Litigation Attorney (Bilingual)
Full Time - Rochester, New York
Empire Justice Center’s Civil Rights Practice Group is seeking a Staff Attorney or Senior Staff Attorney
(depending on experience) to join our growing Language Justice advocacy team.
Empire Justice Center, a statewide not-for-profit law firm, has a systems change advocacy approach that focuses on achieving high-impact, lasting improvements by examining client and community experience with the law to identify systemic barriers and then pursuing solutions through training and technical assistance, impact litigation, and policy change. This is an opportunity to join a highly respected organization that is focused on getting to the root causes of racial and economic injustice.
We are seeking an attorney to join our Language Justice team within our Civil Rights Practice Group. This position will work to ensure meaningful access to services as required under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as other federal, state, and local statutes including the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.
- 5+ years of relevant legal experience
- Litigation experience from inception through resolution, including drafting pleadings and motions, researching complex legal issues, preparing and responding to discovery, taking and defending depositions, preparing for trial, and preparing for and appearing at hearings and trial.
- Bilingual in English and one other language.
- Admission to the New York State Bar, passed the NY bar and awaiting admission, or out-of-state admission with eligibility for pro hac vice status.
- A fearless desire to work on challenging language justice matters by representing low-income families and individuals.
- Unafraid to learn and practice new and changing areas of law.
- Excellent writing, research, and communication skills.
- 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.
- Interest in and commitment to advocacy for language justice for the Limited English Proficiency and/or Deaf and Hard of Hearing community.
- Experience working with low-income families and communities.
- Experience in outreach, community education, organizing, or coalition-building.
- What is Language Justice?
- The American Bar Association defines Language Justice as an evolving framework based on the notion of respecting every individual’s fundamental language right—to be able to communicate, understand, and be understood in the language each individual prefers and feels most articulate and powerful. Rejecting the notion of the supremacy of one language, it recognizes that language can be a tool of oppression, and as well as an important part of exercising autonomy and of advancing racial and social justice.
- The person who fills this position will have an opportunity to:
- Develop, manage, and litigate a broad array of Language Justice cases, (Title VI and ADA), from inception through final disposition.
- Working with the Language Justice Team, develop a model intake system that is linguistically diverse and inclusive.
- Educate the community and legal advocates on the linguistic diversity in Monroe County, the legal requirements under Title VI and the ADA, and the importance of qualified interpreters and translators to support effective communication.
- Advocate for our clients’ language rights as they access the justice system, including participation in the 7th Judicial District’s Community Justice Council.
- Advocate for systems changes by working to change the rules and policies of government agencies, health care systems, and courts.
- Advocate for meaningful access to law enforcement, legal services, courts, health services, and other organizations.
- Advocate at the local and state level for policy initiatives and collaborate with community organizations to support the low-income and marginalized communities that we serve.
- Provide technical assistance on Language Access Plans.
- Assist/coordinate CLE pieces of training on Language Justice work.
Salary and Benefits
Salary is commensurate with experience and based on our 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 workforce. People of color, women, people who are disabled, people who are elderly, and people who are LGBTQ+ are welcomed and encouraged to apply.
This position is available immediately. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled. To apply, please email (no phone calls or hard copy mail) a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to: