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Director (Legal Advocacy Unit)



The Director leads the DRC Legal Advocacy Unit (LAU). The LAU consists of eight statewide Practice Groups that represent clients in individual and systemic impact litigation including administrative hearings, short-term legal advice, investigation of abuse and neglect, and legal reform efforts. The LAU’s work is funded by federal protection and advocacy system grants. The Director is responsible for the strategic direction and effectiveness of the LAU and ensures that the LAU has the staff and tools to provide high quality legal services including innovative systemic advocacy and litigation to advocate for equal opportunity and access in all aspects of life for people with disabilities. The LAU Director represents the LAU in statewide and national advocacy circles, and promotes a positive work environment and teambuilding within the LAU and between other DRC programs.

The LAU Director is a member of the DRC Leadership Team, which is responsible for the strategic direction and overall effectiveness of the entire agency. The LAU Director reports to the Executive Director. This position has regular interaction with the Board of Directors, including staffing a Board Committee. Travel to meet with LAU staff in other offices, collaborations with partners and stakeholders, and at Board meetings is required.

DRC provides reasonable disability accommodations to enable qualified individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. LAU Director essential functions include:

-      Develop and implement professional development protocols to establish a succession plan through all levels of the LAU.
-      Develop and implement substantive and skills-based training and growth opportunities for staff.
-      Represent the LAU in DRC Leadership Team Meetings
-      Represent the LAU with outside organizations and collaborators
-      Maintain effective working relationships with funders, government agencies, other legal services programs, private bar and disability constituency groups
-      Work with other regional, statewide, and national advocacy groups in order to maximize DRC’s effectiveness
-      Attend Board meetings and prepare and report on Practice Group work
-      Staff one or more Board Committees, e.g. Program and Planning

Litigation/Advocacy Oversight
-      Maintain a proficient understanding of litigation and systemic advocacy by communicating and meeting with Litigation Counsel, Managing Attorneys, Practice Groups and groups handling policy issues as appropriate.

Organizational Planning
-      Lead development of Advocacy Plan and annual advocacy objectives
-      Assist in developing and implementing agency-wide advocacy strategies
-      Development of grant deliverables and budgets
-      Coordinate with other teams across the agency about legislative, policy and media strategies

-      Attend DRC Leadership and DRC  Management Team meetings
-      Prepare and monitor LAU budgets
-      Prepare and monitor advocacy and litigation budgets
-      Interface with IT on data collection and other legal management systems
-      Manage client grievances
-      Primary staff for Board Program and Planning Committee
-      Oversee LAU risk management related to professional liability
-      Serve as internal Ethics Counsel

Grant Reporting
-       Assist Senior Managing Attorneys with Program Performance Reports (PPRs), Equal Access & Trust Fund (EA/TF) Applications and Reports; Ensure preparation of quarterly reports; Conduct QA Reviews of required data
-      Coordinate and monitor LAU compliance with DRC, funder and regulatory requirements.
-      Update and revise Advocacy Manual as needed

This position directly supervises two Senior Managing Attorneys, a Senior Litigation Counsel, an Executive Assistant, and other staff as assigned, and leads a unit of over 125 attorneys, advocates, and support staff.

The position carries out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the agency's policies and applicable laws. DRC supervisors interview, hire and train employees, plan, assign, and direct work; regularly evaluate performance and provide ongoing feedback; work with HR to take correction actions when needed; address complaints and resolve problems; conduct performance evaluations following standard processes and within required timeframes; review and approve timesheets, travel requests, and expense reimbursements within required timeframes.

SALARY RANGE (Depending on Experience):  $122,675 – $164,396/annual
Location: Sacramento (preferred), Los Angeles, Oakland or San Diego


Education and Experience
J.D. Degree and California State Bar membership; Ten years experience as an attorney directly representing clients, including litigation experience, with at least four years in public interest or civil rights.  Legal clerkships or externships may be counted as up to one year of litigation experience.
-      Seven years progressively responsible experience in administration and management of a complex legal or human service organization, including employee management, fiscal management, and management of computer systems.
-      Demonstrated effective interpersonal skills, conflict resolution and team building skills
-      Effective communication skills sufficient to represent clients in legal procedures, to actively promote legal, policy and legislative developments at state and local government levels, and to give public presentations, conduct trainings, and do community outreach.
-      Demonstrated experience and ability to work effectively with a variety of organizations and individuals with diverse perspectives, including persons with disabilities, advocacy groups, and the public.
-      Demonstrated experience working with and providing support to boards of directors and/or similar task forces and committees.
-      Demonstrated ability and experience in writing grants or other funding proposals.
-      Demonstrated leadership in litigation or public policy advocacy, including the ability to head task forces, litigation or advocacy teams.
-      Experience working with or sensitivity to individuals from language and ethnic distinct communities.

