For nearly 100 years, the ACLU and its affiliates in all 50 states, including Illinois, have been at the forefront of every major civil rights and civil liberties fight in our country’s history. With a staff of 45 and over 60,000 members, the ACLU of Illinois is one of the largest state affiliates. Whether fighting mass incarceration and racism in the criminal and juvenile legal systems, promoting full equality for LGBTQ people, challenging dangerous immigration detention conditions, battling racially biased and abusive policing, advancing gender justice, or advocating for children in the foster system and people with disabilities, we take up the toughest civil liberties issues to defend people from government abuse and overreach. We are a passionate and highly motivated group of lawyers, public policy experts, lobbyists, fundraisers, engagement and communication professionals, and administrative staff.
LEGAL PROGRAM DESCRIPTION
The Legal Department of the ACLU of Illinois works closely with colleagues across the organization to advance civil rights and civil liberties through strategic litigation, advocacy, and public education. The Women’s and Reproductive Rights Project (WRRP) is one of five projects in the Legal Department and is focused on fighting the stigma that attaches to reproductive health care, expanding access to such care, and advancing gender equality. WRRP’s work recognizes that those facing barriers to reproductive health care and gender justice are often disproportionately impacted when they are young, people of color, poor, or experience marginalization along another aspect of their identity. WRRP staff work in collaboration with other ACLU of Illinois colleagues, local and national organizations, the ACLU’s national office, and the ACLU’s nationwide network of state affiliates.
This is a one-year, full-time, legal fellow position focused on:
(1) Expanding access to reproductive health care and advancing gender equity in Illinois, including by:
- Conducting factual and legal research and writing on issues relating to access to reproductive health care and gender justice;
- Investigating, developing, and litigating WRRP cases, including by drafting legal documents, reviewing and analyzing information obtained through public records requests and discovery, and interviewing witnesses and potential clients;
- Executing non-litigation advocacy strategies on a broad range of women’s and reproductive rights issues;
- Representing the ACLU of IL in coalition and community meetings relating to reproductive health care and gender justice; and
- Working closely with communications staff and policy advocates in support of WRRP integrated advocacy, which unites legal advocacy, public communications, and policy advocacy for maximum impact.
(2) Running the Judicial Bypass Coordination Project (JBCP), which includes:
- Coordinating statewide pro bono legal assistance for minors seeking judicial waiver of parental notification;
- Promoting effective procedures for judicial waiver proceedings with courts across Illinois;
- Managing a telephone hotline for people in need of information or assistance regarding Illinois’ Parental Notice of Abortion Act;
- Recruiting, training, and supervising volunteers and administrative staff assigned to the JBCP;
- Providing technical assistance to abortion providers on compliance with the parental notice law;
- Conducting outreach and training to educate youth-serving professionals about the parental notice law;
- Preparing reports about the JBCP’s work; and
- Engaging in integrated advocacy for proposed legislation and campaigns concerning judicial bypass, with responsibilities potentially including public speaking, media interviews, outreach, “know your rights” presentations, and writing op-eds, newsletter articles, and reports.
(3) Supporting other areas of the ACLU of IL’s litigation and non-litigation advocacy to advance civil rights and civil liberties, including by:
- Developing and executing trial and appellate litigation on civil rights and civil liberties issues outside of the WRRP; and
- Helping to manage the legal internship program and supervising interns.
- 0 to 4 years of legal experience. Candidates with more experience will also be considered.
- Self-motivated with the ability to take initiative, manage a variety of tasks, and see projects through to completion.
- Demonstrated ability to conduct complex legal analysis and factual investigation.
- Strong interest and skill in legal research and writing.
- Demonstrated ability to write and speak clearly and persuasively in legal and non-legal settings, and with a wide range of individuals and organizations.
- Highly organized, detail-oriented, and capable of prioritizing and managing numerous tasks in a timely and effective manner.
- An ability to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles.
- J.D. degree required at time of hire; preference given to applicants admitted to practice in Illinois or who have taken the Illinois bar exam no later than fall 2020.
- Ability to begin position as soon as possible, and before January 2021 highly preferred.
SALARY AND BENEFITS
The salary will be between $50,000 to $61,000 and in accordance with the ACLU of Illinois salary scale. Excellent benefits include four weeks paid vacation; 100% employer-paid medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff and eligible dependents; a 403(b) retirement benefits plan with employer match; life insurance; and long-term disability insurance.
Applicants should send a resume, letter of interest, list of references, law school transcript, and legal writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org and use the subject line: WRRP Legal Fellow. In the letter of interest, please address your interest in working with the ACLU of IL and WRRP and experiences and qualifications for the position. Please provide a legal writing sample that has not been edited by others, such as a legal memorandum or your draft of a section of a legal brief.
No calls please. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
The ACLU of Illinois is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and encourage 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, criminal record, or veteran status.