local florist, treatment in jails and prisons for people suffering from opioid use disorder, access to employment for people with criminal records, relief from discrimination for people who are transgender; and other victories.
The ACLU of Washington is committed to ending racism in Washington State and throughout the country. This includes how we work with each other, and with our partners and allies in the communities we serve. We are committed to bringing anti-racism to all aspects of ACLU-WA's internal and external functions, including but not limited to recruitment, hiring and human resources, strategic planning, ally, donor, and volunteer relations, Board and committee processes, and deciding what cases to litigate. We are looking for candidates who share this commitment to advancing racial justice, both internally in our organization and externally in the communities that we serve.
The ACLU-WA is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture and are committed to race equity in all aspects of our work. The ACLU-WA encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, socio-economic circumstance, or record of arrest or conviction. We do not conduct criminal background checks on our candidates. People of color, LGBTQ+ people, women, and people with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.
Primary Responsibilities
  • Participate in ACLU-WA’s race equity work, including utilizing ACLU-WA race equity tools, adopting ACLU-WA race equity practices, and applying race equity principles to programmatic work and interpersonal interactions.
  • Conduct legal research and investigative work, identify and sign up named plaintiffs, and draft complaints, discovery, motions, pleadings and amicus briefs as assigned.  Serve as a member of litigation teams, supporting trials and appeals. Litigation duties will be conducted under the supervision of a staff attorney or senior staff attorney, and with the support of outside cooperating attorneys.
  • Review Petitions for Review at the Supreme Court of Washington and other potential opportunities for amicus engagement, and review and analyze proposed court rule changes.
  • Research, draft, and circulates internal case summaries, Legal Committee memoranda, and litigation memoranda to inform stakeholders about potential litigation.
  •  Participate in regular Legal Department and Legal Committee meetings to listen, inform, and raise considerations, and assist in collective decision making.
  • Participate in ACLU-WA hiring, program initiatives, and community building, including assisting in the research necessary for such work.
  • Conduct legislative bill review during legislative sessions to inform and apprise staff of particular legal considerations, and to ensure alignment with
  • As requested, represent ACLU-WA publicly at various community-based events to help bridge and sustain relationships between community contacts and relevant ACLU-WA staff.
  • As requested, speak with the media to ensure that the ACLU-WA’s work and positions are widely known, and effectively understood in the community.
  • Participate in regular meetings with external stakeholders and community partners, and conduct community outreach, when necessary, to establish and fortify our working relationships with allies in the communities we serve.
  • Participate in coalitions and working groups with external organizations and partners on a wide range of civil rights issues.
 Desired Qualifications 
  • J.D. as of May 2023 required. Admission to the Washington bar by fall 2023 preferred. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to plaintiff’s side work, constitutional law, civil rights, or civil liberties.
  • Previous experience working or volunteering in a nonprofit legal environment preferred.
  • Awareness of, and willingness to engage in, the difficult and transformative work of challenging systems of oppression, institutional and structural racism, and implicit bias.
  • Willingness to give constructive feedback, and open and willing to accept and apply constructive feedback.
  • Superior writing, research and communication skills in presenting both to lawyers and to the non-lawyer public. 
  • Ability to juggle multiple on-going projects and exercise good judgment under stressful situations.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work across lines of differences.
The ACLU-WA office generally open between the hours of 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is located in downtown Seattle. The physical demands and work environment described below represent those required and encountered by an employee to perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.
  • Able to input information into a computer for long periods of time.
  • Able to remain stationary for extended periods.
  • Able to assess information communicated through a computer.
  • Able to work some evenings, weekends, and holidays.
  • Able to periodically work long and extended hours.
  • Able to travel locally/regionally/across the state as needed.
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 description and/or posting at any time without advance notice. This position is “exempt” under the Fair Labor Standards Act.
The ACLU of WA is dedicated to centering equity in all aspects of the organization and has adopted a salary scale. The Legal Fellow salary will be $72,000. 
Benefits include three weeks of vacation, thirteen sick days, fifteen holidays, fully paid employee medical, dental, vision, and disability insurance, a generous retirement plan, student loan reimbursement, family care and adoption assistance, life insurance, five paid workdays for professional development opportunities a year, and an ORCA card, the regional transportation pass.
To apply, please submit a cover letter and resume on our online job portal. In your cover letter, please include specific detail about your legal experience, describe your commitment to racial equity, and explain how you would help advance the ACLU of Washington’s racial justice work. We also invite applicants to include in their letter information about how their background and/or experience could contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and advocacy work.
Applications will be accepted until March 7, 2023, at which time the job announcement will be removed from our website at If you have any questions, please reach out to [email protected].
The ACLU of Washington comprises two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Inc. and the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington Foundation. The two corporations share the same overall mission, office space, and employees. This job posting refers collectively to the two organizations under the name “ACLU of Washington”.