Policy Counsel

28 Aug, 2022


Policy Counsel

American Civil Liberties Union
Washington, D.C./New York, NY

The ACLU seeks applicants for the full-time position of Policy Counsel in the National Political Advocacy Department of the ACLU’s National office in New York, NY or Washington, DC.

The National Political Advocacy Department (NPAD) spearheads the ACLU’s legislative and administrative advocacy work, as well as its increasingly prominent electoral work, 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 organizing and mobilization, direct lobbying and policy development, and various other elements of high-octane issue campaigns, NPAD protects and advances civil liberties and civil rights in the legislative, administrative and electoral arenas. The Equality Division of NPAD is focused on the ACLU’s work on issues including immigrants’ rights, racial justice, and work related to AMEMSA communities and indigenous people.

Reporting to the Deputy Director of Equality Division, Policy, the Policy Counsel will develop and advocate for policies that address systemic inequality, with an immediate focus on discrimination issues in technology, housing, and consumer lending at the federal and state level.  Issue areas include mortgage market discrimination, payday lending, consumer lending, and other related issues. The Policy Counsel will craft state policy approaches that advance the ACLU’s work to combat systemic discrimination to ensure equal access and opportunity for all.


  • Work with ACLU national and affiliate staff across the organization on racial justice issues with a particular focus on addressing technology’s role in discrimination in the domains of hiring, housing, and financial services
  • Support and carry out, as appropriate, lobbying efforts at the state, local, or federal level 
  • Research and draft model policy and/or legal memoranda on proposed legislation and administrative rules and regulations affecting civil liberties, as well as substantive letters, testimony, or other written materials, as relevant 
  • Track and summarize local, state and federal legislation and/or policy developments that affect civil liberties in technology, and recommend legislative and/or regulatory approaches to improve outcomes for people of color and low-income families
  • Help coordinate strategy designed to reach campaign goals or other policy/political outcomes across ACLU departments, ACLU affiliates, and coalition partners 
  • Work with campaign strategists and organizers in NPAD to advance campaign goals or other policy and political outcomes 
  • Work with ACLU affiliates, as relevant, in advocacy efforts in furtherance of policy outcomes 
  • Participate as the ACLU representative in meetings of ad hoc lobbying and policy and/or political coalitions 
  • In collaboration with ACLU communications staff, provide expert commentary to media, participate in media briefings, and contribute to op-eds and other publications, as relevant  
  • Collaborate with other ACLU national and affiliate staff and representatives of coalition allies  
  • Organize and work with outside groups to bolster support for ACLU policy goals or to minimize opposition to those goals 
  • Coordinate efforts across the organization including legal staff, communications staff, strategists, and affiliates around the country to keep them abreast of and enlist their support for relevant portfolio of priority issues  
  • Develop and maintain relationships with stakeholders to build coalitions and to ensure that the ACLU remains on the cutting-edge in developing policy solutions 
  • 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
  • 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 socio-economic circumstance
  • Commitment to work collaboratively and respectfully toward resolving obstacles and/or conflicts


  • Advanced degree (J.D., M.P.P.) or equivalent training in policy analysis, advocacy, or campaigns preferred
  • Significant experience working in political, policy, legal, or government settings; high familiarity with public policy and legislative, administrative and/or electoral processes 
  • High level and creative policy development skills 
  • Demonstrated ability to work with organizations representing communities of color including Black, Latinx, AMEMSA, AAPI, and Indigenous communities and/or Tribes 
  • Demonstrated expertise in racial justice issues (could include expertise in algorithmic bias, economic justice, housing discrimination or education discrimination)
  • Ability to work independently as well as within a team
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship building and communication skills
  • 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


The annual salary for this position is $122,576 (Level F). This salary is reflective of a position based in Washington DC. This salary will be subject to a locality adjustment (according to a specific city and state), if an authorization is granted to work outside of the location listed in this posting. Note that most of the salaries listed on our job postings reflect New York, NY salaries, where our National offices are headquartered.


The ACLU dares to create a more perfect union – beyond one person, party, or side. Our mission is to realize this promise of the United States Constitution for all and expand the reach of its guarantees.

For over 100 years, the ACLU has worked to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Whether it’s ending mass incarceration, achieving full equality for the LGBTQ+ community, establishing new privacy protections for our digital age, or preserving the right to vote or the right to have an abortion, the ACLU takes up the toughest civil liberties cases and issues to defend all people from government abuse and overreach.

Equity, diversity, and inclusion are core values of the ACLU and central to our work to advance liberty, equality, and justice for all. We are a community committed to learning and growth, humility and grace, transparency and accountability. We believe in a collective responsibility to create a culture of belonging for all people within our organization – one that respects and embraces difference; treats everyone equitably; and empowers our colleagues to do the best work possible. We are as committed to anti-oppression and anti-racism internally as we are externally. Because whether we’re in the courts or in the office, we believe ‘We the People’ means all of us.

The ACLU is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU encourages 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, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; people with disabilities, protected veterans, and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions.

The ACLU 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 email benefits.hrdept@aclu.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The Department of Education has determined that employment in this position at the ACLU does not qualify for the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2022-08-28