Staff/Senior Staff Attorney, National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program
The National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program advocates for the workplace rights of persons who face discrimination because of their national origin, ethnicity, immigrant status, or the languages they speak. The Program carries out its mission through litigation, limited representation, policy work and community education.
In its litigation efforts, the Program has taken on cases that have resulted in precedent-setting victories for immigrant workers who have confronted retaliation for asserting their workplace rights, who have sought the full protections of the law despite their immigration status, and who have been required to suppress central aspects of their identities as a condition of employment. To these ends, the Program sues to end and remedy employer practices that facially appear even-handed but, in reality, disproportionately impact immigrant workers and workers of color.
In addition to bringing cases in federal and state court, the National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program works to achieve progress through legislative action, and by partnering with governmental agencies to make policy changes that strengthen and expand the rights of immigrant workers and workers of color. The Program also conducts “know your rights” trainings for workers, nonprofit organizations and social service providers, and creates educational materials designed for use by workers and their advocates. Through the Program’s Language Rights Helpline, persons can receive free information and advice if they experience language-based discrimination in the workplace.
Legal Aid at Work (LAAW) enforces and expands the employment and civil rights of low-wage workers, their families and communities by providing its clients with legal advice and representation before administrative agencies and the courts, engaging in outreach and education, and advocating for policy reforms that advance social justice for those communities.
LAAW has seven core program areas: (1) National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights; (2) Racial Economic Justice; (3) Gender Equity & LGBTQ Rights; (4) Wage Protection; (5) Work & Family; (6) Disability 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 impact, law reform, and enforcement litigation to solidify and expand the law;
- Conducts community outreach and education for workers, their families and their advocates; and
- Advocates for laws, regulations and policies at the local, state and national levels to strengthen their 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 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 workplaces that are truly equitable and inclusive. As such, we strongly encourage candidates from underrepresented communities to apply.
Legal Aid at Work seeks a Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney in its National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program who will engage in all aspects of its work advocating for the rights of low-wage immigrant workers and workers of color, including litigation in federal and state courts, limited direct services, community education, and legislative and other policy advocacy. With regards to litigation, the Staff/Senior Staff Attorney will work on cases from intake and initial fact investigation through complaint drafting, motion practice, discovery, trial and appellate work. The Staff/Senior Staff Attorney may also assist in litigating cases or in other forms of advocacy in other LAAW program areas.
This position requires a dedicated civil rights and social justice attorney who will thrive in a mission-driven environment that highly values collaboration both internally and externally with community partners. A demonstrated commitment to the rights of immigrant workers is a prerequisite. Candidates must also have a strong interest in developing and undertaking litigation and policy strategies, and collaborating with community allies.
With support from and in collaboration with the Program Director, the Staff/Senior Staff Attorney will be involved in all aspects of the Program’s activities, including but not limited to:
- Providing individualized counseling to callers and clients at the intake stage;
- Representing immigrant workers and workers of color in litigation and pre-litigation matters;
- Supervising and mentoring law students;
- Conducting outreach and education; and
- Advocating for policy and systems change for immigrant workers and workers of color, which may include, for example, testifying at hearings, drafting bill language, providing technical assistance to partners, and working in coalition with other organizations to effectuate administrative policy reforms
Candidates must be active members of the California Bar or, if currently members of another state bar, be willing to take the next California Bar Examination. The candidate must possess a demonstrated commitment to LAAW’s mission and that of the National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program. Candidates should have 3 to 10 years of relevant legal experience. Fluency in Spanish 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.
The ideal candidate will demonstrate:
- Passion for the central role 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 ability to become familiar with federal and California employment law and court 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 federal and/or California courts.
- Excellent writing abilities.
- Excellent research and analytical skills.
- Excellent communication 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 immigrants’ rights work and incorporating justice principles into legal work.
- Commitment to empowering workers 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, and to prioritize competing deadlines.
- Ability to self-start and take initiative on cases and projects.
- 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 co-counsel, government agencies, and community-based organizations and service providers.
- Experience working with racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse teams and client communities and demonstrated skill and self-awareness in how to effectively connect with clients and communities across cultural differences.
- Strong interpersonal skills, initiative, leadership, and organizational abilities.
- Willingness and ability to supervise and mentor law students.
- Willingness and ability to travel within California, and elsewhere as appropriate, 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. 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. The salary steps for candidates between 3 and 10 years of experience will fall between $70,400 and $94,250. If a candidate with 8 or more years of experience is offered the position, they will be hired on as a Senior Staff Attorney.
All 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) a résumé, (3) at least two legal writing samples, and (4) three professional references, including from at least one direct supervisor and one direct supervisee, (please indicate your relationship to each reference). All application materials should be submitted to:
National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights Program Staff Attorney Search Committee Email: [email protected]