Senior Staff Attorney, Racial Justice
Status: Exempt, Full-time
Compensation: $100,000 to $115,000 annually depending on experience
Reports to: Legal Director
Location: Currently largely remote, with San Francisco office open as an option. Hybrid remote/office likely in future.
Are you an attorney who is passionate about racial justice and is interested in litigating and advocating to dismantle unjust systems? We invite you to consider joining us!
We are looking for a skilled litigator with excellent written and oral advocacy skills, someone who is devoted to movement lawyering and dismantling unjust systems, passionate about racial and economic justice, committed to working in a collaborative environment, and eager to train and support junior attorneys. This person will take an immediate leadership role on several active impact litigation matters and will develop a pipeline of novel civil rights cases that are tailored to the most pressing issues facing low-income communities of color in Northern California. This position will work closely with an exceptional program team that includes another senior attorney and two legal fellows. The senior litigator will also join LCCRSF’s Senior Leadership Team and will help provide a strategic vision for the organization’s future work.
As one of the most enduring civil rights institutions on the West Coast, LCCRSF works to dismantle systems of oppression and racism and to build an equitable and just society.
Formed in 1968 to bridge the legal community and the Civil Rights Movement, we’re known for advancing the rights of people of color, immigrants, refugees, and low-income individuals. We also invest in legal fellows and support a network of over 1,000 active pro bono attorneys and volunteers. We are in this work for the long haul. Our goal is to make this work sustainable, to rest as needed and take care of each other and our communities, so we can be fierce in the face of power through our core issue areas of Racial Justice, Immigrant Justice, Economic Justice, and Educational Justice. Learn more at lccrsf.org.
About the Racial Justice Team
As part of our racial and economic justice work, LCCRSF is drawing on its years of experience to meet the demands of a moment defined by COVID-19, the national reckoning in response to police brutality, and oppressive systems of wealth extraction designed to target low-income Black and Brown communities. We take an integrated advocacy approach by combining cutting- edge impact litigation with targeted advocacy campaigns designed to achieve measurable wins in the fight for racial and economic justice. LCCRSF works in the direction of movement groups and grassroots allies. We also draw impact work from patterns we see in our limited-scope direct legal services clinics in Black and Brown communities including the People’s Clinic, which seeks redress for police violence. Some of our recent litigation and advocacy victories include:
- Debt Collective v. Judicial Council of California, a case against the California courts for running a profit scheme that extracted hundreds of millions of dollars from low- income Black and Brown Californians for profit; our litigation and advocacy helped galvanize AB-199, a new law that eliminated more than $1 billion in illegally imposed court debts;
- Coalition on Homelessness v. City and County of San Francisco, securing a historic preliminary injunction against San Francisco’s draconian practice of policing homeless residents who have committed no crime but sleeping in public amidst the City’s massive affordable housing shortage;
- Caldwell v. Bad Boys Bail Bonds, winning a decisive appellate ruling invalidating
- $30+ million dollars in illegal bail debts for the families of arrestees, and declaring that unscrupulous bail bond companies must honor consumer protection laws;
- Got hundreds of curfew citations dismissed in Sacramento and San Jose in the wake of George Floyd protests. Filed litigation for people injured by the violent tactics of law enforcement to prevent future police violence and get recompense for those harmed in Whitev. CityofSacramento;
- COH v. SF, a California Court of Appeal decision that is the first nationally to declare that poverty tows the practice of seizing and selling low-income people’s vehicles just because they cannot afford to pay late parking tickets is unconstitutional. This litigation victory dovetails with ongoing legislative advocacy in the form of AB-1082, a bill we are sponsoring to end poverty tows and reform traffic ticket collections;
- Made California a national model for fines and fees reform, including ending driver’s license suspensions and eliminating dozens of regressive fees.
By being grounded in community and listening to our clients and grassroots partners across the Bay Area, we are able to identify the greatest needs and how our expertise can best be used to fill critical gaps. We are thinking strategically and creatively about how we can best mobilize pro bono partners, and innovate nimble responses to the most pressing civil rights issues of our time. Learn more at www.lccrsf.org
The senior litigator in this position will focus predominantly on leadership and management of our active litigation docket and will become an integral part of our team’s strategic design and visioning for future impact litigation and advocacy campaign priorities. Specific goals will include:
Serve as lead counsel on major cases in our current civil rights docket, including legal research, drafting and reviewing filings and correspondence, discovery, motion practice, trial advocacy, appellate advocacy, etc. Supervise and develop relationships with pro bono law firm partners, co-counsel at other nonprofit institutions in the Bay Area, as well as LCCRSF staff attorneys, legal fellows, and law student interns.
