Racial Economic Justice Staff 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 Racial Economic Justice Program seeks racial justice and expanded employment opportunities for people of color through the enforcement of civil rights laws. The Program advocates for and provides legal assistance to individuals and groups of employees who encounter barriers to employment, problems at work, or discriminatory hiring or employment practices because of their race. These job-related barriers result from centuries of overt, implicit, and structural exclusion because of race and color. The Program currently focuses on representing Black 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. 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 of all races.

Responsibilities

LAAW seeks a passionate community advocate as Staff Attorney for our Racial Economic Justice Program who will actively support the fight to achieve racial justice through the vigorous advancement and enforcement of workplace civil rights and employment laws. This is an exciting opportunity to Join a team of smart, devoted people working together – with autonomy, creativity, and a focus on professional development – to advance equity in the workplace. Partnering with the Program Director, the Staff 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 who encounter barriers to work because of their race 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 who encounter barriers to work because of their race.

This position requires knowledge of and ties to the communities served by the Program; experience in civil rights, race discrimination, and/or employment law; dedication to securing racial and economic justice; and the ability to thrive in a mission-driven environment that places a high value on collaboration both internally and externally, including with community partners. The Staff Attorney should be able to help address how the Black Lives Matter movement offers opportunities to advance our social justice agenda and should have enthusiasm for determining how lawyers can effectively partner with organizers and leverage policy to effect change. The Staff Attorney must possess relevant exposure to and direct experience in developing and implementing litigation and policy strategies that have advanced civil rights with an emphasis on the pretrial process including discovery and motion practice.

The Staff Attorney will directly support the Program’s litigation and policy advocacy including bringing targeted individual and class action employment-related cases and actively engage with community partners on policy campaigns. The Staff Attorney will assist in drafting legislation, amicus briefs, regulations and position papers that positively impact the lives of low-income workers and communities of color. In addition, the Staff Attorney may work across program areas and collaborate in litigating cases where intersectional issues arise.

Requirements

The Ideal Staff Attorney Candidate will bring the following experiences and qualifications:

● Track record supporting novel and successful litigation in California and/or Federal courts with at least 2-5 years in the civil rights community
● Personal experience working with impacted communities with deep commitment to racial equity and to incorporating racial equity principles into legal work
● Active California Bar membership or be willing to take the next California Bar Examination if currently a member of another state bar
● Excellent project management and analytical skills with demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects and cases simultaneously and with flexibility, often prioritizing competing deadlines
● 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
● Experience contributing to multi-pronged strategies using litigation, public education, and/or legislative and policy advocacy in response to serious problems facing impacted communities
● 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
● High degree of proficiency with Microsoft Word and legal office management software
● Willingness to supervise and mentor law students
● Willingness, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to conduct extensive remote work initially
● Willingness and ability to travel within California, and occasionally to other parts of the country (post-COVID), for legislative hearings, court proceedings, meetings, and conferences

The Ideal Staff Attorney Candidate will also bring the following leadership traits and core competencies:

● Ability to self-start and be flexible and collaborative
●Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and the ability to hold and foster difficult and necessaryconversations about sex, race, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, and otherprotected categories and identity-based issues
●Emotionally intelligent, tactful, diplomatic, and able to maintain confidentiality around sensitive issues
●Ability to communicate persuasively and generate excitement around a robust program
●Embodies a client-centered approach to lawyering
●Community-oriented with a focus on relationship-building and deep partnership
●Innovative with an ability to identify and seize new opportunities and unlock new ways to drive wins
●Strong attention to detail, analysis, and writing abilities

Compensation

Legal Aid at Work offers salaries that are competitive in the Bay Area public interest law community. 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 approximate salary range for the desired years of experience would be $66,950 – $77,050. Compensation in excess of this range may be considered for candidates with more than 5 years of experience. Exact salary placement at hire and salary advancement will be in accordance with the negotiated salary scale for this position, which can be found here.

Benefits include medical, dental and vision insurance, long-term disability and life insurance, 403(b) retirement plan with employer match, and generous paid vacation and holidays. LAAW pays for 100% of employee and family health insurance premiums.

Application Process

LAAW is partnering with Walker and Associates Consulting to facilitate this search – a Black- and woman-owned and -led strategic management consulting and search firm located in California. 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) two legal writing samples, and if your candidacy advances into the final interview stage (4) a list of three references will need to be provided at that time. All application materials should be submitted to the Racial Economic Justice Staff Attorney Search Committee via email at: [email protected]. Please use the subject line “Staff Attorney –Racial Economic Justice” and submit Microsoft Word or PDF files only (one combined PDF file is preferred).

Questions? Contact Jeannine Walker, Walker and Associates Consulting, at [email protected].

Legal Aid at Work is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse, multicultural work environment. As a social justice organization, our work 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 commits to develop and nurture an organizational culture that will dismantle systems of oppression and uplift the leadership of people from underrepresented communities and create a workplace that is truly equitable and inclusive. Our complete EEO policy statement and 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.