State Legislative Counsel

Employment Type: 
Staff Position

Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU) is a national non-profit organization that, for more than 70 years, has been fighting for religious freedom through public education, litigation, and advocacy at both the federal and state level. As a member of our legislative team, the state legislative counsel will help design and implement our state advocacy program.

Although so much of the news is focused on Congress and the administration, much of the political action is actually happening in the states. That is where AU’s legislative team tracks scores of bills that affect religious freedom each year. In the last year, we have fought bills that were designed to introduce prayer or the teaching of creationism in public schools, and allow “religious freedom” to be used as an excuse to discriminate against LGBTQ people and deny women access to reproductive healthcare. We also fought an onslaught of bills that would send taxpayer dollars to religious schools through school voucher schemes. Some of the most notable and novel policy battles in the area of religious freedom happen in the states.

The state legislative counsel will track bills and other policy proposals, across the country and work to develop a strategy to defeat or support these measures. The counsel will report to the legislative director and will work cooperatively with the rest of the legislative team.

You must have:

  • a J.D. and the legal skills to understand Establishment Clause jurisprudence and analyze complicated church state legislation and other policy proposals;
  • an understanding of the legislative process and the advocacy instincts necessary to devise a strategy to support or oppose legislation;
  • the written and oral communication skills to convey AU’s position to various audiences (including state legislators, AU supporters, and the public) and in various forms, from letters to legislators and legislative testimony to blog posts and social media materials;
  • the ability to forge and maintain relationships with our members, allies, and coalition partners in states across the country while sitting in your Washington, D.C., office; the talent to prioritize, balance, and meet conflicting demands when bills from dozens of states are quickly moving through the legislatures;
  • strong interpersonal skills to coordinate legislative advocacy with members of AU’s other departments, including Communications, Field, Fundraising, and Litigation;
  • a commitment to AU’s mission that the separation of church and state is the key to religious freedom. 

At least two years of experience in either litigation or legislative advocacy is preferred, but not required. 

You should know the job will require:

  • long hours in a fast-paced atmosphere with tight deadlines when the state legislatures are in session (most are in session between January and May);
  • some travel, but most work will be from your office in D.C.; and
  • the willingness to speak to the press or at events on behalf of Americans United.

You should apply for this job if you:

  • believe that the separation of church and state is fundamental to the religious freedom of both people of faith and non-believers and you want to play a role in keeping it that way;
  • want a job that allows you to combine your love of conducting wonky legal analysis with your passion for politics;
  • are a strategic thinker, a strong writer and researcher, organized, and a reliable collaborative team member; and
  • want to join with a team that works hard and holds itself to high standards, but whose members really enjoy their work and working together and try to laugh as much as possible.

To apply, please submit a cover letter, resume, and writing sample. Please tell us where you saw this posting and send materials to Applications accepted until position is filled. No calls please.