Staff Attorney- Police Practices

Los Angeles | Advocacy | Full-time | Partially remote


Staff Attorney

Police Practices Project

ACLU of Southern California



Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, or Bakersfield 




Open until filled. 

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (“ACLU SoCal”) seeks a Staff Attorney for the Police Practices project. The Staff Attorney will develop and litigate state and federal cases and engage in legislative and policy advocacy on issues relating to police practices and criminal legal reform, with an emphasis on Orange County-based advocacy. This includes representing ACLU SoCal in statewide and local advocacy on policing issues such as agency transparency, officer accountability, supporting the development of alternatives to policing, reduction of police budgets, addressing bias in policing and reducing or eliminating unnecessary police contacts.  

Founded in 1923, ACLU SoCal has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Orange), the Inland Empire (San Bernardino), and Kern County (Bakersfield). ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including police practices, criminal justice, First Amendment rights, voting rights, gender equity, reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, education equity, and economic justice.


The Staff Attorney will help develop and litigate state and federal cases; help create, implement, and participate in campaigns that seek approaches to community safety that are community-based, holistic, and transformative; engage in public education; and provide technical assistance on policing issues to coalitions, community partners, government officials, and government bodies.

The Staff Attorney will work closely with intersectional issue-based coalitions throughout the state and Southern California region, with an emphasis on Orange County based coalitions. The Staff Attorney will also plan and execute policy advocacy campaigns to effect changes at the local and state levels, including analyzing and responding to state and local legislation, providing “know your rights trainings” and other public education via webinars or other methods, submitting policy letters to government entities, and representing ACLU SoCal in public hearings to provide comment or testimony.

The Staff Attorney will report to the Director of Police Practices and work within the ACLU SoCal Police Practices and statewide Policing Team. The Staff Attorney will also work with other attorneys, policy advocates and organizers from other ACLU SoCal Projects as needed. When intersectional issues arise, the Staff Attorney will work collaboratively with the Activist Engagement and Development team and Communications team on campaigns.

Travel throughout the Southern California region and occasional trips to Sacramento may be required.

We recognize that ACLU SoCal’s integrated advocacy approach in which advocacy staff utilize diverse tactics to advance our goals, including litigating, drafting legislation, and lobbying elected officials, working in coalition with grassroots organizations, and engaging in public education campaigns including report writing and issue-based trainings, is not typical. While candidates must meet the minimum qualifications, we do not expect candidates to have experience performing the entire range of tasks that would comprise the job responsibilities for this position.  We encourage interested candidates to consider the transferrable skills that they have developed, particularly those related to written and oral communication, collective action, and advocacy on behalf of others—and assess whether they are willing to gain experience with new job functions—when applying to this position.


Full-Time, Exempt

This is a bargaining unit position in the National Organization of Legal Services Workers union.


 ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Staff Attorney will work on cases, advocacy projects, public education, and campaigns. The Staff Attorney’s responsibilities will be the following:

·         Conduct legal advocacy and investigate, develop and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.

·         Be part of litigation teams, serve as co-counsel, and work in conjunction with other legal, policy, and organizing staff within the ACLU SoCal, the other two California ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations.

·         Supervise the work of interns and support intern hiring. 

·         Serve as a policy expert and advocate on state and local criminal justice and policing issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, and outreach.

·         Develop advocacy sign-on letters and public comment letters, fact sheets, advocacy materials, toolkits, action alerts, op-eds, blog posts, reports, and social media content.

·         Devise and present engaging presentations, trainings, and engage in public speaking.

·         Build, facilitate, and participate in coalitions and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions.

·         Provide logistical support for meetings, both in and out of the office, and policy advocacy efforts, including helping to organize the ACLU’s involvement in coalitions and coordinated policy advocacy efforts.

·         Establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and ACLU members.

·         Provide technical support to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region.

·         Organize, lead, and participate in community education events and meetings, including conducting trainings for activists and organizers.

·         Forge and maintain relationships with people impacted by the systems we are working to change, community partners, decision-makers, government officials, allied organizations and academics to implement collaborative projects and foster positive, effective working relationships while focusing on a people power-based theory of change.

·         Meaningfully incorporate people who have been impacted by the legal system we are working to change, helping to elevate and center their expertise and leadership whenever possible.

·         Conduct outreach, advocacy, and provide technical assistance to public officials and government bodies.

·         Organize and attend lobbying visits with state and local officials, provide testimony to administrative agencies and governing bodies, and develop and cultivate relationships with lawmakers and decisionmakers to advance organizing and policy advocacy objectives.

·         Collaborate with and provide support to people in other ACLU affiliates in California and the Sacramento legislative office, as well as colleagues at the national ACLU.

·         Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work as needed.

·         Other duties, as needed and assigned.

·         Occasional work evenings and weekends. 

·         Occasional travel throughout the region and other parts of the state.



Understanding and Applying Racial Equity

·         Demonstrate commitment to building or deepening understanding of racial equity:

o   Core terms and concepts such as structural racism, white privilege, and anti-Blackness.

o   The role that racial inequity has played and continues to play in our society.

o   How race impacts supervisory relationships, team dynamics, and organizational culture.

o   Personal/implicit/unconscious bias.


Working for Racial Equity

·         Consistently assess structural implications and racially disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions within the context of their job responsibilities; race/ethnicity, intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, identity, and/or sexual orientation.

·         Consistently adhere to organization’s racial equity policies and procedures, including those that relate to hiring, retention, and promotion.

·         Consistently identify and disrupt ways in which bias plays out in work and/or team.



The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring an attorney with approximately 2-9 years of experience for this position and will consider all applicants with approximately that level of experience with a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, racial justice, and strong advocacy and litigation skills. The ideal candidate will be a hard-working leader with a proven record of accomplishments working with, advocating with, and/or organizing with legal-system-involved and legal-system-impacted individual, other marginalized populations, and community-based organizations.


·         Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.

·         Ability to develop and litigate impact cases.

·         Ability to work in diverse coalitions and develop and implement advocacy campaigns.

·         Demonstrated ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for all.

·         Demonstrated ability to lead projects, build strong relationships and work well in collaboration with others.

·         A deep commitment to the cause of civil liberties and civil rights, including policing issues.

·         Travel within Southern California, as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.

·         Extremely strong project and time management skills, including a high level of organization, attention to detail and follow-through, while balancing and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities.

·         Willingness to work occasional weekend and evening hours, as needed.

·         Ability to supervise interns. 

·         Admitted to practice law in the state of California or willingness to promptly take the California bar exam. 


·         Familiarity working in the area of policing, civil rights, and/or social justice issues in Southern California. People with personal experience with the criminal legal system, including people who are formerly incarcerated or have a close family experience with incarceration, are encouraged to apply for this position.  

·         A demonstrated commitment and track record of doing intersectional advocacy.

·         Experience working effectively with coalitions and building coalitions.

·         Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events.

·         Spanish language fluency. 



The salary range for this position is $82,400.00 – $101,341.61 based on year of law school graduation. Attorneys with more than 10 years of experience, with at least 10 years of experience supervising staff attorneys and managing litigation teams, may be eligible for higher compensation based on year of law school graduation and up to $150,280.48.

Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long-term, short-term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and twenty-two paid holidays.


Please upload your resume, cover letter, and writing sample to our Application Portal:

The ACLU of Southern California is committed to developing a culture of diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion and to strive to maintain a workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer that does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply and value people of all races, genders (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientations, disabilities, citizenships, ages, religions, and national origins and who have different marital statuses, family caregiving responsibilities, lived experiences with the criminal justice systems, and genetic information. The ACLU SoCal does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics.

The ACLU SoCal is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.