ACLU-FL Deputy Legal Director (2021) opening announcement

Monday, July 26, 2021 10:21 PM | Etta Akoni (Administrator)






Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. 

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Florida seeks a Deputy Legal Director. The Deputy Legal Director works closely with other members of the legal team and other members of the senior staff to achieve the organization’s goal of protecting the liberties that define our democracy. This position is located in the organization’s Miami office but includes some travel.

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 over 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, LGBTQ+ 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.     

The Deputy Legal Director is a staff position within the Affiliate’s Legal Department. The position reports to the Legal Director. The position is focused on (1) assisting the Legal Director in the administration and management of the statewide legal program; and (2) assisting with litigation and other legal advocacy. The position is part of the senior staff.


Management and Administration
With an eye on diversity, equity, and inclusion, the Deputy Legal Director will:

  • Oversee the process for recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and managing new legal staff, fellows, and interns.
  • Oversee sustained efforts to create and nurture pools of diverse candidates from which to recruit.


  • Supervise multiple legal staff members.
  • Supervise all fellows, interns, and volunteers.
  • Manage development and mentoring of staff, including identifying, supporting, and developing staff strengths, as well as—for attorneys—ensuring opportunities for writing, discovery, witness examinations, arguments, and other professional growth points.
  • Collaborate with the Legal Director and senior staff in creating an organizational culture of belonging.
  • Collaborate with the Legal Director and senior staff in creating an organizational culture of planning and accountability.

Strategy, Cross-Departmental Collaboration, and Integrated Advocacy

  • Ensure alignment across departments with our campaign plans.
  • Ensure and facilitate sufficient communication across departments concerning ongoing fulfillment of commitments made in the campaign-plan documents.
  • Ensure Department staff maintain and foster relationships with other departments and with media, coalition partners, and other targets and allies.
  • Work with the leadership team to pursue and implement organizational goals.
  • Actively collaborate with the Legal Director and senior staff in strategic decisions, and share ownership of the resulting decisions.


  • Supervise the Legal Program Manager and Paralegal’s management of the organization and maintenance of legal files, including but not limited to the docket, retainer agreements and co-counseling agreements, discovery (including transcripts and document production), settlement agreements, and timesheets and fee awards.
  • Supervise the Legal Program Manager and Paralegal’s development and maintenance of our document-management system (which includes ensuring that the matter data is accurately entered into the system and any appropriate documents are uploaded and appropriately organized and categorized in the system; supporting attorneys in using and maintaining the system; and recruiting, training, and supervising any volunteers in support of this effort).
  • Supervise the Legal Program Manager and Paralegal’s maintenance of the matter list, including coordinating regular updates to the case statuses and summaries.
  • In collaboration with the Legal Program Manager and Paralegal, oversee and continually assess utilization of all technology resources, including PACER and PacerPro; case, document, knowledge, and task management (e.g., Asana; Clio; the matter list; the Z drive; Sharepoint); time-keeping; and third-party vendor management.
  • Implement and monitor implementation of Department policies, procedures, and protocols, including identifying opportunities to reduce or eliminate overlap and duplication of effort throughout the Department to promote effectiveness, efficiency, and use of best practices, creating centralized resources that are well maintained and accurate.
  • Assist the Legal Director in the implementation, maintenance, and ongoing review of the Legal Department manual.
  • Draft quarterly legal reports for the state board concerning Department activity.
  • Support the Legal Director in work concerning the state board’s legal panel, chapter legal panels, and any other relevant legal committees.
  • Ongoingly lead efforts to recruit pro bono firms.
  • Assist with fundraising and donor cultivation as requested by the Development Department.
  • Serve as a thought partner with the Legal Director in developing the Department’s annual budget, assisting the Legal Director in managing monthly spending against budget and in reviewing the Department’s financial reports provided by the Finance Department.
  • Support and coordinate the Department’s work with other departments.
  • Ensure the Legal Director, Executive Director, and other members of the leadership team are adequately informed of work and consulted appropriately.
  • Assist with all other legal program activities as needed and as assigned.


  • Investigate, develop, and litigate high-impact civil-rights and civil-liberties cases at all stages in state and federal trial and appellate courts, includes conducting factual and legal research, preparing memoranda, drafting pleadings and briefs, conducting discovery, arguing motions, trying cases, drafting appellate briefs, presenting oral argument on appeal, and drafting amicus briefs.
  • Engage in any other pre-litigation, post-litigation, and non-litigation advocacy, including preparing demand letters, conducting settlement negotiations, monitoring enforcement, developing advocacy materials and public-education resources, and delivering public testimony.
  • Coordinate the affiliate’s amicus-brief efforts, including collaborating with partners, drafting or supervising the drafting of briefing, and coordinating with National and with our communications department.
  • Supervise, lead, or participate in teams of associated attorneys, and co-counsel cases with other public interest groups and with National.
  • Work closely with, and provide policy analysis and legal expertise to, non-legal program staff at the ACLU of Florida and at National.
  • Engage regularly with the media.

In addition to the primary responsibilities above, the Deputy Legal Director 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.

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 that they be 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 multiple areas of civil-rights and civil-liberties law.
  • Eight 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 a 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.
  • Two or more years of experience related to administering a legal program or managing legal staff.
  • 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 $75,000-$100,000. 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 and attach a cover letter, resume, and two substantial writing samples demonstrating thorough legal analysis. All inquiries should include “Deputy Legal Director 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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