About The Job
The ACLU seeks applicants for a full-time position of Senior Federal Policy Counsel in the National Political Advocacy Department?of the ACLU’s National office in Washington, DC.

The National Political Advocacy Department (NPAD) works to strengthen the efforts of the ACLU at the federal, state, and local levels of government. The department harnesses the political power that comes from having more than eleven million members and supporters, as well as affiliates in every state. Through grassroots organizing, lobbying and policy work, and issue campaigns, the ACLU seeks to achieve profound change in the legislative, administrative and electoral arenas.

The position reports to the Federal Policy Director and Deputy Federal Policy Director, and will be a core member of a federal policy team that works to protect and advance civil liberties and civil rights at the federal policy level through policy development, direct advocacy with Congress and the Executive Branch, and collaboration with campaign-oriented issue divisions of NPAD. The Senior Federal Policy Counsel has significant federal policy experience and a strong record of success in effecting federal policy change, with deep knowledge of political, legislative, and regulatory systems, able to provide strategic counsel and advocacy on federal policy issues that stretch across the civil liberties and civil rights space, and with the ability and experience to build and maintain relationships across both NPAD and ACLU departments and state affiliates. A core strength is the ability and commitment to engage in a collegial and effective approach to federal advocacy.

  • Protect and advance civil liberties and civil rights through federal policy development (identifying policy challenges and opportunities, devising a response that addresses the problem through research, analysis, and writing) and direct advocacy focused on Congress and the Executive Branch
  • Although the position may cover the full breadth of ACLU issues, take specific day-to-day responsibility for developing and carrying out strategic federal policy advocacy on national security policies and programs that target or disproportionately impact communities of color, immigrants, and those who dissent against the government
  • Coordinate and convene policy and campaign staff across NPAD divisions on cross-divisional federal policy work, as well as in support of federal policy campaigns of an NPAD division
  • Work collaboratively with Legal Department staff on policy advocacy directed towards Congress or the Executive Branch to align their efforts with federal policy counsel in the Department’s divisions
  • Independently develop novel ideas and approaches to solving problems, in addition to sourcing existing policy ideas and approaches to civil liberties challenges
  • Independently draft bills, administrative rules/regulations, and Executive Orders at the federal level, providing content expertise as well as legislative and regulatory drafting knowledge
  • Prepare, provide guidance on, and/or deliver testimony on pending legislation before Congressional committees or federal regulatory agencies
  • Lobby elected federal officials, their staff, and Executive Branch officials to support of ACLU positions on pending legislation and policy initiatives as appropriate
  • Help support effective relationship management and coordination with key members of Congress and the White House
  • Coordinate and conduct in-depth civil liberties briefings for government officials as pertinent to advancing priority ACLU positions
  • Oversee management of a resource library for use by national and affiliate staff on key federal policy issues
  • Oversee coordination and briefings for national and affiliate staff on key federal policy issues
  • Help leverage relationships held by ACLU affiliates with members of Congress, as relevant, in advocacy efforts in furtherance of policy outcomes
  • Represent the ACLU in coalition meetings focused on federal policy issues with respect the core issues outlined above or on an as needed basis
  • In collaboration with ACLU Communications staff, provide expert commentary to media, participate in media briefings, and write or contribute to op-eds and other publications, as relevant
  • Organize, lead, and work with outside groups to bolster support for ACLU policy goals or to minimize opposition to those goals
  • Provide senior-level guidance to other policy staff, particularly policy staff in NPAD divisions, and interns
  • Engage in special projects and other duties as assigned
  • Center principles of equity, inclusion, and belonging in all work, embedding the values in program development, policy application, and organizational practices and processes
  • Demonstrate a commitment to the mission of the ACLU
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity within the office using a personal approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability and socioeconomic circumstance
  • Demonstrate a commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts

Experience & Qualifications
  • Law degree is strongly preferred
  • Fluency, or the demonstrated capacity to attain fluency, in most or all of the broad substantive areas most directly impacting civil liberties and civil rights, which are also areas in which ACLU expertise is often most influential with Congress or the Executive Branch: constitutional law (in particular, First Amendment, due process, equal protection, privacy, separation of powers/congressional authority), civil rights law and the overall architecture of civil rights protections, criminal law, and technology/science and the law
  • Background in policy development or advocacy related to opposing or dismantling national security policies and programs that target or disproportionately impact communities of color, immigrants, and those who dissent against the government strongly preferred
  • Prior federal lobbying experience, or work as policy staff in a congressional or Executive Branch office strongly preferred
  • Significant experience working in political, policy, legal, or government settings; high degree of familiarity with public policy and legislative, administrative, and electoral processes
  • Sophisticated judgment; experience giving advice and counsel to a principal
  • High level, substantive, and extensive experience in federal policy development
  • Demonstrated expertise in one or more areas or fields of specialty covered by the ACLU
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Experience with media, preferably having served as a spokesperson
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship building and communication skills, including at the highest levels of government and politics
  • Excellent research, writing, analytical, and communication skills
  • Ability to communicate complex legal and policy issues to government decision makers, and the general public; expertise in field of policy
  • Ability to work and communicate quickly and accurately, handling multiple projects and deliverables under pressure