Founded in 2003, the Transgender Legal Defense & Educational Fund (TLDEF) is a national organization committed to advancing justice and equity for transgender and non-binary people through impact litigation, direct legal services, advocacy, and public education. TLDEF’s Legal Programs Department currently include the Impact Litigation Project, Name Change Project, and Trans Health Project. This year TLDEF has worked with a number of the nation’s largest insurers to successfully obtain removal of transgender health exclusions covering millions of members nationwide. We have brought Miami-Dade County to the negotiating table to end abuses against transgender detainees in their jail system, building on our 2020 success obtaining one of the nation’s strongest jail policies to protect transgender inmates in New York. We have also succeeded in improving court rules governing name changes in several states. And we’re just getting started. This summer, TLDEF will kick off a strategic planning process to sharpen its focus and guide its future development and growth.
TLDEF seeks an organized, adaptive, and motivated Litigation Staff Attorney to join its growing Legal Programs Department focused on providing immediate, comprehensive, and lasting legal change for transgender and non-binary people, particularly those most pushed to the margins. Reporting to TLDEF’s Senior Counsel, the Staff Attorney will focus primarily on TLDEF’s impact litigation program but will also have opportunities to participate in TLDEF’s policy advocacy and public education work.
- Participate in all phases of impact litigation, including development and investigation, pleadings, motion practice, discovery, trials, appeals, and settlement negotiations;
- Investigate new cases, including developing relationships with potential clients and experts, reviewing records, drafting FOIL requests, and writing demand letters;
- Participate in administrative matters undertaken as an exhaustion pre-condition to litigation;
- Participate in the drafting of amicus briefs for cases relevant to TLDEF’s strategic objectives;
- Assist with alternative dispute resolution and preparing matters to transition into litigation as a part of TLDEF’s Trans Health Project;
- Work with co-counsel in litigation matters, with an emphasis on engaging law firms as a part of TLDEF’s substantial pro bono network;
- Ensure participation of state and local partners in all aspects of our work, including strategy, communications and public education, providing evidence in the form of expert and lay testimony, and developing administrative records;
- Contribute to the development of legal strategy, including the selection and development of new cases;
- Actively cultivate and steward relationships with movement leaders, lawyers, academic experts, and potential clients;
- Establish and participate in local, statewide, and national coalitions that advance TLDEF’s legal advocacy;
- Participate in the drafting of comments and engage in other advocacy processes with state and federal regulatory and administrative agencies in TLDEF’s areas of strategic interest and expertise;
- Draft legal and policy resources for a range of external audiences, such as “Know Your Rights” content, template legal documents, legal memos, and advocacy materials;
- Serve as a spokesperson by participating in press interviews and representing TLDEF at conferences, panels, convenings, and other related gatherings as needed;
- Supervise interns and potentially other paralegal and early-career legal professionals;
- Manage intakes for the impact litigation program;
- Maintain detailed case and client records.
- Contribute to the Legal Programs Department by participating in hiring processes and consulting on department policies, procedures, and infrastructure;
- Assist the Development and Communications Departments by providing updates about TLDEF’s strategies and progress;
- Assist the Development Department with data collection for donor and funder proposal development and reporting;
- Other duties as assigned, including special projects as needed.
REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
- Strong belief in TLDEF’s mission and the people who are driving the work forward, including an intersectional commitment to social, racial, economic, disability, and gender justice.
- License to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction; or a degree (J.D. or L.L.M.) from an accredited U.S. law school and registered to take the bar exam in 2021.
- Ability to become licensed in New York State if currently licensed in another U.S. jurisdiction.
- Knowledge of emergent and current issues impacting transgender and nonbinary people.
- Strong legal research, analysis, writing, and public speaking skills.
- Strong interpersonal communication skills that enable you to develop positive relationships with colleagues, legal clients, pro bono partners, and movement leaders.
- Competency at working respectfully and effectively with transgender and nonbinary people of color, those living with disabilities, and those who are living on a low-to-no income.
- Proficiency with legal research tools, such as Casetext or Westlaw.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office applications especially Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint and collaborative tools, such as Slack, Asana, and Zoom.
- Ability to keep clear and detailed records, maintain consistent communication, manage multiple tasks and relationships at once, and strong time management.
- Attention to detail.
- Ability to occasionally travel in the U.S. and work outside normal office hours including some evenings and weekends.
PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS AND SKILLS
- Professional experience with litigation (especially briefing, discovery, and dispositive motion practice).
- Professional, volunteer, or personal experience with legal or policy advocacy relating to transgender and nonbinary equality; conditions of confinement; health care access; police misconduct; employment discrimination; or identity documents.
- Project management experience.
- Proficiency with case management software.
- Fluency or proficiency in Spanish or another language other than English.
- Curious. You possess a strong desire to learn new skills and gain exposure to new experiences. You actively seek out opportunities to continuously improve and deepen your expertise.
- Flexible. You enjoy contributing to several projects and managing tasks that may require you to shift gears at a moment’s notice. You have what it takes to thrive in a fast-paced environment and with a highly committed team of attorneys and legal staff.
- Humble. You treat all stakeholders with dignity, respect, and compassion ranging from legal clients, pro bono partners, activists, and supporters.
- Responsible. You set high standards for your work and proudly take ownership of your responsibilities. You are dependable and trustworthy to carry out your work either on your own or in collaboration with others. You understand that you have been entrusted to create impact for and with transgender and nonbinary communities.
- Passionate. You possess an energetic commitment for TLDEF’s mission and the people who are driving the work forward. You are motivated to serve and contribute to a national movement with rapidly evolving needs.
Since last year, TLDEF’s office has remained closed and all work travel suspended. TLDEF employees currently work from home and only visit the office when necessary. The office is expected to re-open in the early Fall, but employees continue to temporarily work remote.
To ensure the health and safety of TLDEF employees and job applicants, all interviews will be conducted either by phone or video conference.
Salary is $65,000-$75,000, depending on experience. TLDEF offers a robust benefits package that includes 100% employer paid medical, vision, dental, and life insurance; employer contributions to 401(k) retirement plan; 15 paid holidays; generous paid time off; sick time; healthcare flex spending account; and pre-tax commuter benefits.
Submit a compelling cover letter; resume or C.V.; and two legal writing samples of no more than 20 double-spaced pages each. Submissions without all required materials will not be considered. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls or emails, please.
TLDEF is an equal opportunity employer. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, queer, and intersex people; women; immigrants; people with disabilities, including those living with HIV; formerly incarcerated people; and people with lived experiences of poverty are strongly encouraged to apply.