The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts (ACLUM) seeks an accomplished and visionary Legal Director, to lead its Legal Department and serve as a member of the organization’s senior management team. The ACLUM Legal Director leads both impact litigation and non-litigation legal strategies to strengthen civil rights and civil liberties; inspires and coaches a high-performing team of legal professionals; and collaborates with both legal and non-legal advocates to achieve ACLUM’s mission of advancing liberty, equality, and justice for all.

Over the last ten years, ACLUM has grown its operating budget, staff, public support, and visibility, which has enabled it to bring together a team of dedicated lawyers and advocates to fight – and win – vital civil rights and civil liberties battles, in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and across the country. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Legal Director is responsible for leading efforts to develop and implement legal strategies that advance law and policy reform across eight strategic pillars of opportunity: Democracy, Racial Justice, Criminal Law Reform, Reproductive Justice, Privacy & Technology rights, Immigrants’ Rights, Gender and LGBTQ+ Equity, Environmental Justice, and Public Health as a Civil Right.

The ACLUM Legal Director is a creative and courageous advocate, with a keen understanding of the jurisprudential, civil rights, and constitutional law trends across the nation. They are able to identify those trends and work with other ACLUM advocates to develop innovative opportunities for impact litigation in Massachusetts’ state and federal courts. While the person in this role often maintains a small litigation case load, their key focus is on coaching the legal staff and cooperating private attorneys in ACLUM litigation and advocacy efforts, aiding in case preparation where necessary. Acting as a coach, mentor, and strategist, the Legal Director actively seeks ways to uplift team members, and create opportunities to fully develop the talents of each member of the legal team, in support of ACLUM’s overall mission.

In addition to maintaining the organization’s active litigation docket in state and federal courts, the Legal Director oversees the work of ACLUM’s Legal Resources Team in providing nonlitigation advocacy, referrals, demand letters, and related support services to clients, other ACLUM advocacy departments, and policy makers. This position also oversees the smooth internal functioning of the Legal department, working with Operations and administrative staff to ensure internal workflows, business processes, and necessary infrastructure are in place to run the department with the highest degree of ethics and integrity.

As a member of the senior management team, the Legal Director is an enterprise leader who is committed to transparent communication, effective coordination, and thoughtful integration between the Legal department, other departments, and program teams within ACLUM, including Legislative, Field, Technology for Liberty, Racial Justice, Communications, and Development.

The ACLUM Legal Director is also a highly visible spokesperson for the organization, speaking regularly to print and broadcast journalists and at public forums; and advocating for civil rights and civil liberties in both the courts of law and the court of public opinion. At times, the Legal Director assists in fundraising efforts by participating in meetings with major donors, speaking at donor forums and events, and otherwise working with Development staff to ensure consistent funding for the organization.

The ideal candidate is a skilled and experienced civil litigator, a strategic thinker, an inspiring leader, and an experienced manager. Strong candidates will have demonstrated the ability to initiate and develop impact litigation as part of a broader advocacy strategy, and to lead teams working collaboratively across sectors on innovative advocacy. Equally important is a clear ambition for advancing the organization, its people, and its mission.


The ACLU of Massachusetts, (ACLUM) was founded in 1920 and was the first affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a nationwide, non-partisan membership organization that works to preserve and expand the freedoms guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. With a staff of 40+ and more than 50,000 members across the state, ACLUM employs multi-issue, integrated, and geographically aligned strategies to defend, promote, and extend civil rights and civil liberties so that all people may live in freedom, with dignity and equal rights, and with the privileges and responsibilities of a democratic community.

Through strategies of litigation, non-litigation advocacy, public education, communications, and grassroots activism, ACLUM works to achieve law and policy reform in the areas of racial justice, juvenile justice, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, criminal law reform, equal opportunity, freedom speech and expression, privacy rights, religious liberty, students’ rights, voting rights, and reproductive justice.


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  • Lead and manage the ACLU of Massachusetts Legal department, and serve as a member of ACLUM’s senior management team.
  • Participate in setting and leading litigation and non-litigation legal advocacy strategies and tactics to advance the organization’s strategic priorities and mission.
  • Collaborate across departments to design and implement integrated advocacy campaigns and high-impact strategies that use legal, communications, public education, legislative, and field organizing simultaneously.
  • Serve as a spokesperson for ACLUM, working closely with colleagues on the communications and policy-focused teams to engage in strategic public forums, advocacy discussions, and media opportunities.
  • Work closely with the fundraising team to engage donors and support efforts to secure funding.
  • Serve as an enterprise leader by participating in organization-wide strategy efforts, and providing regular department and case reports to ACLUM’s staff, management team, and board of directors.


