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Staff Attorney - Criminal Justice for ACLU Florida in Orlando, FL

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 12:17 PM | Nakia Ruffin (Administrator)


The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Florida seeks a criminal-justice attorney. The criminal-justice attorney works closely with the other members of the legal team to achieve the organization’s goal of protecting the liberties that define our democracy. This position is located in Orlando but includes some travel. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Florida is an affiliate of the national ACLU, a national public interest organization devoted to the defense of the Bill of Rights.  For more than 100 years, the ACLU has served as the nation’s primary protector of the liberties that define our democracy. The organization implements its vital civil liberties mission in all 50 states in large part through affiliate entities such as the ACLU of Florida. Operating out of four offices—Miami (main), Tampa, Pensacola, and Jacksonville—the Florida affiliate has a budget of over $8 million and 55 staff members, placing it among the larger ACLU affiliates in the nation. 

The ACLU of Florida, the state’s largest civil rights and civil liberties organization, employs litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education to protect and promote a broad range of constitutional values and individual rights, such as freedom of speech, racial justice, right to privacy, religious liberty, criminal justice reform, voting rights, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, disability rights, and immigrants’ rights.  The ACLU of Florida litigates a broad range of complex constitutional cases in federal and state courts through direct representation, filing amicus briefs, and submitting administrative complaints to state and federal agencies.   

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the ACLU of FL is currently working remotely.


The criminal-justice attorney is a staff position within the Affiliate’s Legal Department. The position reports to the Legal Director. The position is focused on criminal justice reform.


The primary programmatic focus of this position will be the development of litigation and other legal advocacy projects in the area of criminal justice reform. The staff attorney will:

  • Develop, prepare, and litigate criminal justice cases at all stages in state and federal trial and appellate courts.
  • Engage in pre-litigation, post-litigation, and non-litigation advocacy, including preparing demand letters, conducting settlement negotiations and enforcement, developing advocacy materials and public-education resources, and delivering public testimony.
  • Work closely with and provide policy analysis and legal expertise to non-legal program staff at the ACLU of Florida and ACLU National.
  • Engage regularly with the media on criminal-justice issues.


In addition to the primary responsibilities above, the staff attorney will also:

  • Develop and strengthen relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and affected communities.
  • Prepare and deliver “know your rights” information to affected communities.
  • Respond to the legal needs of affected communities, potentially on an emergency and immediate basis.
  • Participate in legal and advocacy conferences and develop and provide CLE presentations on pertinent topics.
  • Communicate ACLU views and positions to a variety of audiences, including judges, community residents, and policymakers, through public speaking, traditional and social media, and other means.

At times, the staff attorney may also be called upon to support the ACLU of Florida’s work in areas other than criminal justice reform.


First and foremost, the candidate must have exceptional analytic, research, and writing skills.

The only other required qualifications are that the candidate possess a J.D. and that they be a member of the Florida Bar (or able to secure Florida Bar membership within one year of the beginning of their employment).


While no one person will have all of the qualities enumerated below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:

  • Significant expertise and experience in the area of criminal-justice reform.
  • Five or more years of federal district court or appellate litigation experience.
  • Strong and demonstrated commitment to civil rights and civil liberties consistent with the mission and goals of the ACLU.
  • Broad substantive knowledge of constitutional law.
  • Exceptional oral-advocacy skills.
  • Demonstrated experience working in fast-paced environment with a keen ability to simultaneously work on and manage multiple projects and deadlines and set priorities.
  • Enthusiasm, patience, and cultural competence to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with lawyers, organizers, and other staff members, as well as diverse community organizations and coalitions.
  • Experience working and communicating with marginalized or vulnerable communities.
  • Collaborative spirit and a sense of humor.
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively and professionally with lawyers, paralegals, legal assistants, and clients.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Ability and willingness to travel and work extended hours, including nights and weekends, as needed.
  • Fluency in Spanish or Creole.
  • Unwavering commitment to the mission and goals of the ACLU, including a demonstrated commitment to equity and racial justice.


Compensation will be commensurate with experience, within a starting range of $62,000-$83,000. The ACLU of Florida provides excellent benefits, including health and dental insurance with generous vacation, holiday, and sick leave policies, as well as a Defined Contribution 401K Retirement Plan. Base vacation leave is five weeks per year.


Please send an email to jobs@aclufl.org and attach a cover letter, resume, and two substantial writing samples demonstrating thorough legal analysis. All inquiries should include “Criminal-Justice Staff Attorney position” in the subject line, and all attachments should be in Microsoft Word or PDF format.

Applicants who proceed beyond a first interview will be required to complete a research-and-writing assignment.

Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. Please indicate where you learned of this job posting. No phone calls, please.

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 of Florida reserves the right to change the job description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.

The ACLU of Florida is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Florida encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, or veteran status. We encourage formerly incarcerated individuals to apply. If selected for an interview, please inquire if financial assistance is needed in order to attend.

The ACLU of Florida undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions.

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