The American Civil Liberties Union of Hawaii's next Legal Director will be a mission-driven, experienced attorney who will help advance the civil rights and liberties of the people of Hawaiʻi. We take pride in our reputation of over 50 years fighting for people whose civil rights are challenged. And now—with never-before-imagined threats to civil liberties nationally, the increased need to be a check on government locally, the still-evolving impacts of the COVID crisis on our rights, and the 400-years overdue increased awareness of the impacts of systemic racism on every element of our society—it is the ideal time to join us and make a meaningful impact on the future of Hawai‘i and the United States!

We are taking our organization to a new level by focusing our legal and legislative firepower, building field strength, and expanding our communications methods. We are pursuing specific integrated advocacy campaigns to achieve measurable goals that will expand civil liberties and civil rights while building the long-term power of the ACLU and the civil liberties’ movement. 

The Legal Director will lead and grow the ACLU of Hawaii’s legal program, including developing and litigating high-impact cases, managing an ongoing docket of cases and matters, and working with other departments to accomplish the affiliate’s goals. Reporting to the Executive Director, the Legal Director is responsible for setting overall legal strategy to advance the ACLU of Hawaii’s mission and campaign goals, as well as handling day-to-day management of legal staff and cooperating attorneys. The Legal Director will have a commitment to racial equity and will work to promote equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) and incorporate an EDIB lens in the legal department’s internal and external work.

What you’ll do


  • Develop impact litigation and a legal docket that advances the ACLU’s campaign goals and responds to emerging civil rights and civil liberties threats.
  • Recruit, hire and supervise a staff attorney and law fellows or interns. Foster a collaborative organizational culture within the legal program that encourages staff development through internal and external resources. The legal director currently supervises one staff attorney, one to two legal fellows, and co-supervises a legal and legislative assistant.
  • As part of senior leadership team, maintain an equity-minded and inclusive organizational climate and culture that is sensitive to Hawaii’s sense of place.


  • Manage all aspects of the ACLU’s litigation program, including coordinating the selection of cases, overseeing the development of cases prior to the start of litigation; directly engaging in litigation in federal and state court; and overseeing the conduct of litigation thereafter.
  • Oversee implementation of legal program policies, procedures, and budget.
  • Maintain an individual caseload of developing and active litigation.
  • Ensure the legal program adheres to highest standards of professional ethics.


  • Collaborate with ACLU of Hawai‘i colleagues to develop and implement integrated advocacy campaigns using legal, communications, public education, legislative, and field organizing resources. Serve as a resource on legal matters.
  • Keep the Executive Director informed of significant legal developments and consult with them on priority and complex issues and resource requirements.
  • Develop equitable and reciprocal relationships with partner organizations.
  • Broaden and deepen relationships with other lawyers in the state.
  • Research, investigate, develop, and present selected potential cases to the ACLU of Hawai‘i Litigation Committee for evaluation.


  • Serve as a spokesperson and make press appearances for the ACLU of Hawai‘i, articulating the ACLU’s views to the public on a range of issues.
  • Assist in developing communication tactics and outreach.
  • Engage in public education, including know your rights events, talk stories, membership meetings, and more.

What you’ll need

  • Juris doctor from an accredited law school is required. Must obtain Hawai‘i Bar admission within a year of employment.[1]
  • Federal trial and appellate experience, particularly concerning complex litigation of constitutional and civil rights matters.
  • Demonstrated record of moving legal cases forward from investigation and development through all levels of the court system and forums for administrative advocacy, with experience working with clients from diverse constituencies.
  • Project management experience and a goal-oriented approach; skilled at developing a strategic vision in alignment with organizational priorities, with an ability to recognize and maximize opportunities on behalf of the organization.
  • Management experience in recruiting, training, mentoring, managing, collaborating with, and motivating a diverse, high-performing litigation team.
  • Demonstrated commitment to EDIB, both in the workplace and in collaboration with community partners and constituents.
  • Excellent research, writing, analytical, and oral communication skills.
  • Superb organization and follow-through skills and the ability to meet multiple deadlines.
  • Substantive knowledge of constitutional law and civil rights as well as the ability to think creatively and use non‐litigation strategies.
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse coalitions and community groups, work across the political spectrum, and value differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, ability and socio-economic circumstances
  • Proven ability to build and nurture a calm and positive working environment, especially in high-intensity situations.
  • Ability to travel and flexibility to work as needed to accomplish organizational goals, which may include evenings and weekends.
  • Commitment to the mission of the ACLU.
  • Familiarity with Hawaiʻi preferred.

Are You Ready to Help Lead Us into the Future?

If you’re excited about devoting your talents and skills to the ACLU of Hawaiʻi, please submit (1) your resume, (2) letter of interest, (3) writing sample of no more than 10 pages, and (4) three professional refences by email, to Please include your last name and “Legal Director – Hawai‘i” in the subject line of the email and mention where your learned of this opportunity. No phone calls, please. To ensure that we receive your application, please do not send your application to any other ACLU email address.

Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU of Hawai‘i compensation scale. Excellent benefits include: generous vacation and sick leave; 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave; individual/family employer-provided health insurance with 100% of premiums covered for the employee; long-term disability; defined contribution plan with employer match; paid parking; and 14 paid holidays. This position is full-time, salaried, and exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

We will accept applications until November 13, 2020 or until the position is filled, when the job announcement will be removed from our website. We hope one of those applications is yours.

The ACLU of Hawai‘i is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public interest organization, dedicated to defending and enhancing civil rights and civil liberties through litigation, legislative advocacy, organizing, and community education.

The ACLU of Hawai‘i is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. It is our policy to employ qualified people without regard to: race; color; religion; sex; national origin; age; ancestry; disability; sexual orientation; veteran’s status; marital status; civil union status; arrest or court record; citizenship; credit history; genetic information; gender identity or expression; status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence, or stalki

[1] Hawai‘i does not have reciprocity with other states/U.S. territories. Bar admissions are handled by the State Judiciary. On the Hawaii Judiciary's website you may find bar application information and a link to the Rules of the Supreme Court including admission to the bar.