Public Policy Counsel
ABOUT THE POSITION
The ACLU of Maryland exists to empower Marylanders to exercise their rights so that the law values and uplifts their humanity.
The Public Policy Counsels’ primary purpose is to work with the policy team to develop and execute the organization's policy and legislative advocacy agenda, including drafting legislation, testifying in front of government bodies, and lobbying local and state legislators to pass laws concerning civil rights and civil liberties. In addition to managing a larger portfolio of policy issues, the Public Policy Counsels conduct extensive legal and policy research and analysis, answer legal questions, and draft a variety of legal memos, letters, and other documents that require an understanding of many different aspects of law, particularly Constitutional law.
ESSENTIAL JOB FUNCTIONS
The information provided below encompasses the essential functions and capabilities linked with these positions:
- Recommend revisions to team procedures and practices to incorporate best practices and address changes in the legal landscape and cultural environment.
- Disseminate, implement, and enforce organization and team standards, policies, and procedures, including providing proper guidance to those carrying out related duties.
- Assist with developing and executing plans and strategies to meet team goals and objectives.
- Lobby legislators and draft bill language for the organization’s priorities.
- Perform legal analysis to determine the Constitutionality of existing and proposed laws and policies.
- Work to actively elevate the work and leadership of communities directly impacted by injustice.
- Conduct legal research to identify key issues related to proposed legislation.
- Identify, track, and advise on introduced and proposed legislation before the Maryland General Assembly and other local legislative bodies that affect civil liberties.
- Maintain bill tracking database and hearing schedule, program calendars, and docket information.
- Monitor implementation of priority laws that passed from the previous session.
- Attend hearings, briefings, and other proceedings before the General Assembly.
- Draft testimony on a wide range of bills to explain the Constitutional implications of legislation and the organization's position.
- Deliver verbal testimony at the state and local level to represent the organization in front of government bodies.
- Draft reports, memos, letters, and documents to different audiences to explain complex legal and policy matters and provide recommendations.
- Draft policy briefs, fact sheets, one-pagers, talking points, communications and education materials, and other documents to synthesize complex issues into persuasive language that is easy to understand.
- Build and maintain relationships with key legislators, coalitions, and advocates to advance the organization's legislative
- Assist members of the legal department on an ad hoc basis by conducting legal research, writing, and analysis.
- Assist with development of and facilitate meetings with members of different departments and outside coalitions and advocates.
- Collaborate with the engagement team on outreach and organizing strategies.
- Collaborate with the communications team on media and communication strategies.
- Assist with developing and executing plans and strategies to meet team goals and objectives.
Collaborative Work Plans and Organizational Communications:
- The individuals in These positions are expected to perform work assigned and outlined in the annual organizational strategic operating plan, departmental operational plans, and/or in project/programmatic area workplans in addition to the positions’ other work.
- These positions primarily support the following strategic priorities on an ongoing basis, depending on the issue focus on the particular position: Individual Autonomy, Immigrant Rights, Government Accountability and Voting Rights.
- These positions must work in-person in Annapolis during the state’s three-month General Assembly session.
- Upon request, collaborate with the development team and program staff on grant proposals and reports; meet with funders; and provide information to funders.
- These positions may be required to speak at public events and represent the organization as a spokesperson upon request.
- These positions are expected to maintain and manage regular communications channels with immediate supervisors, management, and coworkers to ensure the smooth and efficient operations of the organization. Communications include but are not limited to email, telephone inquiries, letters of correspondence, video conferencing, and organizational meetings; this position is also expected to complete regular operational administrative tasks, such as timekeeping for payroll purposes, etc.
Optional Organizational Commitments:
- All individuals are encouraged to participate in voluntary work assignments and engage in extra work activities at their discretion and based on their availability and workload.
- Elective work performed should not interfere or pose a conflict with an individual’s normal workload or ability to function in their organizational role.
- Organizational commitments include but are not limited to aspirational work, organizational committees, organizational programs, employee resource and affinity groups, organizational membership groups, etc.
Voluntary Organizational Leadership:
- Performance evaluations will consider the individual’s overall job-related performance based upon the job description. However, other unique competencies may also be identified relevant to this position due to work performed and specific or special skills demonstrated that are required by staff to fulfill voluntary organizational leadership roles. The recognition and appraisal of added organizational value achieved through non-mandatory work will also be considered in completing annual performance evaluations.
These positions are designated as a non-management position and do not encompass supervisory responsibility. These positions may function as a team leader and monitor interns and volunteer work assignments as directed by their immediate supervisor.
The following are the primary entry qualifications required for these positions.
- Demonstrated personal commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission, goals, and programs, with an understanding of the range of civil rights and civil liberties issues and their implications through previous experiences.
Race Equity Commitment:
- Demonstrated commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, and incorporating a structural power analysis into work. Must have knowledge and understanding of how power is manifested in matters of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances.
Education & Work Experience:
(Relevant education/experience may substitute for required education/experience at a rate of one-year relevant education/experience per year of required education/experience.)
- Juris Doctorate Degree
- A minimum of 3 to 7 years’ experience in a similar position.
Certification or License Requirements:
Typical Functional Experience:
- Ability to contribute legal knowledge and expertise in support of community-generated initiatives.
- Ability to be proactive and work effectively on issues that require bipartisan support.
