Interim Racial Economic Justice Attorney

Summary

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 Program:  The Racial Economic Justice Program empowers Black and Brown workers who are discriminated against and economically exploited. The Program protects and advances the civil rights of people of color in the workplace and beyond, with the aim of building a world with racial equity, solidarity, respect, dignity, and economic justice for all.  We seek systems change through policy advocacy, legal services, organizing, community education, and litigation. The Program currently focuses on representing Black and Brown workers, as well as formerly incarcerated job seekers and workers, primarily in California. However, the Program’s work is rooted in community needs and has broad impact – both within California and beyond. Although the work centers on employment and economic justice issues, because of the centrality of employment to so many aspects of the lives of clients and their communities, the impact of the work is often far reaching and can easily be linked to other racial justice issues.

The 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. We offer free, confidential advice through our Racial Economic Justice and California Central Valley helplines, represent individuals in low-wage jobs and industries, litigate race discrimination cases in state and federal court, organize and educate workers to fight against discrimination and vindicate their rights under Ban the Box and Fair Chance laws. We also advocate for systems and policy change to challenge structural racism and advance the rights of marginalized workers, including workers of color and persons with arrest or conviction records in California and beyond. 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 of all races.

Responsibilities

With oversight from the other attorneys in the Program, the Interim Attorney may be involved in all aspects of the Program’s activities including, but not limited to:

  1. Providing individualized counseling to intake callers and clients;
  2. Representing people with race discrimination and related claims in litigation and pre-litigation matters;
  3. Supervising and mentoring law students;
  4. Conducting outreach and education; and
  5. Advocating for policy and systems change for people of color and formerly incarcerated persons.

The Position:  Legal Aid at Work seeks an Interim Attorney in our Racial Economic Justice Program who will join our organization for a period of up to seven months in the fight to achieve justice for people of color through the vigorous advancement and enforcement of racial economic justice and employment and civil rights. The term will begin in March 2023.

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.

Requirements

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 3-7 years of relevant legal experience, but all qualified candidates are encouraged to apply. 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.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate:

  1. 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.
  2. Knowledge of federal and California employment law and court and administrative procedures.
  3. Demonstrated experience with investigation, development, initiation and litigation of law reform including discovery, motion practice, hearings, trials and appeals in California and/or Federal courts.
  4. Strong writing abilities.
  5. Excellent research and analytical skills.
  6. Ability to think creatively and strategically about novel legal issues leading to successful litigation.
  7. 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.
  8. Commitment to racial economic justice work and incorporating racial economic justice principles into legal work.
  9. Commitment to empowering workers and students and having a client centered approach to lawyering.
  10. Ability to be responsive to/led by community needs and partnerships with community organizations.
  11. Ability to manage multiple projects and cases simultaneously and with flexibility; Ability to prioritize competing deadlines.
  12. Ability to self-start and stay motivated.
  13. Ability to use tact and diplomacy when dealing with sensitive issues and to maintain confidentiality.
  14. 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.
  15. Experience working with a racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse teams and client communities.
  16. Strong interpersonal skills, initiative, leadership, and organizational abilities.
  17. Willingness to supervise and mentor law students.
  18. Willingness and ability to travel within California, and occasionally to other parts of the country for litigation, speaking events, meetings, and conferences.

Compensation

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.

Application Process

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 must be submitted to:

Interim Racial Economic Justice Program Attorney Search Committee

Email:  [email protected]

Legal Aid at Work is committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. LAAW is an equal opportunity, fair chance, and affirmative action employer. Our complete EEO and DEI statements as well as further information concerning the organization and its programs can be found at www.legalaidatwork.org. Pursuant to the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance, Legal Aid at Work will consider qualified applicants with arrest and conviction records for employment.