Deputy Director of Government Affairs


ACLU California Action seeks applicants for the full-time role of Deputy Director of Government Affairs. ACLU California Action advocates for the defense and advancement of civil liberties and civil rights in the State Capitol in collaboration with ACLU’s three California Affiliates: ACLU of Northern California, ACLU of Southern California, and ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. We work to secure greater equality, equity, justice, and freedom for all Californians, working in coalition with communities that have been impacted by the denial of justice. Our policy priorities are aimed at dismantling systems rooted in oppression and discrimination through an integrated advocacy approach that employs rigorous policy analysis, lobbying, communications, coalition-building, and member development. ACLU California Action is a 501(c)(4)* organization  governed and funded by ACLU’s three California Affiliates for the purpose of statewide advocacy.

Position Overview

ACLU California Action seeks a talented individual to help manage and advance ambitious policy goals. The Deputy Director will report to the Director of Government Affairs and supervise a team of advocates, fellows, and interns; engage in strategic campaign planning; manage administrative operations; conduct legal and policy analysis; and represent ACLU Cal Action in select meetings and briefings. Successful candidates are well-experienced attorneys who have demonstrated success as compassionate collaborators, inclusive leaders, and effective advocates. This is a non-litigating role.




Full-time, Exempt


Unrepresented- not a bargaining unit position

Primary Responsibilities

The key duties for fulfilling this job’s purpose include:

Advocacy and Analysis:

  • Co-create and execute comprehensive multi-year, cutting-edge legislative campaigns that educate public officials, drive accountability for ACLU’s policy goals, and provide opportunity for communities that have been the targets of systemic oppression to reform and dismantle inequitable and unjust systems.
  • Develop, maintain, and leverage strong working relationships with members and leadership of the California Legislature, the executive branch, regulatory agencies, and other state-level policymakers and their staff.
  • Monitor, review, and interpret legislation by reference to existing laws, court decisions, legislative history, and other legal authorities;
  • Upon review of legislation, recommend assignment to Cal Action lobbyist(s) consistent with identified issue area(s);
  • Prepare opinions regarding the legal effect and constitutionality of proposed legislative measures, pending bills, and provisions of existing laws;
  • Confer with Cal Action lobbyists, affiliate partners, legislative committees, and external partners to influence bill language;
  • Strengthen and/or develop operations and systems including bill tracking, assignment, calendaring, and official position submissions;
  • Create and deliver oral presentations to various audiences, including legislators, legislative staff, partner organizations, and other relevant collaborators; and
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Participate in standing meetings to ensure that ACLU Cal Action is aligned with the overall priorities and integrated strategies of the ACLU affiliates in California and ACLU National.


  • Serve as a manager for select members of the government affairs team along with the Director of Government Affairs. This includes both strategic and day-to-day management of entire policy portfolios, providing guidance to staff, and being responsible for key deliverables.
  • Redesign and manage the government affairs department’s internship and fellowship program, including providing supervision and arranging programming; and
  • Develop a strong team of interns and fellows; ensure team is cohesive on its own and well-integrated with the government affairs team and across the organization.


  1. All candidates must have active membership in the California State Bar with at least 5-10 years of legal experience and/or experience as a policy analyst, legislative advocate, or work experience of a similar nature. A blend of these is highly desirable;**
  2. Exceptional analytical, research, writing and oral advocacy skills, as well as ability to articulate legal concepts and complex issues and communicate them effectively to a variety of audiences, including summary legal briefs for our government affairs department, ACLU affiliate executive leadership, and legal directors;
  3. Ability to employ project management approaches in a fast-paced work environment to:
    • intentionally organize and prioritize competing needs and accomplish complex tasks;
    • adjust strategy to frequently changing demands; and
    • plan, execute and accomplish the completion of large workloads in extremely short timeframes;
  4. Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse staff including remote colleagues working across the political spectrum, value and respect differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstance, including the temperament and aptitude to work with colleagues in a collaboration of ACLU affiliates;
  5. Ability to recognize and balance a range of civil liberties interests and concerns, which often intersect, and to represent the nuanced and specific positions unique to the ACLU in the legislative/legal review process; and
  6. Commitment to advancing the ACLU’s values, mission and goals with understanding of the range of civil liberties issues and their implications.

Preferred Skills, Knowledge, and Experience

  • Familiarity with lobbying compliance requirements for IRS and FPPC compliance.

Compensation & Benefits

This position comes with a generous compensation and benefits package. This includes top-quality, employer sponsored medical, dental and vision coverage for you and your family; a retirement plan with a 2% employer contribution—up to 5.5% with matching contributions; 22 paid vacation days, 10 days of sick time, and 20 paid holidays of the employee’s choice annually; and robust life, disability, accidental death and dismemberment, and critical illness insurance plans. Salary range for this position is from $125,000-$150,000 depending on the applicant’s experience; employees also receive stipends for transportation and telework needs.

Selection Process

Please submit your resume no later than April 1 to [email protected] for consideration. If you have any questions about the position or our process, please reach out to Jack Zwald at 916-824-3263 or [email protected].

ACLU California Action 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 contact Jack Zwald at [email protected] or 916-824-3263.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request accommodation during the interview process.

ACLU Cal Action advances equity and inclusion in the workplace by providing equal employment opportunity to all as part of a work environment free from discrimination. We encourage and welcome applicants who will work to further this commitment and add to the diversity of our organization on multiple dimensions including race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, exercising the right to family care and medical leave, genetic information, marital status, sex (includes pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and related medical conditions), gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, sexual orientation, military and veteran status, political affiliation, or arrest or conviction record. 

*Please note that as a 501(c)(4) organization our team members are not eligible to participate in most student loan forgiveness programs.

** Selected candidate will be required to register as part of ACLU Cal Action’s lobbyist team within 10 days of hire.