- Negotiation skills and the ability to articulate complex issues and communicate them effectively to a variety of audiences.
- Ability to think strategically and conceptually with a self-awareness to dismantle your biases in order to approach to solutions using a race equity lens.
- Proactively identify issues and analyze qualitative and quantitative data to make policy recommendations.
- Excellent written and oral communication skills; ability to use professional judgment and practice patience.
- Demonstrated ability to work effectively with coalitions and community groups, motivate volunteers, and work across the political spectrum.
- Willingness to take direction from directly impacted people and to contribute public policy and legal knowledge with the purpose of empowering community members and making the law accessible and useful to disenfranchised communities.
- Ability to give presentations and engage diverse audiences.
- Adaptable team player with the ability to engage various constituencies in a complex environment.
- Familiarity with Maryland communities, state, and local government racial equity and social injustice issues that impact our stakeholders.
- Ability to work independently and keep organized in a fast-paced environment; manage several projects simultaneously; and adjust strategy to frequently changing demands.
- Working knowledge of relevant current and proposed federal and local laws, regulations, and other legal directives related to assigned program area and rules governing civil and appellate litigation.
- Working knowledge on effective policy development and advocacy practices as well as internal policies and procedures.
- Working knowledge of advocacy campaigns, including legislative advocacy, coalition building, and community outreach.
- Working knowledge of communications best practices, cross-programmatic policy changes, and legislative updates.
- Maintain advanced working knowledge of office-related software, including Apple and Microsoft office products and any industry-specific technology or other internet research tools.
Work Schedule & Travel Obligation:
- The ability to work occasional evening, weekend, and irregular hours and to travel within the state as needed.
- Candidates must live in Maryland or are willing to relocate within 6 months of employment.
- Advanced Juris Doctorate (Bar Certification).
- Bilingual ability to interpret or translate in a non-English language, preferably Spanish.
- Experience working in non-profit, advocacy, or political organization.
- Experience with statutory and legislative analysis, legal research and writing, and legislative and budget processes in Maryland; experience with advocacy and policy change tools; awareness of the political landscape.
- Criminal defense trial experience.
COMPENSATION & BENEFITS
Starting salary for this position is $80,571.52-$85,063.88 which per the agreement between ACLU Maryland and OPEIU Local 2, correlates to Category C, Step 1 – Step 3 on the approved compensation scale for base salary.
Actual starting salary is a set calculation based on the individual candidate’s prior relevant work experience (including full-time and part-time internships and volunteer work), education, certification, and required foreign language skills (if applicable) per the agreed upon OPEIU Local 2 Union Compensation Scale, and therefore is not negotiable upon hire. For any questions, please reach out to the HR team.
Excellent benefits include:
- Three weeks paid vacation at time of hire (increasing to four weeks after two years)
- 13 paid office holidays
- 12 paid sick days
- Telework and flex-time
- Generous medical insurance including two health, dental and vision insurance options for staff members, their dependents and spouse/domestic partner
- Flexible spending accounts employee assistance plan
- Six weeks of paid medical leave, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance
- Short-term disability and long-term disability insurance
- (401(k) defined contribution retirement plan with employer match
- Free on-site parking
- Additional commuter benefits with access to commuter rail station
- Direct exposure to cutting-edge civil liberties and civil rights work
This is a position that is non-exempt from the overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
DEADLINE & START DATE
The position will remain open until filled. Interviews will be scheduled on a rolling basis.
HOW TO APPLY
Please submit a cover letter, resume, three professional references, and a short (no longer than 5 pages) writing sample and/or work sample at this website:
We discourage applicants from applying through third-party websites. Early applications are strongly encouraged. It will not be possible for us to respond to telephone or email inquiries. Resumes or applications sent via other avenues will not be considered.
ABOUT THE ACLU OF MARYLAND
The ACLU of Maryland is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture that promotes equity. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, gender, sexual orientation or preference, gender identity and expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law.
The ACLU of Maryland makes every effort to assure that its recruitment, selection, hiring and employment practices provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions. The ACLU of Maryland 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 human resources at HR@aclu-md.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.
The ACLU of Maryland is a non-partisan, non-profit racial justice, social and public interest organization that works in the courts, legislature, and in support of communities to affect structural change. We exist to empower Marylanders to exercise their rights so that the law values and uplifts their humanity. Our vision is a Maryland where people are united in affirming and exercising their rights in order to address inequities and fulfill the country’s unrealized promise of justice and freedom for all. We are committed to centering race equity in our work, internally and externally, in order to better support and be accountable to Black, Indigenous, and Communities of Color, whose civil rights and civil liberties are systematically threatened by white supremacy. ACLU-MD is an affiliate of the national ACLU.
Organization Commitment to Race Equity:
All individuals in our organization are expected to support and maintain our organizational commitment to centering race equity in their work, internally and externally, in order to better support and be accountable to Black, Indigenous, POC individuals and communities, whose civil rights and civil liberties are systematically threatened by white supremacy. Application of this principle requires the conscious use of a race equity lens at all levels of work to both identify and understand implications of structural racism, challenge or confront systemic conditions or resulting issues, and dismantle overall institutional systems related to white privilege and white supremacy when engaging, advocating, and defending the civil liberties and civil rights of all Marylanders.