-      Knowledge of laws, rights, and services as they pertain to people with disabilities in California, and/or direct representation of people with disabilities.
-      Experience managing a legal services or other public interest law program.
-      Ability to read, write and speak Spanish or an Asian language, or ability to communicate using American Sign Language, with sufficient fluency to do client intakes and conduct trainings.
-      Experience working with one or more of the following: private bar, funders, governmental agencies, or other advocacy groups.
-      Experience in the disability rights movement and/or extensive contacts in the disability community.
-      Experience with ethnic or language distinct communities and/or extensive contacts in ethnic/language distinct communities.
-      Familiarity and/or extensive contacts with one or more of the following: homelessness, criminal justice, substance abuse or LGBTI communities.
-      Familiarity with requirements governing recipients of federal and state bar grants.
-      Experience working in a nonprofit organization.
-      Knowledge of employment law.
-      Experience in increasing organizational cultural competence and/or disability competence.

The competencies below represent the knowledge, skills, behaviors and/or abilities required to be successful at DRC, with or without disability related reasonable accommodations.

Ability to develop systemic advocacy litigation cases. Ability to develop public policy. Ability to represent DRC approved positions through the legislative process.

Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints. Ability to write using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to negotiate to serve the interest of the client or reconcile divergent interest and opinions. Ability to make effective and persuasive presentations on controversial or complex topics to governmental entities, facility leadership, public groups/officials, and/or boards of directors.

Critical Thinking
Ability to apply principles of logical thinking to a wide range of complex problems. Ability to interpret and synthesize complex or diverse information, conduct research and analyses of pertinent legal authority, , and develop creative solutions. Sees relationships between information in varied forms and from varied sources. Is proficient at nuance and proactively seeks multiple options tailored to the specifics of each situation. Ability to navigate highly ambiguous situations, reaching sound conclusions that balance the needs of many stakeholders.

Diversity & Inclusion
Strives to eliminate barriers to diversity and inclusion; ensures that new barriers are not built. Promotes the creation of shared mission, vision, and values, and uses those principles to guide actions.

Relationship Building
Ability to harness, develop, and manage key relationships so stakeholders view DRC with pride and respect. Ability to serve as the main point of contact when issues arise; manage disputes or conflicts; and effectively share ideas in group discussions. Ability to interact with others within and outside of DRC to solve problems effectively. Ability to seek and provide unique/different perspectives to and from coworkers and community partners. Ability to manage peoples’ expectations. Celebrates workplace success and achievement.

Ability to travel to various DRC offices, board meetings, trainings, activities with external partners, or outreach events up to 25% of the time.

Work is done in a typical office environment, which includes regular sitting, use of a computer, written and verbal communication through a computer. May occasionally require standing, stooping, kneeling, and crouching primarily related to filing and processing paperwork. May occasionally encounter lifting, as exampled by adding paper to a copy machine.

To Apply: 

If you are interested in becoming a part of DRC, please submit the following:
1. Online Disability Rights California Application Form
2. Your resume
3. Detailed cover letter.
4. Sample of legal writing (i.e., a legal argument, letter or analysis) consisting of no more than 10 pages of text.

At Disability Rights California, we value diversity among our employees because unique perspectives allow us to effectively serve Californians with disabilities from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age (over 40), Disability (mental and physical), sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, military and veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.

Disability Rights California endorses and supports the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are applicants or employees who need accommodations.

If you require an accommodation due to a disability to complete this application OR you are experiencing issues submitting your application and accompanying materials please e-mail

DEADLINE: Open until filled. Applications should be received by April 15, 2019, to be considered for the first round of interviews.

Click Here to Apply.


Submission Deadline: 
April 15, 2019
Organization Information: 
Disability Rights California
1831 K Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
United States
Phone: 916-650-5910