Senior Attorney (Remote-Must live in Calif)
Location: Remote (Must live in California), Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, Los Angeles, Ontario or San Diego
SALARY RANGE (Depending on Experience): $89,435 - $130,958 annually
We base salary and position offers on experience and an internal equity analysis.
Employment Status: Exempt; Regular; Full time (37.5 hrs)
EXCELLENT BENEFITS including 8% 401k Match, a LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) that pays up to $300 per month depending on salary and debt, a language differential up to $250/mo. Health (HMO and PPO options), dental, vision, basic life insurance, short-term and long-term disability insurance and flexible spending accounts (medical, dependent care and commuter). Additionally, we offer ample vacation, sick/self care leave and eighteen paid holidays (including the last week in December) and more….. We are a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) - eligible employer.
Application Deadline: Open until filled.
WHO WE ARE
Disability Rights California (DRC) defends, advances, and strengthens the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities.
DRC works for a world where all disabled people have power and are treated with dignity and respect. In this world, people with disabilities are supported, valued, included in their communities, afforded the same opportunities as people without disabilities, and make their own decisions.
DRC values all forms of human diversity. We are committed to a culture of belonging where all people are welcome. In order to be effective advocates for all people with disabilities, we must address discrimination in all its forms, including the unique challenges faced by people who experience the intersection of multiple systems of discrimination.
Mental Health Practice Group
We are a statewide team of passionate attorneys and advocates who enforce and expand the civil rights of people living with mental health disabilities. We strive to pursue litigation and advocacy that strikes a balance between responding to pressing needs, proactively anticipating future needs, and identifying innovative ways to affirmatively expand the law on behalf of individuals living with mental health disabilities.
Much of our current work includes advocating on behalf of clients in locked facilities, including psychiatric institutions, jails, juvenile halls, and immigration detention centers, and working to divert or release people from such institutions. We also work to improve access to community-based alternatives to institutions and homelessness, to ensure that such services are provided in a manner that is trauma-informed and culturally affirming, to eliminate law enforcement involvement in crisis responses, and to address the intersectional needs of adults and young people living with mental health disabilities.
In order to enforce and expand the rights of people living with mental health disabilities, the Mental Health Practice Group engages in individual and systemic litigation, investigations and monitoring, and policy advocacy. Our team works collaboratively on lawsuits and projects. We are also adopting community lawyering and identity-conscious approaches to our advocacy in order to ensure that our advocacy seeks out and responds to the voices of people of color with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community with disabilities.
A few of the Mental Health Practice Group’s recent or prospective lawsuits and advocacy strategies include:
· Disability Rights California v. County of Alameda, No. 20-5256 (N.D. Cal. filed July 30, 2020) (Olmstead case seeking greater community-based mental health services to prevent individuals with mental health disabilities from needlessly cycling between psychiatric hospitalization, homelessness, and jail, and highlighting the disproportionate impact on Black Alameda County residents), https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/drc-lawsuit-against-alameda-county;
· Opposition and prospective legal challenges to SB 1338 or “CARE Court” (2022) (multi-faceted, statewide advocacy to oppose, and challenge after enactment, state legislation to create a new system of court-imposed mental health treatment and services using legislative/policy, movement lawyering, and litigation components and in statewide collaboration with many partners).
· Hart, et al. v. Clendenin, et al., No. 20-1559 (C.D. Cal. filed Aug. 5, 2020) (one of the first lawsuits in the country to challenge the dangers posed by COVID-19 to high risk patients in a state psychiatric hospital and to seek the discharge or transfer of patients out of the facility) https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/hart-v-clendenin;
· Mays v. County of Sacramento, No. 18-1259 (E.D. Cal. filed July 31, 2018) (comprehensive class action settlement requiring Sacramento County to remedy unconstitutional and dangerous conditions in its jails, including those related to inadequate medical and mental health treatment, suicide prevention, and solitary confinement), https://www.disabilityrightsca.org/cases/mays-v-county-of-sacramento;
· Disability Rights California v. County of San Benito, No. 19-01833 (N.D.Cal filed April 4, 2019) (comprehensive settlement addressing coercive responses to mental health crisis, expanding access to community-based services, and improving patients’ rights).
The Senior Attorney in the Mental Health Practice Group plays a leading role in individual and systemic advocacy to protect and expand the rights of people with mental health disabilities.
