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Dunn Legal Fellow


The Legal Fellow will participate in developing and executing litigation and other legal advocacy strategies to achieve the ACLU-VA’s strategic priorities to advance civil liberties and civil rights in Virginia. The Legal Fellow will also participate in non-litigation advocacy, including supporting legislative work, participating in public speaking engagements, and drafting press or public education materials.


RESPONSIBILITIES Litigation and Legal Advocacy

  • Participate in case selection and development, including conducting factual and legal research, evaluating legal theory and strategy, identifying and analyzing potential claims, determining possible plaintiffs and defendants, interviewing clients and potential witnesses, preparing internal memoranda, drafting demand letters, and assisting with researching and drafting potential pleadings and briefs.
  • Participate in selected litigation before state or federal court or administrative agencies, including assistance in drafting pleadings, motions, briefs, and correspondence; assistance with conducting discovery; assistance with trying cases; and assistance with preparing materials for appeals.
  • Implement non-litigation legal strategies as appropriate, including preparing advocacy letters, know-your-rights guides, or other legal advocacy materials.
  • In collaboration with the legal team, provide input on priorities and potential legal advocacy strategies.
  • Assist in the implementation of legal program policies, procedures, and systems – such as the intake and case selection process; case management process; paper and electronic filing systems; and legal docket.
  • Participate in the review and consideration of intakes and other requests for assistance received by the ACLU of Virginia; conduct research or factual follow-up as necessary, and propose and/or consider recommendations for additional action.
  • Assist in the development, as appropriate, of staff training sessions, workshops, continuing legal education events, and other events on specific issues.
  • Speak at public forums, meetings, and events on specific civil liberties and civil rights topics, as requested or as necessary.
  • Write articles for the ACLU of Virginia website and other media regarding legal issues and cases, as requested or as necessary.
  • Act as a resource for communications and advocacy staff, and draft memoranda, reports, public education materials, and legislative advocacy materials, as requested or as necessary.
  • Identify and research issues related to legislation, local ordinances, and agency rules and regulations; working in collaboration with the policy team, draft memoranda or advocacy letters as necessary.
  • J.D. from an accredited law school.
  • Membership in good standing with the Virginia State Bar obtained within a reasonable time.
  • Commitment to the mission and values of the ACLU of Virginia, particularly including racial justice and civil rights issues and an understanding that these issues are central to overall protection of civil liberties.
  • Willingness and availability to work beyond the normal work day, on weekends, and/or more than 40 hours a week as necessary.
  • Willingness and ability to travel throughout Virginia, and occasionally to other states for conferences and training.
  • A commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion, to refrain from unlawful discrimination and to comply fully with all applicable laws; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity and national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance, and ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.
  • Familiarity with office technology and information systems, including databases, case management software, digital legal research sources, online communications, and word processing.
  • Strong self-motivation and capacity to handle numerous deadlines and work in a fast-paced, stressful environment.
  • Excellent writing, research, analytical, and verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to work competently and effectively under pressure.
  • Ability to think critically and creatively and solve complex problems.
  • Ability to work independently and to take initiative.
  • Ability to work effectively and professionally with clients, other counsel, community members, volunteers, and staff, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards and the values of the ACLU of Virginia.
  • Ability to speak and/or write in Spanish, Korean, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Arabic or other language spoken by a language minority in Virginia.
  • Substantive knowledge and understanding of constitutional law, civil rights and civil liberties issues, and criminal justice reform matters.
  • Prior litigation or clerking experience.
  • Experience working in an integrated advocacy model where legal, legislative, education and policy tactics are used collaboratively and cohesively to achieve results.

DISCLAIMER: Nothing in this job description restricts the Executive Director's right to assign other duties or responsibilities to this job at any time.


The ACLU of Virginia is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Virginia encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status and commits to comply with all applicable equal opportunity and nondiscrimination laws and to refrain from unlawful discrimination.

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