Job Posting – Litigation Director
The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks a full-time Litigation Director. They will grow LAC’s litigation docket and integrate LAC’s litigation into its multi-dimensional strategy in close collaboration with other staff. This strategy encompasses direct legal services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and education that prioritizes achieving racial justice and equity and engaging directly impacted communities.
The Litigation Director will report to the Vice President of Legal Advocacy. The position is based in New York City but is currently remote due to COVID-19. This position will include the opportunity to work some of the time remotely, even after full re-opening.
About the Organization: LAC uses legal and policy strategies to fight discrimination, build health equity, and restore opportunities for people with criminal records, substance use disorders, and HIV or AIDS. With offices in New York City and Washington, DC, LAC uses a multi-faceted approach to effectuate its mission and create systemic change, including impact litigation, legal services, education, and policy advocacy.
For nearly 50 years, LAC has fought to dismantle systemic barriers that perpetuate racial disparities
in health, justice, and opportunities. LAC’s litigation and legal services program has established cutting-edge legal precedents. We provide legal services that help to date tens of thousands of individuals with conviction, arrest records, substance use disorders, or HIV/AIDS to overcome discrimination and privacy violations in various walks of life, including employment, housing, education, and health care. LAC’s recent litigation has focused on expanding access to addiction medication in the criminal legal system, challenging criminal conviction-related employment discrimination and illegal background screening, and vindicating HIV privacy rights. (Read about our impact litigation and legal services.) LAC’s groundbreaking reports presenting new legal theories to challenge the denial of substance use disorder care have also been instrumental in changing systems. (Read our latest report on hospitals’ emergency department’s legal obligations to address substance use disorders – an area for future litigation.)
LAC’s litigation and legal services team of seven attorneys, three paralegals, and administrative staff serves over 1,500 people annually. Together with other staff, they also engage in a robust education and technical assistance program that reaches thousands more. These programs directly inform – and are informed by –LAC’s policy advocacy and special projects, such as No Health = No Justice, the National National HIRE Network, Clean Slate NY, and parity@10.
- Develop, conduct, and lead cutting-edge individual and class action litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies, including through amicus briefs. In addition, develop and maintain relationships with pro bono and other co-counsel (e.g., private plaintiff-side firms and public interest groups).
- Help to continually evolve and direct the implementation of the strategic vision for litigation and legal services as a critical complement to policy strategies; that is a coordinated process with the Vice President of Legal Advocacy and Vice President for Health Initiatives.
- Supervise a Staff Attorney, and in 2022, help to create a new staff attorney position that the Litigation Director will supervise; also will supervise some of the cases of two other attorneys and a legal fellow.
- Participate in the “attorney on-call” rotation, which entails four attorneys alternating to provide guidance to paralegals about serving clients and cultivating litigation opportunities; Litigation Director will work closely with Senior Staff Attorney for Legal Services to ensure alignment of paralegal services with litigation goals.
- Collaborate with other legal services providers, plaintiffs’ attorneys, and advocacy groups by participating in task forces and coalitions, making presentations, and attending conferences.
- Manage the updating and implementation of litigation policies and procedures.
- Provide training to health and social service providers, lawyers, and others working in the criminal legal and health fields and serving as a public thought leader on the issues central to LAC’s litigation.
- Engage in the broader advocacy work related to LAC’s litigation and legal services by working with the policy and communications teams to help shape LAC’s policy agenda, conduct limited policy advocacy, and serve as a media spokesperson.
- Participate in LAC’s management team, which works to advance key organizational priorities and provide input to LAC’s executive team.
- Strategize with the Vice President of Legal Advocacy, the development department, and other managers on funding for litigation and legal services, including through attorneys’ fee awards, cy pres awards, and institutional sources.
- 10+ years of experience conducting all aspects of civil trial and appellate litigation, including case development and filing, discovery, evidentiary proceedings, appeals, and settlements, with a strong background in civil rights, public interest law, and impact litigation
- Possess strong legal skills and the ability to analyze system-level problems and develop creative solutions using legal, policy, educational, and media strategies
- Demonstrated ability to inspire, lead and support the growth and development of a team of attorneys
- Must have a proven track record of developing and implementing a vision and strategy for litigation
- Excellent written and oral communication and advocacy skills
- Exceptional interpersonal skills and ability to work cooperatively within LAC and network effectively with and engage external stakeholders, including government officials, service providers, lawyers, advocates, community partners, and directly impacted individuals
- Proven ability to creatively problem-solve while maintaining a sense of humor
- Prior work with underrepresented communities, ideally people living with HIV, substance use disorders, or criminal legal system involvement
- Knowledge of laws and issues related to employment, disability rights, race discrimination, insurance discrimination, or the criminal legal system
- Demonstrated commitment to racial justice and equity
- Passion for dismantling barriers to re-entry, ending mass incarceration, promoting a public health approach to addiction, securing and enforcing privacy rights, and promoting racial and economic justice
- JD and admission to New York State Bar
- Experience speaking publicly and to the media
- Experience working in a high-volume direct legal services practice
- Experience engaging directly impacted communities as partners in a litigation and legal services program
- Spanish language fluency
Compensation and Benefits: Salary is commensurate with experience. We offer excellent benefits, including medical insurance, a 403(b) plan with employer contribution.
The Legal Action Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly encouraged to apply.