Careers and Job Opportunties



Position Overview:

The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawai‘i (ACLU-HI) seeks an intellectually creative, excellence-driven attorney to lead a robust legal program and elevate a docket that supports local and national public policy goals.

Reporting to the Executive Director, and in consultation with the Litigation Committee, the Legal Director will lead and expand the ACLU of Hawaii’s legal program, including developing and litigating high-impact cases and managing the legal and legislative programs. The Legal Director will be responsible for setting the overall legal strategy to advance the ACLU of Hawaii’s mission, as well as handling the day-to-day management of legal and legislative staff and cooperating attorneys.

We welcome a collaborative partner to join a team discipline that intersects litigation, legislative advocacy and public education to powerfully secure and increase awareness of fundamental rights on all islands.

Headquartered in Honolulu, the Hawai‘i affiliate has successfully pursued litigation and legislation on critical civil rights issues including, but not limited to, free speech, the rights of the LGBT community, immigrants, the homeless, and disparate treatment of minorities.


• Develop an aggressive impact litigation and advocacy docket that advances the ACLU’s strategic priorities and responds to civil rights and civil liberties threats;
• Manage all aspects of the ACLU’s litigation program, including coordinating the selection of cases, overseeing the development of cases prior to the commencement of litigation; directly engaging in litigation in federal and state court; and overseeing the conduct of litigation thereafter

  • Research, investigate, develop, and present selected potential cases to the ACLU of Hawai‘i Litigation Committee for evaluation;
  • Maintain his or her own caseload of civil liberties/civil rights litigation;
  • Recruit and collaborate with volunteer attorneys to build affiliate’s docket by engaging in ACLU sponsored litigation, including research, brief writing, depositions, and trial work. Ensure that volunteer attorneys and legal interns are well trained in substantive areas of the law, sound legal practice, and organizational operations;
  • Supervise legal program staff and Advocacy Coordinator (legislative program)
  • Supervise legal program interns/fellows and volunteers;
  • Research civil liberties issues and draft legal memoranda, and demand letters;
  • Supervise the review of requests for legal assistance and legal intake to ensure that requests for assistance are properly evaluated and processed and to identify appropriate cases for legal challenge;
  • Ensure that legal program adheres to highest standards of legal and professional ethics;
  • Collaborate internally with the communications, legislative, and development staff to advance the ACLU’s priority campaigns: help generate visibility; identify, research and coordinate policy and legal advocacy tactics; lobby; and develop financial resources to grow;
  • Develop and maintain relationships with our partners including the legal staff at the National ACLU, other affiliates, legal services agencies, and law firms;
  • Keep the Executive Director informed of significant legal developments; consult with the Executive Director on priority and complex issues and resource requirements;
  • Engage in public speaking, articulating ACLU views to the public on a broad range of issues;
  • As part of senior leadership team, assist Executive Director in building an equity-minded and inclusive organizational climate and culture and which is also sensitive to a Hawai‘i sense of place
  • Monitor annual litigation budget and expenses throughout the year.


  • JD from an accredited law school; at least 6 years practice as a litigator, with trial and appellate experience in federal courts, particularly complex litigation of constitutional issues. Experience in non-profit advocacy or other community- based groups also valuable.
  • Licensed to practice law in the state of Hawai‘i (or licensed in another state and qualified to apply for admission in Hawai‘i).
  • Exceptional analytical, research, writing, and speaking skills.
  • Comfortable engaging law firm partners and the tact to harness their partnership and respect.
  • Substantive knowledge of constitutional law and civil liberties issues as well as the ability to think creatively and to use non‐litigation strategies to promote objectives.
  • Demonstrated commitment to the preservation and vigorous enforcement of civil liberties and firm commitment to the mission and principles of the ACLU.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, including supervising legal staff and coordinating with both internal and external partners.
  • Superb organization skills with strong follow-through and the ability to meet multiple and tight deadlines.
  • Experience working with legislative processes a plus.
  • A commitment to diversity; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Ability to travel as well as the flexibility to work as needed to accomplish organizational goals which may include evenings and weekends.
  • Sense of humor in order to maintain perspective and balance

Compensation & Benefits

Salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits include generous paid vacation and sick leave, medical and dental insurance, 401(k), long-term disability insurance, paid holidays and sabbatical policy.

To Apply

Please send 1) a cover letter explaining your interest in, qualifications for, and how you learned about the position as detailed in this announcement, 2) a current resume, 3) three professional references and 4) a relevant writing sample of no more than 10 pages by mail to:

Legal Director Position ACLU of Hawai‘i, P.O. Box 3410,
Honolulu, HI 96801
or by email to with “Legal Director Position” in the subject line of the email.


Applications accepted until position is filled.

The ACLU of Hawai’i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, people of color, persons with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals.