The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) is hiring an attorney to join its Economic Justice Project’s Dignity for All Project. The attorney will build and lead litigation and advocacy campaigns to expand access to affordable housing, establish a right to housing, stop the criminalization of poverty and homelessness, and protect the rights and human dignity of people who are unhoused. The attorney will have an opportunity to make a tangible impact for housing, economic and racial justice in Southern California and statewide. The attorney will step into some existing litigation and advocacy, but will also have the space to devise new litigation, advocacy, public education, and narrative change strategies that promote affordable housing "Housing First,” economic stability, and human dignity as the solutions to homelessness. The attorney will also support other economic justice team priorities, as needed.
The ideal candidate will have experience in constitutional law and impact litigation, as well as familiarity or experience with working in the areas of housing and poverty. However, we strongly encourage candidates with different types of legal backgrounds who have a demonstrated passion for economic justice and civil liberties to apply.
We work in an “integrated advocacy” model that unites legal advocacy, policy advocacy, organizing, and base building for maximum impact, using whatever tools are needed to get results that will transform our systems and make people’s lives materially better. Our attorneys build and litigate cases but they also do and support policy advocacy, public education, organizing, and narrative change campaigns with a team of policy advocates and analysts, organizers, and communications professionals.
We work in strong partnership with community partners and impacted people. We are part of and build and sustain vibrant and inclusive coalitions. We prioritize centering the voices of people impacted by homelessness and unaffordable housing from start to finish in our work.
We work in a dynamic, collaborative and intersectional way. The attorney, who will work in close collaboration with the Dignity for All Senior policy analyst and advocate. Members of the SoCal Economic Justice team are also part of a vibrant statewide Racial and Economic Justice team of ACLU staff across California working on statewide legislative and advocacy campaigns. Economic Justice team members make transformational change for housing justice and to stop the criminalization of poverty together with lawyers and advocates in other ACLU SoCal issue projects and with coalitions that are working toward transformation of our policing, criminal legal, and immigration systems; ensuring students receive an excellent education regardless of family income; and stopping criminalization of and discrimination against low-income women, Black and brown people, and LGBTQ people.
The staff attorney will be supervised by the Director of Economic Justice within the ACLU SoCal Advocacy Department.
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, other 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.
- 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 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 to 15 years of litigation and advocacy experience. However, we encourage attorneys with 6 to 9 years of experience, who have a demonstrated track record of developing and leading litigation. All applicants should have a demonstrated commitment to civil and human rights, racial justice, and strong advocacy and litigation skills. The ideal candidate will have a history and passion for working with, advocating with, and/or organizing with people experiencing homelessness, marginalized populations, and community-based organizations.
- 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, and 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.
- A J.D. and 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.
RACIAL EQUITY COMPETENCIES
Understanding and Applying Racial Equity
- Demonstrate commitment to building or deepening understand of racial equity:
- Core terms and concepts such as structural racism, white privilege, and anti-Blackness.
- The role that racial inequity has played and continues to play in our society.
- How race impacts supervisory relationships, team dynamics, and organizational culture.
- Personal/implicit/unconscious bias.
Working for Racial Equity
- Consistently assess structural implications and racially disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions within the context of their job responsibilities; race/ethnicity, intersection of race/ethnicity, gender, identity, and/or sexual orientation.
- Consistently adhere to organization’s racial equity policies and procedures, including those that relate to hiring, retention, and promotion.
- Consistently identify and disrupt ways in which bias plays out in work and/or team.
Leading on Racial Equity
- Effectively encourage people to have honest conversations about racial equity, and accept feedback openly, non-defensively, and from a posture of learning.
- Consistently address structural implications and racially disproportionate impacts of policies, activities, and decisions by identifying and implementing changes that can produce more equitable outcomes. This applies not only in terms of race/ethnicity, but also at the intersection of race/ethnicity, gender identity, and/or sexual orientation.
- Consistently set racial equity outcomes, goals, and performance measures for team, department, or organization, and develop and successfully implement plans to achieve them.
The salary range for this position for an applicant who fits our Senior Staff Attorney experience level of 10-15 years’ experience is $96,000-120,000. 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 fifteen paid holidays.
Please submit a resume, cover letter, a writing sample, and three reference to our Application Portal.
The 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. The 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.