The ACLU of Wisconsin is seeking a person with strong organizational, interpersonal and communication skills to join its legal and community engagement teams in the fight for civil rights and civil liberties. As the state affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Wisconsin works through the courts, in the state legislature, with local governments and with people in the community to protect and advance civil rights and civil liberties for all people in Wisconsin. The Legal & Community Engagement Coordinator provides support to the ACLU-WI’s legal and community engagement departments. Under the supervision of the legal director and staff attorneys, the Coordinator is responsible for efficient handling of legal inquiries from the public, maintaining the legal department database, and providing administrative and litigation support to staff attorneys. Under the supervision of the advocacy and legal directors, the coordinator is responsible for helping coordinate legal observing efforts for protests and volunteer lawyers for mass defense of arrests and citations of demonstrators. The Paralegal also provides support for other functions of the legal department.
The Coordinator is a member of the legal department and reports directly to the legal director and staff attorneys, but also works closely with the advocacy director and team, particularly with scheduling of legal observer trainings and deployments. The Coordinator assists in the recruitment and supervision of volunteers assisting with the intake process. We seek a person with a demonstrated commitment, through previous professional, volunteer or lived experience, to civil rights and civil liberties. We anticipate that this position will require the person to work in the Milwaukee office most days, but some remote work is possible.
The responsibilities of the Legal & Community Engagement Coordinator include:
● Reviewing, sorting and prioritizing incoming legal inquiries, including case questionnaire forms, letters, emails and, when necessary, telephone inquiries.
● Entering basic information on all inquiries into the legal database; preparing brief written summaries of all inquiries, identifying potential civil rights or civil liberties issues raised, and applying established criteria to evaluate whether inquiries fall within the ACLU-WI’s mission and current priorities. The coordinator may supervise interns or other volunteers performing these functions.
● Making recommendations on disposition of inquiries and preparing written responses to inquiries using standard response letters modified to reflect the individual inquiries. The Coordinator may supervise interns or other volunteers performing these functions with respect to cases falling outside the ACLU-WI’s mission or priorities, but for cases with genuine potential to raise civil liberties or civil rights issues the Coordinator makes recommendations and prepares responses for review by the legal director and staff attorneys.
● Identifying and maintaining referral resources for legal and social services and fact sheets for those seeking information on civil liberties issues.
● Under the direction of the legal director and staff attorneys, conducting limited factual investigation and preliminary legal research to help evaluate inquiries for legal merit and appropriateness for impact litigation.
● Providing support to the legal director, staff attorneys and volunteer attorneys on cases in litigation. This may include client contact, contact with volunteer attorneys, coordinating responses to discovery requests, organizing case files and discovery, filing and serving court papers (both electronic filing and paper filing, where necessary), and other assigned tasks.
● Under the supervision of Community Engagement staff, assisting with Community Engagement and Advocacy campaigns and projects as needed. For example, working with volunteers and community groups to schedule and coordinate training for legal observers and responding to requests from organizations seeking legal observers for public demonstrations.
● Under the supervision of Legal and Community Engagement staff, helping to recruit lawyers to volunteer to represent individuals arrested or ticketed in mass protest events and to match lawyers to people needing representation.
● Assisting other staff in responding to general inquiries from the public about civil rights and civil liberties issues.
● Working with other departments in the ACLU office as needed. Tasks may include, but are not limited to, assisting with mailings and events, handling phones and mail in absence of other staff, and assisting with special projects.
The Legal & Community Engagement Coordinator should have and maintain the following qualifications:
● Experience or education demonstrating the organizational, communication and interpersonal skills to perform the tasks described above. This may, but need not, include training or experience as a paralegal, legal assistant, legal secretary or related occupation.
● Experience with or ability to learn court filing systems, including electronic filing systems.
● A demonstrated commitment, through previous professional, volunteer or lived experience, to civil rights and civil liberties.
● Familiarity with and appreciation for the ethical obligations of lawyers, including maintaining client confidentiality, avoiding conflicts of interest, and observing the limits of competence of non-attorney staff in dealing with clients and potential clients (e.g., not giving legal advice, not promising legal representation, etc.).
● Familiarity with legal writing and formatting.
● Excellent communications skills, both written and oral, for responding to legal inquiries from members of the public.
● Familiarity with and ability to use legal practice management software.
● Ability to plan and manage time and work independently. Ability to recognize when to seek input from supervisors.
● Willingness and ability to work full time, primarily in our Milwaukee office. Some remote work will be possible, both while COVID-19 remains a threat and for the longer term.
● Ability to work well with coworkers in a small office setting.
● Ability to work with volunteers.
● Fluency in languages other than English spoken widely in Wisconsin is a plus.
● Commitment to racial equity, dismantling white supremacy, acknowledging and analyzing how power shows up in the work setting.
● 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 circumstance.
Compensation: Compensation is based on relevant experience and skills, starting at approximately $46,500 per year, $240 annual wellness allowance, $60 per month for internet and cell phone allowance. Benefits include paid vacation and sick leave, 10 weeks paid family medical/parental leave, medical, vision, dental coverage, life insurance, short and long term disability insurance, and a 401(k) retirement fund.
How to Apply: Please email a single document of the requested documents to email@example.com, please put ‘[YOUR NAME]_ Legal Intake & Community Projects Coordinator’ in the subject line of the email. The requested items are the following:
● Cover letter, explaining how you are qualified for this particular position and why you are interested in the position
● Three professional references
Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
This job announcement provides a general but not comprehensive list of the essential responsibilities and qualifications required. It does not represent a contract of employment. The ACLU of Wisconsin reserves the right to change the description and/or posting at any time without advance notice.
The ACLU of Wisconsin is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and strongly encourages people of color, people with disabilities, members of the LGBTQ+ community, and formerly incarcerated people to apply.
The ACLU of Wisconsin undertakes affirmative action strategies in its recruitment and employment efforts to assure that persons with disabilities have full opportunities for employment in all positions. We encourage applicants with disabilities who may need accommodations in the application process to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The ACLU of Wisconsin is comprised of two separate corporate entities, the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin and the American Civil Liberties Union of Wisconsin Foundation. Both are organizations with the same overall mission; they share office space and employees.