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American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee - Transgender Justice Staff Attorney

American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee
Transgender Justice Staff Attorney

Date: April 26, 2022

The Opportunity: The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) is seeking a staff attorney to focus on transgender justice issues. This is a new position funded for two years, with the possibility of future funding. 

The transgender justice attorney will be responsible for providing legal assistance to transgender, gendernonconforming, nonbinary and intersex individuals in Tennessee on a variety of issues, with a focus on students in Tennessee public schools; individuals in foster care, prisons, jails, and juvenile detention facilities; and those facing employment discrimination. The transgender justice attorney also will proactively develop and pursue litigation and other legal advocacy strategies to advance the rights of transgender, gender-nonconforming, nonbinary and intersex persons in Tennessee. They will also participate in non-litigation advocacy and, working closely with ACLU-TN’s transgender justice advocate, will increase awareness about issues impacting transgender individuals.

Primary Responsibilities:

• Provide legal assistance and consultation to transgender, gender-nonconforming, nonbinary and intersex individuals.

• Develop and file a wide range of federal and state litigation, including individual and impact litigation, appeals, and amicus briefs, as well as administrative complaints.

• Participate in case selection and development, including conducting factual and legal research, evaluating legal theory and strategy, identifying and analyzing potential claims, identifying possible plaintiffs and defendants, interviewing clients and potential witnesses, working with experts, preparing internal memoranda, and drafting demand letters and litigation-related pleadings and briefs.

• Appear and argue cases in state and federal court, and before administrative agencies.

• Participate in the review and consideration of intake from transgender, gender-nonconforming, nonbinary and intersex individuals; conduct research or factual follow-up as necessary; and propose and/or consider recommendations for additional action.

• Develop and maintain strong collaborative relationships with community-based organizations and stakeholders.

• Speak at public forums, meetings, and events on civil liberties and civil rights topics affecting the transgender, gender-nonconforming, nonbinary and intersex community, as requested.

• Occasionally serve as media liaison regarding litigation.

• Be a resource for communications and policy staff, and draft memoranda, reports, public education materials, and legislative advocacy materials, as requested.

• Identify and research issues related to legislation, school board policies, local ordinances, and agency rules and regulations.

• Draft memoranda and/or advocacy letters and provide public comment and testimony, as requested.

Minimum Requirements:

• J.D. from an accredited law school with excellent academic achievement.

• Three years experience in civil litigation.

• Admission to the Tennessee Bar or eligibility to immediately apply for admission to the Tennessee Bar.

• Substantive knowledge and understanding of the issues impacting the transgender, gendernonconforming, nonbinary and intersex community.

• Experience litigating cases in federal and/or state courts.

• Excellent communication, research and writing skills.

• Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively on a variety of projects with attorneys, non-legal staff, and in coalition with partner organizations.

• Demonstrated skills in working independently, collaboratively, and under pressure.

• Willingness and availability to work beyond the normal workday, on weekends, holidays, and/or more than 40 hours a week, as necessary.

• Willingness and ability to travel throughout Tennessee, and occasionally to other states for conferences and training.

• Familiarity with office technology and information systems, including databases, case management software, digital legal research sources, online communications, and word processing.


• Commitment to the mission and values of the ACLU of Tennessee, racial equity and civil rights issues, and an understanding that these issues are central to overall protection of civil liberties.

• Commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging; a personal approach that values the individual and respects differences of race, ethnicity, national origin, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstance; and the ability to work with diverse individuals within the organization and broader community.

• Ability to work effectively and professionally with clients, other counsel, volunteers, and staff, and a commitment to the highest ethical standards.

• Ability to provide clear direction, set priorities, meet deadlines, and hold staff accountable to deadlines on concurrent projects in a fast-paced, occasionally stressful environment.

• Ability to provide meaningful and critical feedback on planning and execution of programs.

• Strong self-motivation and ability to work independently and take initiative.

• Excellent writing, research, analytical, and verbal communication skills.

• Ability to work competently and effectively under pressure.

• Ability to think critically and solve complex problems.

• Strong interpersonal skills and willingness to work cooperatively on a variety of projects with other staff members, cooperating attorneys, and diverse organizations and coalitions.

Personal Characteristics:

Ideally, the successful candidate will be:

• Personally committed to advancing ACLU-TN’s values, mission, goals, and programs, and understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications, with preference for those with lived experience with these issues.

• Flexible, well-organized, reliable, creative, and energetic.

• Able to handle and prioritize multiple activities and responsibilities.

• Absolutely committed to the highest ethical and professional standards.

• A team player who is comfortable working in a small, tight-knit office environment.


The transgender justice attorney is a member of the legal team and will be supervised by the legal director. The transgender justice attorney also may work on assignments with other ACLU-TN teams.

This position will be based in Nashville, Tennessee. Staff are currently working remotely with the expectation to return to in-office work.


Salary between the range of $62,000 - $71,000, based on experience. Excellent benefits offered, including 100% employer-paid comprehensive health insurance; dental, life, accidental and disability insurance; defined contribution plan (401K); vacation, sick and holiday leave. This is a two-year funded position with the possibility of future funding.

How to Apply:

Please email a single PDF titled “TJ Attorney Search – Your Name” that includes your letter of interest, resume, professional writing sample (no longer than 3 pages) and three professional references to jobs@aclu-tn.org, with “TJ Attorney Search—Your Name,” in the subject line. Please indicate in your cover letter where you found the job announcement.

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and will be accepted until the position is filled, at which time the position will be removed from the ACLU/ACLU-TN websites. Position to be filled ASAP. Qualified candidates may be asked to submit additional information, including performance samples, a law school transcript and references from people with whom they have worked in the past.

The ACLU of Tennessee is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. The ACLU of Tennessee encourages applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, record of arrest or conviction, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Black people; Indigenous people; people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, nonbinary, gender-nonconforming and intersex people; women; people with disabilities; protected veterans; and formerly incarcerated individuals are all strongly encouraged to apply.

The ACLU of Tennessee makes every effort to assure that its recruitment and employment practices provide all qualified persons, including persons with disabilities, with full opportunities for employment in all positions. The ACLU of Tennessee is committed to providing reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities. Please do not hesitate to inquire at jobs@aclu-tn.org if you believe you may need accommodations during the application or interview process.

About the ACLU of Tennessee – ACLU-TN, the state affiliate of the national ACLU, is a private, non-profit, nonpartisan public interest organization. ACLU-TN’s mission is to translate the promises of the Bill of Rights into reality for all Tennesseans. ACLU-TN defends and advances civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, community engagement and mobilization, and public education, legal and policy initiatives. 

ACLU has been a leader in moving fairness and freedom forward in Tennessee for over nine decades. In 1925, ACLU represented public high school teacher John Scopes when he was arrested for teaching evolution in Dayton, Tennessee. In the 1960s and 1970s, ACLU advocated for racial justice and the right to assemble, including representing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the Memphis sanitation strike and challenging police surveillance of civil rights activists in the city. During the Trump Administration, we aggressively challenged the relentless attacks on civil liberties and civil rights, and today we continue to tackle cutting edge initiatives on a range of issues, including criminal legal reform, policing, LGBTQ equality, voting rights, fair treatment of immigrants and refugees, freedom of speech, religious freedom, and reproductive justice.

The ACLU-TN office is located in Nashville, a rapidly growing city with a rich history in social justice and an incredible music, arts, culture and food scene. ACLU-TN is an exciting, fast-paced place to work.

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