The Senior Attorney’s core responsibilities will be to:
· Develop, lead, and/or participate in litigation—including targeted representation, class action lawsuits, complex litigation, and/or appeals—that is responsive to the urgent needs of individuals with mental disabilities.
· Represent individual clients in negotiations, mediations, and judicial and administrative proceedings.
· Develop, lead, and/or participate in policy advocacy at the state level, including commenting on and drafting legislation and regulations, and participating in stakeholder workgroups or committees.
· Collaborate with community members, grassroots organizations, other agencies and nonprofit organizations to address new or recurring problems and issues in the provision of services to clients. Participate in other duties as assigned.
· Supervise and/or mentor the work of attorneys, fellows, and/or interns, as assigned.
· Prepare or coordinate training materials, publications, reports, or special projects, or make presentations about legal work as necessary.
· Provide technical assistance and substantive training to other Disability Rights California staff in areas of expertise, and participate in the identification and development of substantive and skills-based training for staff, with a primary focus on staff in the regional office.
· Participate in other duties as assigned.
The Senior Attorney works under the direct supervision of the Mental Health Practice Group leadership and in collaboration with other Disability Rights California attorneys and advocates in their legal, advocacy, and outreach efforts.
We value lived experience and experience working with people with disabilities and who are low income. We also value experience integrating disability justice, race equity, and community lawyering principles into advocacy efforts. Please discuss such experiences in your cover letter, especially if they are not reflected in your resume.
May directly supervise one or more subordinate attorneys or advocacy staff in the department and carry out supervisory responsibilities in accordance with the agency's policies and applicable laws. 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.
Education, Experience, Licenses
Candidates must have a Juris Doctor degree plus seven (7) years of experience practicing law. Internal candidates, if employed at DRC for two continuous years and with six years of experience practicing law, may also apply.
In addition, the position requires:
· Demonstrated ability to lead complex advocacy projects and litigation, build strong relationships, and work well in collaborative settings;
· Excellent research, writing, analytic, and oral advocacy skills;
· Fearlessness and a deep commitment to zealous client-centered advocacy – demonstrated by lived experience or public interest employment history – through the representation of people with disabilities, lower-income clients, and people of color, and by incorporating race-equity, civil rights, and community/movement lawyering principles into their work;
· Expertise in one or more substantive areas of law related to the practice group (such as Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, Section 1983, Equal Protection, Due Process, Eight Amendment, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, state civil rights statutes, etc.);
· Expertise in federal and/or state civil litigation, including class action, appellate practice and/or mandamus writs, and systemic policy advocacy;
· Four years of exemplary results in litigation including settlement, final judgment, etc.;
· Two years of successfully leading, training, mentoring, and developing attorneys and advocates;
· Demonstrated results from mentorship, leadership, and supervision of multiple attorneys or advocates;
· Demonstrated ability to support and develop multiple junior staff in their own advocacy efforts, including litigation, systemic policy advocacy, administrative proceedings, and/or writs;
· Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively with other lawyers and support staff, and to develop and implement impact strategies; and
· The ability to work independently with appropriate supervision.
LICENSES / CERTIFICATES
Must be a member of the California State Bar or will become a member within one year.
· Litigation or advocacy experience in institutional settings (jails, juvenile halls, immigration detention facilities, psychiatric facilities) for adults or young people with mental health disabilities and/or in community settings through Olmstead and ADA matters;
· Litigation experience in federal district court and/or state court as well as appellate court experience;
· Experience developing impact strategies through community lawyering;
· Experience in the disability rights/disability justice movement;
· Experience with one or more of the following areas: racial justice, homelessness, institutionalization, criminal or juvenile justice, immigrants’ rights, substance abuse, underserved or disadvantaged socioeconomic groups, or Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual/Transgender/Intersex communities;
· Ability to communicate fluently and write effectively in Spanish or other language; or able to communicate using American Sign Language;
· Lived experience as a person with a disability; or
· Family member of a person with a disability.
Ability to travel (when it is safe to do so) occasionally for activities such as out-of-town meetings, trainings, and client representation activities up to 25% of the time.
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. Cover Letter: We need a workforce that can utilize insights and strategies that can come from both professional and personal experience. In your cover letter, please tell us about yourself and why you are a great fit for this position and for DRC
4. A list of 3 professional references;
5. Sample of Legal Writing (i.e., a legal argument, letter or analysis) consisting of no more than 10 pages of text.
Incomplete applications will not be considered.