Disability Rights Staff Attorney
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; and (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 referral 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.
With oversight from the Program Director, the Staff Attorney may be involved in all aspects of the Program’s activities including, but not limited to:
- Providing individualized counseling to intake callers and clients;
- Participating in the Workers’ Rights Disability Law Clinic;
- Representing people with disabilities in litigation and pre-litigation matters;
- Supervising and mentoring law students;
- Conducting outreach and education; and
Advocating for policy and systems change for people with disabilities.
Legal Aid at Work seeks a Staff Attorney in our Disability Rights Program who will join our organization in the fight to achieve justice for people with disabilities through the vigorous advancement and enforcement of disability rights and employment laws. The Disability Rights Program advocates for and with people with disabilities who encounter barriers on the job, at school and in the community.
This position requires a dedicated civil rights attorney who would thrive in a mission-driven environment that places a high value on collaboration both internally and externally with community partners. Candidates must also possess demonstrated interest in developing and implementing litigation, community organizing and policy strategies that have advanced civil rights.
Candidates must be active members of the California Bar or be willing to take the next California Bar Examination if currently a member of another state bar. The candidate must possess a demonstrated commitment to LAAW’s mission. The ideal candidate will have at least 2-5 years of relevant legal experience, but all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. Fluency in Spanish, or other commonly spoken languages from our client communities, is strongly preferred. 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.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate:
- 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.
- Knowledge of and/or interest in federal and California employment and disability law and court and administrative procedures
- Experience with investigation, development, initiation and litigation of law reform and other high-impact cases, including discovery, motion practice, hearings, trials and appeals in California and/or Federal courts.
- Strong writing abilities.
- Excellent research and analytical skills.
- Ability to think creatively and strategically about novel legal issues leading to successful litigation.
- Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion and the ability to hold and foster difficult and necessary conversations about sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and other protected categories.
- Commitment to disability rights work and incorporating disability justice principles into legal work.
- Commitment to empowering workers and students and having a client centered approach to lawyering.
- Ability to be responsive to/led by community needs and partnerships with community organizations.
- Ability to manage multiple projects and cases simultaneously and with flexibility; Ability to prioritize competing deadlines.
- Ability to self-start and stay motivated.
- Ability to use tact and diplomacy when dealing with sensitive issues and to maintain confidentiality.
- Ability to collaborate effectively with other staff at Legal Aid at Work and a wide range of external stakeholders including outside co-counsel, government agencies, and community-based organizations and service providers.
- Experience working with a racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse teams and client communities.
- Strong interpersonal skills, initiative, leadership, and organizational abilities.
- Willingness to supervise and mentor law students.
- Willingness and ability to travel within California, and occasionally to other parts of the country for litigation, speaking events, meetings, and conferences.
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. 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.
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 Staff Attorney Search Committee
Email: [email protected]