Legal Director ACLU of Louisiana New Orleans, Louisiana
ABOUT ACLU OF LOUISIANA
For nearly 100 years, the ACLU has been our nation’s guardian of liberty, working in courts, legislatures, and communities to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. The ACLU of Louisiana takes up the toughest civil liberties and civil rights cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach. While recognized as one of the nation’s leading public interest law firms, the ACLU’s strength lies in an integrated advocacy approach, which requires collaboration between legal, advocacy, public education, and communications staff on comprehensive strategies to maximize impact.
The priorities of the ACLU of Louisiana include advancing racial justice, ending mass incarceration, defending the rights of the asylum seekers and vulnerable immigrant communities, achieving full equality for the LGBT community, preserving the right to vote, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, and the right to have an abortion.
The ACLU of Louisiana is the local affiliate of the National ACLU. Founded in 1956 with a growing staff of six, it is poised for growth and expansion. The Executive Director, Alanah Odoms Hebert will carry on the affiliate’s legacy of defending the Constitution, with the new charge of refracting that work through the lens of racial justice.
For more information on the ACLU of Louisiana, please visit their website.
The ACLU of Louisiana seeks a Legal Director to lead and expand its litigation and legal advocacy programs. Defending civil rights and civil liberties in the 21st century requires a new and creative approach to advocacy. The ACLU of Louisiana seeks a Legal Director who is eager to shape and lead impact litigation, as well as play a critical role in helping to plan and execute new strategies for growth and service to new constituencies, namely impacted communities of color. The Legal Director will be a critical member of the organization’s senior leadership team, reporting directly to the Executive Director and providing strategic leadership and coordination regarding litigation.
The Legal Director is responsible for helping to set overall legal strategy to advance the mission of the ACLU of Louisiana, as well as for the day-to-day management of the legal program, including three staff attorneys, cooperating attorneys, and the legal docket.
The Legal Director has primary responsibility for coordinating the selection of cases, in consultation with the Executive Director, which align with the affiliate’s organizational priorities and staff capacity. They also oversee the development of cases prior to the commencement of litigation and the implementation of litigation thereafter.
The Legal Director must be a creative, strategic, and tactical thinker with a courageous and imaginative approach to litigation. The Legal Director must have a strong commitment to the ACLU of Louisiana’s core values of courage, integrity, and justice, and must also have a great love for people. The Legal Director must have a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, and work to establish a climate that welcomes and promotes respect for diversity of all types. The Legal Director must have a positive attitude about carrying out the responsibilities of the position and handle sometimes heavy workloads with a reasonable about of grace. The Legal Director must also display a willingness to go the extra mile to help the team succeed.
In addition, the Legal Director is a highly visible spokesperson for the ACLU, speaking regularly to print and broadcast journalists and at public forums, and otherwise advocating for civil rights and civil liberties both in the courts of law and in the court of public opinion. At times, the Legal Director assists in fundraising efforts by participating in meetings with major donors, speaking at donor forums and events, and otherwise working with development staff to ensure consistent funding for the ACLU’s work.
The ACLU of Louisiana expects the new Legal Director to proactively seek out and creatively develop, lead, and implement a strategic impact litigation program that advances key civil rights and civil liberties by persuading state and federal courts, and regulatory agencies to recognize new or established legal principles. Specifically, the Legal Director will be expected to accomplish the following major objectives within the first 12-18 months of their tenure:
Develop an aggressive impact litigation docket that advances the ACLU’s strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
Provide systematic planning and reporting, including items such as budgets and regular status reports;
Continue to build an organizational culture within the legal program that encourages an integrated advocacy approach;
Deepen the relationships among the ACLU of Louisiana’s core constituents, and broaden that constituency beyond traditional ACLU supporters, and help to increase the growth and visibility of the Affiliate;
Formalize, expand and operationalize the cooperating attorney program;
Facilitate legal education for the private bar on humanitarian parole in immigration cases;
Strengthen and expand the existing legal campaign to reduce the prolific growth of detention of immigrants in Louisiana;
Develop a comprehensive legal strategy to reduce pretrial incarceration in the myriad 64 parishes across the state of Louisiana.
While no one person will embody all of the qualities enumerated below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:
Demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties;
A minimum of 7 years of litigation experience at the state and federal court levels, with a strong background in criminal justice, immigration, constitutional, voting or other civil rights litigation;
Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward at all levels of the judiciary, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies;
Excellent communication, media, presentation, written, and analytical skills;
Significant experience representing and working with activists in grassroots and non-governmental organizations;
Experience working closely with a volunteer board of directors and nonprofit organizations;
Proven experience managing a staff of lawyers, including coaching and mentoring staff through goal-setting processes, managing performance, and balancing big-picture, longer-term strategy with urgent needs;
Louisiana Bar admission is preferred but not required initially; the successful applicant will be required to obtain admission as soon as possible after hire.
In addition, strong candidates will offer:
A deep personal commitment to and passion for advancing civil rights and civil liberties;
Excellent organizational skills and a creative approach to problem-solving and litigation;
Goal-oriented, project-oriented, and achievement-oriented, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization;
A team-building and collegial management style, including effective communications skills, a warm personal style that commands respect, and a good sense of humor, courage and integrity.
Koya Leadership Partners, the executive search firm that specializes in mission-driven search, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Trisha Sutrisno and Amber Gomes are leading this search. To make recommendations or to express your interest in this role please visit this link or email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. All nominations, inquiries, and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.
The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Louisiana encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to arrest or conviction, race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability and veteran status.
ABOUT KOYA LEADERSHIP PARTNERS
Koya Leadership Partners, a member of the Diversified Search Group, is a leading executive search and strategic advising firm dedicated to connecting exceptionally talented people with mission-driven clients. Our founding philosophy—The Right Person in the Right Place Can Change the World—guides our work as we partner with nonprofits & NGOs, institutions of higher education, responsible businesses, and social enterprises in local communities and around the world.
For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit www.koyapartners.com.