American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi (“ACLU of MS”)
~ Job Announcement ~
American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi seeks a self-motivated team member with community and civic engagement advocacy experience to fill the position of Litigation Specialist in support of our Legal Department.
The ACLU of MS is a not-for-profit, nonpartisan organization that works to promote and defend civil liberties and civil rights of Mississippians through legal, legislative and public education approaches including individual rights and freedoms, free speech, criminal justice, racial justice, privacy, religious liberty, reproductive rights, LGBT rights, and more. The ACLU of MS was founded in 1969 and is an affiliate of the national ACLU, the leading defender of civil liberties guaranteed by our nation's Bill of Rights. For more information, please visit www.aclu-ms.org.
Position Overview and Functions:
The Litigation Specialist position at the ACLU of MS combines the roles of an investigator and legal assistant and is designed to support the rigorous fact-finding requirements of our litigation program and the administrative needs of our Legal Department. The position is designed to augment and enrich the ACLU of MS’s work to discover, develop, analyze, and assess the type of stories, information, and quantitative data that is required to prove civil rights and constitutional violations. Approximately 10-15 hours per week of this full-time staff position will be allocated to support the administrative needs of the Legal Department.
The Litigation Specialist reports directly to the Legal Director and ultimately to the Executive Director. The Litigation Specialist will use quantitative research methods, record request and analysis skills, and personal interviews with Mississippi residents to tell the stories of constitutional and civil rights wrongs and their impact on the lives of all people living in the state. Applicable skills may be drawn from a broad range of education or experience, including but not limited to investigative journalism, social science research, or criminal law. The goals of the position include:
(1) independently draft investigation plans that target constitutional or civil rights violations in Mississippi;
(2) independently execute a wide range of quantitative research, records request, in-depth personal interviews, and drafting accurate affidavits and declarations;
(3) exercise a keen understanding of underlying legal issues such that investigation priorities and problem-solving strategies target relevant legal issues;
(4) identify and locate persons to interview, draft declarations and affidavits, and to use all opportunities to foster community engagement when appropriate; and
(5) manage legal intake and the administrative needs of the legal department.
The Legal Department’s small staff works in a highly collaborative and fast-paced environment; there will be time pressure and deadlines.
Investigation Responsibilities include:
(1) Identify data and information that courts find important in establishing quantitative and qualitative data that courts found most important, obtain data after independently researching a range of sources, and demonstrate aptitude in executing useable and accurate qualitative and quantitative analyses using Excel and other software.
(2) Draft investigation plans – identifying specific types of people, records, locations, and data sources – to target relevant constitutional issue in preparation for litigation.
(3) Independently identify and interview possible plaintiffs; follow-up effectively, draft declarations that are compelling, grammatically correct, and which demonstrate a keen understanding of how to target underlying legal issues.
(4) Be familiar with the legal and fact-finding issues underpinning all of the ACLU of Mississippi’s current and proposed litigation.
(5) Master the letter of Mississippi’s public records act, including the mechanics of initiating and appealing denials, and successfully use it.
(6) Understand privilege law and principles of ethical conduct in investigation.
(7) Demonstrate adeptness at either knowing or knowing how to independently determine what facts are required to prove all of the claims relevant to our current and proposed litigation.
(8) Independently design and track projects and move them swiftly and accurately from inception to completion, communicating continuously with the case team such that needing to be asked for updates is rare.
(9) Frequently travel all over the state of Mississippi, depending on the matter being investigated.
(10) Develop and utilize relationships with partner organizations and our internal advocacy and policy departments to be maximally effective in supporting litigation while meaningfully supporting the organization’s broader work as a whole.
Administrative Responsibilities include:
(1) Direct the intake review process and intake database, appropriately follow-up with intake when necessary, and have weekly advised attorneys accurately of the status of all open and closed intake.
(2) Make recommendations on intake issues that reflect an accurate understanding of our current and proposed litigation efforts.
(3) Identify, develop, and implement more efficient ways to handle intake.
(4) Be accurate and timely in completing administrative tasks, such as maintaining paper and electronic files, calendaring, submitting expense requests, retrieving records requests, maintaining litigation cost spreadsheets, and completing copying/scanning tasks.
(5) Additional duties include document management, review of intake, assist with intern oversight, completion of copying/scanning tasks, case docketing, filing.
The job responsibilities listed are not exhaustive, and the Litigation Specialist may be required to perform other duties to support the Legal Department.
§ Either (a) a degree in a subject requiring field work or quantitative research; or (b) one year of experience working as an investigator, journalist, investigating paralegal, or in a position requiring comparable skills;
§ Excellent writing skills and attention to detail;
§ Excellent research and data collection skills;
§ Highly skilled in use of MS Word and Excel, as well as ability to quickly learn data;
§ Knowledge and background using technology and social media to source investigations;
§ Excellent organization and team communication skills: a strong, consistent attention to detail, ability to meet tight deadlines, and the ability to follow through on work assignments with a minimum of direct supervision.
§ Ability to take and give feedback constructively;
§ Self-motivated and self-directed;
§ Ability to get along and work collaboratively with diverse personalities;
§ A strong sense of humor;
§ Accuracy and attention to detail in completion of all tasks, including administrative tasks;
§ Ability to travel anywhere in Mississippi, and occasionally outside the state
§ Flexibility to work weekends or evenings;
§ Valid drivers’ license required.
Compensation and Terms:
The ACLU-MS offers a generous and comprehensive compensation and benefits package, commensurate with experience.
E-mail (1) a resume; (2) a writing sample (10 pages max); (3) three references (and how you know them); (4) your salary range requirements; and (5) a cover letter describing your interest in this position and how you specifically satisfy the qualifications specified above.
Direct the email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading: "Job Application: Litigation Specialist." Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned about this position. No phone calls or walk-ins, please.
The deadline for applications is August 22, 2018, but the position will be kept open until filled.
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, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, and veteran status.
NOTE: The ACLU of MS develops litigation and works with partners across the state of Mississippi. This position requires the flexibility to regularly travel and to work evening and weekend hours. Please do not apply if you will not be able to travel or work extended hours.