The ACLU Foundation of Southern California (ACLU SoCal) seeks applicants for a full-time Staff Attorney to work on the “Dignity for All” project. The Dignity for All project combines the ACLU SoCal’s litigation on behalf of plaintiffs experiencing homelessness with advocacy focused on the social policy changes needed to end homelessness in Southern California communities and beyond, protect human dignity, and advance the human right to housing. The Dignity for All project is part of the ACLU SoCal’s Economic Justice Project, which aims to improve economic justice through creative campaigns that involve policy advocacy, legislative advocacy and litigation, community education and organizing. The Staff Attorney should have at least three-to-five years of relevant experience. The Staff Attorney will work in the Orange County (Santa Ana) office of the ACLU SoCal and is expected to develop strong community relationships and expand the capacity of the ACLU SoCal in Orange County.
The Staff Attorney will litigate cases and participate in non-litigation advocacy to advance the civil and human rights of people experiencing homelessness. The Staff Attorney’s responsibilities include serving as lead and co-counsel on a variety of civil rights/liberties cases; working in conjunction with other staff at the ACLU SoCal’s Orange County office, as well as at the ACLU SoCal’s Inland Empire and Los Angeles offices; and investigating, developing, and litigating cases at the trial and appellate level in federal and state courts.
The ACLU SoCal’s “integrated advocacy” model unites legal and policy advocacy for maximum impact. The Staff Attorney will work closely with staff in the Dignity for All Project and the Economic Justice Project team on advocacy projects and campaigns to protect the civil rights of people experiencing homelessness and to advance the human right to housing and other basic needs. The Staff Attorney’s non-litigation advocacy responsibilities, carried out in close collaboration with the Dignity for All Homelessness Policy Analyst and Advocate, include: public speaking, media interviews, outreach and “know your rights” presentations, as well as writing op-eds, reports, and white papers. The Staff Attorney will also work in cooperation with staff in the ACLU SoCal’s Policy Advocacy cohort when engaged in non-litigation advocacy. In addition, the Staff Attorney will work in collaboration with advocates and organizers in the region.
- Provide strategic leadership and technical assistance to advocates and grass roots organizers.
- Organize and lead community education events, trainings for activists and organizers, and outreach to public officials.
- Provide legal research and analysis on legislative proposals and public education materials.
- Work with ACLU SoCal staff and other organizations serving and advocating on behalf of persons experiencing homelessness to implement integrated advocacy campaigns, including policy and legislative advocacy on ordinances and laws, and utilizing the ACLU SoCal’s Communication and Advocacy departments.
- Serve as a spokesperson for the ACLU SoCal both with the press and as a public speaker on homelessness and related issues.
- Investigate, develop, and litigate impact civil liberties and civil rights cases in federal and state court to protect and expand the rights of persons who are experiencing homelessness in Orange County. This includes conducting factual and legal research, interviewing clients and potential witnesses, preparing memoranda, drafting pleadings, briefs and correspondence, conducting discovery, arguing motions, trying cases, handling appeals, and negotiating settlements.
- Draft amicus briefs in cases of significance to persons who are homeless.
- Supervise, lead, or participate in a team of associated attorneys, including those at the National ACLU, ACLU of CA affiliates or other public interest organizations.
- Recruit and work with ACLU SoCal volunteer attorneys, including co-counsel from private law firms.
- Provide technical assistance and advice to attorneys and advocates on civil rights/liberties issues affecting persons who are homeless.
- Develop legal strategy and long-term strategic priorities with senior ACLU SoCal staff.
Administration, Coordination and Support
- Ensure that all pleadings are filed timely and according to court rules.
- Supervise law students, researchers, interns, and volunteers.
- Work with the ACLU SoCal Legal Committee to screen and develop promising cases affecting persons who are homeless in Orange County; prepare reports and provide support as needed.
- Admission to practice law in the State of California strongly preferred;
- At least three-to-five years litigation experience, preferably in civil rights litigation; individuals with more than five years of experience are encouraged to apply;
- Trial experience preferred;
- Experience in working and interacting with populations such as persons experiencing homelessness, extreme poverty, mental disability, or trauma;
- Excellent analytical, writing and speaking skills;
- Strong leadership skills; must be able to work independently and as part of a team;
- Passionate about defending human and civil rights/civil liberties;
- Broad knowledge of constitutional law;
- Ability to think creatively and to use non-litigation strategies to promote objectives, including building coalitions with ally organizations and public advocacy;
- Work demands may require travel, working evenings, weekends and holidays;
- Other duties may be assigned as needed.
Salary based on experience. Benefits include medical, vision, and dental insurance for staff members and their eligible dependents; life and long term disability insurance; 401(k) plan with employer match; ample vacation and sick leave and thirteen paid holidays.
Please submit resume, cover letter and writing sample (NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE) to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to:
HR Department-Dignity for All Staff Attorney
ACLU of Southern California
1313 W. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90017
The ACLU SoCal is an equal opportunity employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by applicable federal or state law. We consider qualified applicants with criminal histories, consistent with applicable law.