The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks a Senior Staff Attorney or experienced Staff Attorney to work on the Economic Justice Project’s Dignity for All Project to build and lead litigation, legal, and policy advocacy needed to end homelessness, protect the rights and human dignity of people who are unhoused, and advance housing justice in Southern California communities and beyond. The Attorney will also provide technical assistance to impacted individuals and community groups, develop advocacy strategies, and equip community members and ACLU supporters with knowledge and narrative change tools to build power and advance the affirmative right to housing.
Founded in 1923, the ACLU SoCal has been at the forefront of many major efforts to protect civil liberties, civil rights, and equal justice in California. Principled and nonpartisan, ACLU SoCal has offices in Los Angeles, Orange County (Orange), the Inland Empire (San Bernardino), and Kern County (Bakersfield). ACLU SoCal tackles a vast array of issues, including, police practices, First Amendment rights, voting rights, criminal legal system reform, gender equity and reproductive justice, LGBTQ rights, immigrants' rights, education equity, and economic justice.
California is ground-zero for the nation’s homelessness crisis. With over 150,000 of its residents experiencing homelessness, the state is by far the largest contributor to the increase in homelessness across the nation. The Attorney position provides a unique and exciting opportunity to make a real impact on the many facets of this crisis. The Attorney will develop and litigate state and federal cases; create, implement, and participate in campaigns that protect and expand the civil and human rights of people experiencing homelessness and advance the human right to housing and basic human needs; engage in public education; and provide technical assistance on housing justice issues to coalitions, community partners, government officials, and government bodies.
While the position is based in Orange County, the Attorney will advocate on the full range of homelessness justice issues on which the ACLU SoCal engages locally and statewide. Litigation, advocacy, and public education campaigns might include: protecting unhoused people’s rights to exist; defending and expanding the rights of people who are unhoused; holding government accountable for the provision of their basic human needs and well-being; addressing the criminalization of poverty and homelessness with humane and effective policies that prioritize housing and healthcare access, including challenging the unconstitutional municipal policies and laws that obstruct unhoused individuals’ paths to achieving economic security and stable housing; helping to lead statewide work to advance the affirmative right to housing through litigation and/or policy advocacy; and shifting attitudes and the dominant narrative regarding people experiencing homelessness, centering and lifting up the voices of people impacted by homelessness and unaffordable housing, to educate our community and advance a “Housing First” policy solution. The Attorney will also work on other economic justice team priorities, as needed.
The Attorney, who will work in close collaboration with the Dignity for All Senior Policy Analyst and Advocate, will be part of the ACLU SoCal’s Economic Justice Project and ACLU of California’s cross-affiliate statewide economic justice workgroup. The Staff Attorney will also work with attorneys, policy advocates, and organizers from other ACLU SoCal Projects and communications staff as needed and when intersectional issues arise.
The Staff Attorney will be supervised by the Director of Economic Justice within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department.
The ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact. In keeping with that approach, the Attorney will work on cases, advocacy projects, public education, and campaigns. The attorney’s responsibilities will be the following:
- Conduct legal advocacy and investigate, develop and litigate high-impact cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.
- Lead and manage litigation teams, serve as co-counsel, and work in conjunction with other legal, policy, and organizing staff within the ACLU SoCal, the other two California ACLU affiliates, and partner organizations. If a Staff Attorney, lead litigation but the litigation will be managed and supervised by a Senior Staff Attorney.
- Supervise the work of more junior lawyers as well as interns and support intern hiring. If a Staff Attorney, supervise interns and support intern hiring.
- Help lead monitoring and addressing homelessness issues addressed by past ACLU litigation and settlements and enforce compliance with those judgments.
- Serve as a policy expert and advocate on state and local housing justice/homelessness issues in support of legislation and other campaigns, with responsibilities including public speaking, media interviews, and outreach, as well as writing op-eds, and reports.
- Conduct outreach, advocacy, and provide technical assistance to public officials and government bodies.
- Organize and attend lobbying visits with state and local officials, provide testimony to administrative agencies and governing bodies, and develop and cultivate relationships with lawmakers and decisionmakers to advance organizing and policy advocacy objectives.
- Provide technical support to community groups, advocates, and organizers in the region.
- Establish and cultivate collaborative relationships with community partners, coalitions, stakeholders, and ACLU members.
- Forge and maintain relationships with people impacted by poverty and homelessness, community partners, decision-makers, government officials, allied organizations and academics to implement collaborative projects and foster positive, effective working relationships while focusing on a people power-based theory of change.
- Meaningfully incorporate people who have been impacted by homelessness and poverty into all aspects of your economic justice work, helping to elevate and center their expertise and leadership whenever possible.
- Build and facilitate coalitions when necessary and attend and actively participate in community partner meetings and coalitions that focus on issues that impact economic justice.
- Collaborate with and provide support to people in other ACLU affiliates in California and the Sacramento legislative office, as well as colleagues at the national ACLU.
- Develop advocacy sign-on letters, fact sheets, advocacy materials, toolkits, action alerts, op-eds, blog posts, and social media content.
- Support the ACLU SoCal’s base building and volunteer leadership development work, as needed.
- Other duties, as needed and assigned.
The ACLU SoCal anticipates hiring a Senior Staff Attorney with approximately 10-14 years of litigation and advocacy experience. However, we encourage attorneys with 6-9 years’ experience who have a demonstrated track record of independently developing and leading impact litigation cases. All applicants should have a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, racial justice, and strong advocacy and litigation skills. The ideal candidate will be a hard-working leader with a proven record of accomplishments working with, advocating with, and/or organizing with people experiencing homelessness, marginalized populations, and community-based organizations.
- Demonstrated ability to develop and litigate impact cases.
- Excellent research, writing, analytic, and speaking skills.
- Demonstrated ability to work in diverse coalitions and develop advocacy campaigns.
- Demonstrated ability to participate in, create, and sustain inclusive and engaging spaces for all.
- Demonstrated ability to lead projects, build strong relationships, and work well in collaboration with others.
- A deep commitment to the cause of civil liberties and civil rights.
- Willingness to work occasional weekend and evening hours, as needed.
- Willingness to travel within Southern California as well as occasionally to other parts of the state.
- Extremely strong project and time management skills, including a high level of organization, attention to detail and follow-through, while balancing and prioritizing multiple activities and responsibilities.
- Admitted to practice law in the state of California or willingness to promptly take the California bar exam.
- Familiarity working in the area of poverty/economic justice, specifically on housing justice/homelessness issues with experience working with people who are unhoused, experiencing extreme poverty, mental disability, or trauma.
- Familiarity with or experience working on social justice issues in Southern California, connections to Southern California communities affected by poverty and homelessness, and organizations working in those areas.
- A demonstrated commitment and track record of doing intersectional advocacy and taking an intersectional approach to advancing economic justice.
- Experience planning and facilitating workshops, trainings, meetings, and other community events.
- Spanish language fluency.
The salary range for this position for an applicant who fits our Senior Staff Attorney experience level is $101,000 - $120,000. The salary range for this position for an applicant who has 6-9 years of experience and would be a Staff Attorney is $79,250 - $91,750. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long-term, short-term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.
Please complete an application and submit your resume, cover letter, and writing sample through our career portal below:
Online Career Portal: https://secure.onehcm.com/ta/ACLUSC.careers?CareersSearch. (Please attach all documents in the resume upload section.)
Open until filled.
ACLU of Southern California is committed to developing a culture of diversity, equity, respect, and inclusion and to strive to maintain a workforce that reflects the communities that we serve. The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer that does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply and value people of all races, genders (including gender identity or expression), sexual orientations, disabilities, citizenships, ages, religions, and national origins and who have different marital statuses, family caregiving responsibilities, lived experiences with the criminal justice systems, and genetic information. ACLU SoCal does not tolerate discrimination or harassment on the basis of any of these characteristics.
The ACLU SoCal is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities. If you are a qualified individual with a disability and need assistance applying online, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.