Disability Rights Program Director
Legal Aid at Work (LAAW) enforces and expands the employment and civil rights of low-wage workers, their families, and communities by engaging in outreach and education, providing clients with legal advice and representation, and advocating for policy reforms.
LAAW has seven core program areas:
(1) Disability Rights
(2) Racial Economic Justice
(3) Gender Equity & LGBTQ Rights
(4) Wage Protection
(5) Work & Family
(6) National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights
(7) Community Legal Services
Through these programs, LAAW:
- Provides free, individualized legal advice and counsel throughout California to thousands of low-income workers;
- Pursues targeted enforcement and impact litigation to strengthen and clarify the law;
- Conducts community outreach and education for workers, their advocates, their families, and their health and social service providers; and
- Advocates for laws, regulations, and policies at the local, state, and national levels to strengthen civil and workplace rights.
As a social justice organization, Legal Aid at Work’s mission is rooted in the firm belief that all people deserve respect, dignity, and self-determination at work, at school, and in their communities. Structural and systemic racism—with the oppression of Black and Indigenous people at its core—and other forms of injustice shape the society and the civic, political, and legal systems in which we work and live. Legal Aid at Work is committed to developing and nurturing an organizational culture that will dismantle systems of oppression, uplift people from underrepresented communities, and create a workplace that is truly equitable and inclusive. As such, we strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented communities to apply.
The Disability Rights Program serves hundreds of clients a year providing advice and referrals and representing them in efforts to resolve disputes directly with employers and at the administrative level with state and federal agencies. The Program has an active litigation docket, bringing individual and class actions in state and federal court. The team also provides technical assistance to community partners; engages in community education and works in coalition with other legal aid organizations to advance the rights of people with disabilities.
The Disability Rights Program advocates for and with people with disabilities who encounter barriers on the job. Among other things, it:
- Represents people with disabilities in litigation and pre-litigation matters;
- Provides individualized counseling to intake callers and clients;
- Supervises and mentors law students at the Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinic to provide legal advice and referrals for workers and job seekers with disabilities;
- Conducts outreach and education to promote equality and reasonable accommodation in the workplace, and;
- Advocates for policy and systems change for people with disabilities.
The Program Director will oversee all aspects of the Program’s activities. The Director is responsible for:
- Developing strategy for the Program, in conjunction with the other members of the Disability Rights team and LAAW management, that articulates the Program’s goals and ensures that they align with those of the broader organization;
- Overseeing the Program’s litigation docket, including class actions, representative actions, individual actions, and amicus work, and articulating a clear strategy around which cases it selects for litigation and which it does not;
- Overseeing the Program’s collaborations with community partners and defining the Program’s overall approach to community partnerships;
- Overseeing the Program’s direct services work, including any clinics and helplines, and working with other Program units at LAAW to ensure that all direct services work centers the needs of clients and furthers the goals of the broader organization;
- Overseeing Program administration, including preparing the Program budget, coordinating Program projects, supervising Program attorneys and staff, hiring and ensuring supervising of law student externs, and assisting with the preparation of grant applications and reports.
The Program Director position requires the Director to wear multiple hats: attorney, colleague, coordinator, leader, and mentor. Because the Program engages in a wide breadth of litigation and other legal advocacy, and interacts with a broad range of stakeholders, the ideal candidate would possess a wide range of skills and have a breadth of experiences.
The ideal Program Director will:
- Have a demonstrated passion for the central role that the workplace plays in our society—as an essential source of economic and social support; as a space where people from diverse backgrounds interact; as a potential source of identity, dignity, and respect.
- Have an established track record (8+ years preferred) of litigation and trial experience; possess knowledge of Federal and/or California employment and disability laws and court and administrative procedures.
- Demonstrate the ability to think creatively and strategically about novel legal issues in disability rights work leading to successful litigation and incorporating disability justice principles into legal work.
- Work collaboratively on a small team of attorneys and paralegals.
- Manage multiple projects simultaneously, and prioritize competing deadlines.
- Support colleagues and team members with projects/cases, and play an advisory role on team members’ projects/cases.
- Provide mentorship and guidance to team members to promote the development of team members’ skills and leadership capacities.
- Investigate, develop, initiate and litigate enforcement and impact cases.
- Collaborate with other attorneys at Legal Aid at Work, outside co-counsel, and community-based organizations.
- Have the ability to self-start and undertake projects on one’s own initiative.
- Think creatively about legal and non-legal advocacy that supports the Program’s mission.
- Develop multi-pronged strategies using litigation, public education, and legislative and policy advocacy in response to serious problems facing workers with disabilities and tie those strategies in with those of the broader organization.
- Possess a commitment to racial equity work and incorporating racial equity principles into their legal work.
- Willingness and ability to travel within California, and occasionally to other parts of the country for litigation, speaking events, meetings, and conferences.
Candidates should have a J.D. from an accredited law school. Candidates must also be active members of the California State Bar or be willing to take the next California Bar Examination if currently a member of another state bar. Fluency in Spanish, or other commonly spoken languages from our client communities, is strongly preferred. While LAAW maintains an office in San Francisco, candidates may be based anywhere in the state of California. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, extensive remote work will be required initially. Strong preference will be given to applicants with personal or professional experience working with impacted communities.
Legal Aid at Work offers salaries that are competitive in the Bay Area public interest law community. Benefits include health plans, long-term disability and life insurance, 403(b) retirement plan with employer match and contribution, and generous paid vacation and holidays. There is a language bonus for bilingual client-facing staff members. As a unionized organization, LAAW believes in the importance of employees organizing to improve their working conditions. This position is included in the bargaining unit represented by ESC Local 20. The current negotiated salary scale for the position can be found here.
We strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented communities to apply. Applications must include (1) a cover letter explaining your interest in this position and the ways in which you satisfy the qualifications specified above, (2) résumé, (3) one legal writing sample, and (4) three professional references, including one direct supervisor and one direct supervisee, if applicable (please indicate your relationship to each reference). All application materials should be submitted to:
Disability Rights Program Director Search Committee
Email: [email protected]