Wage Protection Program Director
Legal Aid at Work (LAAW) enforces and expands the employment and civil rights of low-wage workers, their families, and communities by educating about legal rights, engaging legal representation and support, and advocating for policy reforms. LAAW has seven core program areas: (1) Wage Protection; (2) Racial Economic Justice; (3) Disability Rights; (4) Gender Equity & LGBT Rights; (5) Work & Family; (6) National Origin and Immigrants’ Rights; and (7) Community Legal Services.
Through these programs, we address nearly all issues that arise on the job. Our services include:
- Providing free, individualized legal advice and counsel throughout California to thousands of low wage workers,
- Pursuing targeted impact litigation and strategic enforcement actions to strengthen and clarify the law,
- Conducting community outreach and education for workers, their advocates, and health and social service providers, and
- Advocating for laws, regulations, and policies at the local, state, and federal levels to strengthen civil and workplace rights.
The Wage Protection Program aims to help build a just economy where all workers are empowered to receive fair wages and dignified workplaces through legal representation and advocacy.
The Wage Protection Program engages in a range of advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers. Among other things, it:
- Litigates wage and hour, retaliation, and labor trafficking cases in state and federal court;
- Represents clients in proceedings before the California Labor Commissioner’s Office and other administrative fora;
- Provides training and assistance to worker centers and community partners throughout California;
- Supervises law students and volunteer attorneys at wage claim clinics to assist individuals in filing wage claims; and
- Engages in state and local policy advocacy to improve protections for low wage workers; and
- Assists claimants with Unemployment Insurance appeals.
The Wage Protection Program is currently staffed by three attorneys who work full-time with the program, along with a post-graduate legal fellow assigned to the program and support from LAAW’s team of paralegals.
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 attorneys on the team,
- Overseeing the Program’s litigation docket, including class actions, representative actions, individual actions, and amicus work;
- Overseeing the Program’s collaborations with worker centers and other community partners;
- Overseeing the Program’s direct services work, including limited and full legal representation in administrative hearings and the Program’s clinics;
- 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 be able to:
- Have a demonstrated track record (8+ years preferred) of litigation and trial experience, preferably in wage and hour law
- Demonstrate significant community-based legal advocacy around workers’ rights issues
- 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;
- Undertake projects on one’s own initiative;
- Think creatively about legal and non-legal advocacy that supports the Program’s mission;
- Think strategically about the role of a legal nonprofit in supporting the broader labor movement and grassroots organizing efforts;
- Develop multi-pronged strategies using litigation, public education, and legislative and policy advocacy in response to serious problems facing low-wage workers;
- Possess a commitment to racial equity work and incorporating racial equity principles into legal work; and travel as necessary within California and 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.
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 (which is also eligible for a Program Director bonus) can be found here: https://www.ifpte20.org/federal-legal-professionals/legal-aid/.
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, and (3) two legal writing samples. If your candidacy advances to the final round, you will be asked to provide a list of four references, including one direct supervisor and one direct supervisee (please indicate your relationship to each reference).
All application materials should be submitted to Wage Protection Program Director Search Committee; email: [email protected].