  • Oversee all aspects of ACLUM’s litigation program, including coordinating case selection with the Executive Director; overseeing the investigation and development of cases prior to filing litigation; and building litigation teams with in-house lawyers, cooperating counsel, and other partners.
  • Oversee all aspects of ACLUM’s legal resources program in providing support to internal clients as well as the external public interest and legal services communities.
  • Supervise and inspire a high-performing team of 10+ lawyers, advocates, administrators, legal fellows, and interns.
  • Oversee the hiring, training, coaching, assessment, and professional development of all members of the Legal Department.
  • Broaden and deepen relationships between in-house attorneys, cooperating and pro bono counsel, and other lawyers to elevate the visibility of ACLUM in the legal community; and help build capacity in ACLUM’s legal docket by engaging lawyers in pre-litigation investigations, amicus briefs, active litigation, and other ACLUM activities.
  • Oversee organizational matters for the Legal department, including but not limited to developing and managing the departmental budget, providing regular reports on department activities, developing staff workplans, ensuring adherence with file retention policies, managing intake and correspondence, and coordinating and supporting other activities as needed.
  • Foster an organizational culture that actively supports and uplifts the work of staff; encourages professional development; emphasizes a commitment to upholding the highest ethical ideals of the legal profession; values diversity, employs inclusive practices, and fosters a sense of belonging; and models ACLUM’s values of integrity, accountability, equity, courage and humility.


While no one person will embody all the qualities enumerated below, the successful candidate will bring many of the following qualifications and attributes:

  • J.D. from an accredited law school, with a license to practice law in Massachusetts or the ability to waive into the Massachusetts state bar exam within six months.
  • 10+ years of legal experience with increasing responsibilities, including substantial state and federal constitutional law and civil litigation experience, and an understanding of current state of civil rights and civil liberties precedents and principles. Experience in the criminal legal system and/ or with law reform is helpful.
  • 10+ years of senior trial and appellate litigation experience at the state and federal levels, including class actions; demonstrated experience in constitutional or public interest law and impact litigation preferred.
  • Experience designing and executing complex, sequenced civil litigation with the ability to manage multi-year or multi-jurisdictional projects.
  • Experience developing litigation or non-litigation legal strategies where the objective is to uplift community members, pressure decision-makers, or effect other political outcomes.
  • Experience developing non-litigation strategies to promote legal objectives, including work in coalition with allied organizations and partners.
  • A skilled narrator with excellent oral communication, media, presentation, and analytical skills. Demonstrated ability to write clearly and persuasively; communicate effectively with clients, cooperating and opposing counsel, staff, volunteers, and the public; and translate complex civil liberties issues for ease of understanding by the public and media.
  • 5+ years of management experience, including supervision and development of attorneys, legal administrative staff, cooperating attorneys, fellows, and volunteers.
  • A collaborative and inclusive management style that leverages the strengths and cultivates the talents of others; and demonstrated experience mentoring and coaching staff in a manner that builds organizational capability and capacity.
  • Experience and training that reflects an understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB) principles; and a proven commitment to employing and advancing DEIB practices in a professional setting.
  • Patience, emotional intelligence, and cultural competency, with the ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for people representing a wide range of races, ethnicities, language proficiencies, gender identities, ages, physical abilities, experiential backgrounds, and work styles.
  • Passion for and personal commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of a broad range of civil liberties issues and their implications.
  • Unquestionable personal and professional integrity, and an unflinching commitment to operational excellence, participatory and data-driven decision making, and high ethical standards of practice.
  • Excellent organizational, time management and problem-solving skills.
  • Exposure to and comfort with data management systems, case management systems (e.g., ALIS), and Microsoft Office applications such as Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and SharePoint, a plus.
  • Flexibility to accommodate work outside of regular business hours when warranted (i.e., early mornings, evenings and weekends).


This is a full-time position based in Boston, MA and requires periodic in-state and out-of-state travel. The position is eligible for a hybrid work schedule, being in-person an average of three days per week, with the ability to be in the office on any given day as needed and assigned. ACLUM has a COVID-19 vaccine mandate, and candidates receiving a job offer will be required to show proof of being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to commencing employment. Exemptions to this requirement will be considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with applicable law. Applicants should be aware that fully remote work will not be deemed a reasonable accommodation.

Salary commensurate with experience. Estimated minimum annual salary of $180,000. Benefits include 401(k) plan, medical and dental insurance, and paid vacation and holidays.

  • Annual vacation allowance based on length of service, starting at 20 days per year
  • 13 federal and state holidays per year
  • 20 days of sick time per year
  • 24 hours of small necessities leave
  • Family Medical Leave, Bereavement Leave, and Sabbatical
  • Healthcare benefit plan options include 100% covered preventive care and FSA
  • 401K retirement plan with employer contribution
  • Short-term and long-term disability insurance
  • Transit pass program allowing pre-tax payroll contributions


Pearl Street Collective, the search firm with purpose, has been exclusively retained for this engagement. Co-Founders and Managing Partners Adele Mezher and Maeve Clifford are leading the search. To express interest in this role, please submit your application materials via email to aclum-ld@pearlstreetcollective.com. These materials should include (1) your resume, (2) a one- to two-page letter of interest that expresses a clear, strong and proven commitment to civil liberties and public interest work, and (3) a legal writing sample to which you are the sole contributor, up to ten pages in length and ideally an opinion editorial or similar piece.

ACLUM is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages women, people of color, persons with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ community, and formerly incarcerated people to apply. In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, upon request, reasonable accommodations may be made to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions of our positions. If you are a qualified individual living with a disability and need assistance expressing interest online, please email hello@pearlstreetcollective.com. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information about how to request an accommodation for the interview process.


Pearl Street Collective, the search firm with purpose, is a national, women-owned executive search firm that believes when you connect people with their purpose, organizations will always thrive. As partners and allies, we are intent on leading each search process with the values of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. We have been named one of the Top Search Firms for Women of Color for two consecutive years. Follow Pearl Street.