Empire Justice Center’s Civil Rights, Education and Employment (CREE) Practice Group is seeking an experienced attorney to join our team.
We are a statewide, multi‐issue, multi‐strategy non‐profit law firm focused on improving the “systems” within which poor and low-income families live. With a focus on poverty law, Empire Justice Center undertakes research and training, acts as an informational clearinghouse, and provides direct representation and support to local legal services programs and community-based organizations. As an advocacy organization, we engage in legislative and administrative advocacy on behalf of those harmed by poverty and discrimination. As a nonprofit law firm, we provide legal assistance to those in need and undertake impact litigation in order to protect and defend the rights of disenfranchised New Yorkers.
Empire Justice employs dedicated, determined, and passionate advocates who together, make a significant impact on the lives of low-income New Yorkers. With offices in Rochester, Albany, Westchester, and Long Island, our organization offers staff an exciting and dynamic working environment and a strong commitment to teamwork, diversity, and personal/professional development.
Primary Responsibilities for the Special Education/Civil Rights Attorney:
The staff attorney/senior staff attorney will primarily be responsible for representing students with disabilities at various levels of advocacy (i.e. advice and counsel, CSE meetings, impartial hearings and federal court litigation). This attorney will be responsible for an independent caseload comprised of litigating individual cases and be part of the team that works on current systemic change litigation (N.N. vs. RCSD), with the opportunity to work on other education and civil rights matters, based on experience. Duties will include: providing advice and counsel, evaluating new cases for acceptance representation at CSE, developing impartial hearing practice, litigating cases, conducting legal research, drafting memoranda, meeting with clients, drafting pleadings, briefs and/or discovery, document review, case management, motion practice, practice group supervision, as needed, and other duties as assigned. A part of the attorney’s work also includes advocacy through local and state level policy initiatives, and collaboration with community organizations supporting the low-income and marginalized communities we serve.
Expertise in Special Education law
- A J.D. and 7-12 years relevant legal experience, including litigation experience.
- Admission to the New York State Bar or passed the NY bar and awaiting admission.; or out of state admission with eligibility for pro hac vice status.
- Experience and/or a desire to work on other civil rights matters, as needed.
- Experience representing clients in state or federal court and administrative agency proceedings.
- Excellent written and verbal communication, legal research and analytical skills, excellent organization and ability to meet deadlines.
- Ability to work successfully with individuals from diverse backgrounds and treat clients with consideration and respect.
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team.
- Demonstrated leadership.
- Proven interest in and commitment to advocacy for the legal rights of low-income and other vulnerable populations.
- Experience working with low-income families and communities.
- Experience in outreach, community education, organizing, or coalition-building.
- Supervisory experience and/or strong interest in developing.
- Bilingual (English & Spanish or English & ASL).
Salary and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience and based on the organization’s salary scale. Empire Justice Center offers a generous benefit package, including health insurance, life insurance, vacation, holiday and sick time. We are an organization that supports and encourages a work/life balance.
Empire Justice Center is an Equal Opportunity/ Affirmative Action employer and desires a diverse and inclusive work force. People of color, women, persons with disabilities, the elderly, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender are welcomed and encouraged to apply.
This position is available immediately. Applications will be accepted until position is filled. To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, writing sample and three professional references to: (no phone calls or hard copy mail please)