Identify racial and economic justice issues for impact litigation and policy advocacy, including investigation of cases and strengthening the organization’s ties with community partners and clients who best understand which issues are top priority and the remedies needed.
Policy and Advocacy (10%)
Engage in legislative and administrative advocacy, particularly as it relates to litigation as part of coordinated campaigns, including drafting legislation, meeting with client organizations, representation of groups before administrative and legislative bodies, and technical assistance to policy makers.
Program Leadership (15%)
Train and supervise junior staff on litigation and advocacy and create a supportive learning environment.
Participate as part of the Senior Leadership internally, including monthly meetings with Management Team giving input into and getting support on diverse topics such as organizational budget, internal culture, wellness, program strategy, fundraising approaches, etc.
External Partnerships and Communication (5%)
Seek opportunities to engage in public education and media advocacy consistent with our identified program strategies and in consultation with Communications staff.
- Significant experience as a primary counsel leading impact litigation; while a minimum of five years of post-graduate legal experience is anticipated, the primary indicator of appropriate experience will be the strength and substance of the candidate’s previous docket of litigation matters;
- Knowledge of and demonstrated leadership in civil rights law advocacy, particularly racial justice;
- Experience working with/ties to low-income communities of color;
- Excellent oral and written communication skills and skills in mentoring junior attorneys to develop their litigation practice; Collaborative, affable, team-player who will work cooperatively across a team of people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives; California Bar membership or intent to sit for the California bar within 6 months of hire.
Salary, Benefits, Work location
This position is full-time, exempt, with a salary range of $125k-130k annually depending on experience, and reports to the Legal Director. Full benefits package includes 100% paid medical + 80% for dependents, phone and internet reimbursement, wellness bonus, vacation, sick time, paid holidays, short Fridays, and winter break (office closure during the last week of the calendar year).
Our office is based on downtown San Francisco but we have a flexible remote policy that accommodates remote work the vast majority of the time unless our work calls for in- person outreach and communication with the clients and communities we serve. We do not yet have a target date for return to the office, but we expect to offer, at minimum, part-time remote. While remote, may not work outside CA for more than 30 consecutive days at a time. Employees must be fully vaccinated according to CDC COVID-19 guidelines for in-person work.
General working hours are 9am-5pm, M-F. LCCRSF is woman- and minority-led, with 35 staff. We are flexible, family-friendly, and value health, wellness and balance. We follow ADA guidelines – reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with different abilities to perform the essential functions.
Working Environment and Conditions
The working conditions described here are representative of those that must be met to successfully perform the essential functions of this position. While performing the duties of this position, the employee must be able to remain in a stationary position, constantly operate a computer, and must have the ability to communicate information and ideas so others will understand. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the functions.
Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Applicants should submit: 1) a cover letter; 2) a resume; 3) contact information for a minimum of three references; 4) a litigation brief of which you were the primary author; and 5) a list of impact litigation matters with which you have been involved, including case caption, case number, the court in which the case was filed, and a one-sentence summary of the matter and your involvement. These materials can be sent by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org (w/ “Senior Staff Attorney-Racial Justice” in the subject line). Questions about the position can also go to that email.
In your cover letter, in addition to describing your interest in the position and qualifications, please respond to the following question: What in your background and experience has prepared you to work for an organization dedicated to advancing racial equity and justice? Feel free to think broadly about your response, applying professional or personal experiences.
We hope to welcome candidates of all backgrounds, but we prioritize applicants who come from the impacted communities that we serve. If that applies to you, please let us know in your cover letter if you feel comfortable. LCCRSF also views it as part of its mission to mentor, train, and empower the next generation of attorneys of color looking to make their professional home in the civil rights space. Please let us know how you would contribute to that mission in your role as a Senior Attorney with us.
Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area thrives as an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer. BIPOC, LGBTQ+ candidates, people of all gender identities, persons with disabilities and individuals over 55 are encouraged to apply.