ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy with a primary focus on racial justice. For the last 55 years, the Committee has been on the cutting edge of civil rights advocacy in the region bringing precedent setting litigation to address discrimination. Our work focuses on injustices in housing, employment, the criminal legal system, education, public accommodations, and civil rights of immigrants. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice. The Committee’s staff is unionized with the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local #2320, UAW. This position is within the bargaining unit. For more information on the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, please go to

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy with a primary focus on racial justice. For the last 55 years, the Committee has been on the cutting edge of civil rights advocacy in the region bringing precedent setting litigation to address discrimination. Our work focuses on injustices in housing, employment, the criminal legal system, education, public accommodations, and civil rights of immigrants. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice. The Committee’s staff is unionized with the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local #2320, UAW. This position is within the bargaining unit. For more information on the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, please go to www.washlaw.org.

ABOUT OUR POLICE ABUSE PRACTICE

Reducing the impact of an unfair criminal system. The criminal system is a prime driver of inequality in the United States. The Committee engages in targeted systemic litigation and non-litigation advocacy to reduce the impact of our discriminatory criminal system.  The police abuse team works in tandem with the other projects at the Committee, especially the Prisoners’ Rights Project, to address the collateral consequences of policing and incarceration on jobs and housing.

Reducing unnecessary and discriminatory contact with the police.  Law enforcement officers stop, arrest, and police people of color at highly disproportionate rates.  The police abuse attorney will focus on litigation and advocacy efforts to reduce contacts of law enforcement with people of color, dismantle racist systems of oppression that exist in policing policies and practices, and bring justice to survivors of police violence.

Addressing over policing. The Committee works to end the criminalization of poverty, the use of law enforcement to handle mental health and other social crises, unaccountable surveillance of individuals and groups, infringements on First Amendment protections, and private police forces’ harassment of low income individuals.  This attorney position will be involved in ongoing litigation and advocacy regarding these issues and in building new cases and campaigns to end police abuse.

POSITION DESCRIPTION

The attorney will serve as lead or co-counsel in individual and class action impact litigation in local and federal courts. The attorney will be responsible for cases that are part of the Committee’s police abuse docket, which is part of a larger initiative to address the criminalization of communities of color and dismantle systems of oppression and discrimination in the criminal legal system. The person selected will be expected to handle all aspects of litigation including investigation and case development, discovery, motions practice, and trial as part of a team comprised of Committee staff and private bar co-counsel. The Committee’s current docket includes matters addressing excessive force by law enforcement officers, illegal stops and searches, suppression of the First Amendment rights of anti-racism demonstrators, and the use of special police officers to harass residents in low income housing complexes.  The Committee is also engaged in policy work around the use of secretive gang databases to track people of color and in pushing backs on efforts to dismantle criminal system reforms.  The person selected will work closely with organizers in impacted communities and advocacy groups to identify the issues of most concern to the communities the Committee serves.

Preferred Experience and Skills:

  • Experience in civil rights, racial equity, and criminal legal system reform litigation;
  • Experience working with community-based organizations and organizers;
  • Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and orientations;
  • Able to contribute to the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture that encourages and celebrates differences;
  • C. Bar membership (in good standing), or the ability to waive into the DC Bar (Required).

Applicants with lived experience in communities historically under-resourced and marginalized due to race, class, gender, disability, etc. are encouraged to apply.

COMPENSATION

Based upon Washington Lawyers’ Committee pay scale, attached. Credit given for prior relevant experience. Generous leave and employer-funded benefits.

HOW TO APPLY

Please email a letter detailing your interest and prior litigation experience, a resume, three references, and brief writing sample to: wlcjobs@washlaw.org. Please place “[your name] – Police Abuse Team Attorney” in the subject line. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until filled. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs is an equal opportunity employer. Diversity is an essential component of the Committee, and we encourage all qualified persons to apply.

Applicants are accorded an equal opportunity for selection without regard to actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, family responsibility, personal appearance, or political affiliation.

This position is a hybrid position with a requirement to be physically in the office located in Washington, D.C. three core days, and up to two days of telework.

ATTORNEYS – JOB RESPONSIBILITIES

Attorneys in the Bargaining Unit at the Committee occupy roles as Associate Counsel, Counsel, and Senior Counsel, depending on level and nature of experience and skills, in one or more substantive areas of the Committee’s work. The work of Counsel is performed under the supervision of the assigned Supervising Counsel, Deputy Legal Director, Legal Director or Executive Director. Job responsibilities will vary by practice area and by case, but the core set of job responsibilities for all attorneys is:

  • Identify and develop matters appropriate for advocacy or
  • Conduct complex class and individual impact litigation and provide other legal services as appropriate; engage in policy advocacy with District, state, and federal agencies, as well as legislatures including the District of Columbia
  • Develop and maintain relationships with community based-organizations, organizations led by persons in impacted communities, and other legal and social services
  • Work effectively with organizational clients, and in partnership with policy and advocacy organizations.
  • Work in partnership with co-counsel law firms and
  • Maintain or ensure the maintenance of data and records in Legal Server regarding all assigned
  • Record time worked on cases and outreaches contemporaneously in Legal
  • Develop mastery of the law in one or more substantive areas of the Committee’s
  • Comply with the rules governing the practice of law in the jurisdictions and forums relevant to the attorney’s practice area, as well as with all applicable rules of professional conduct including the DC Rules of Professional
  • Be familiar with funding restrictions applicable to any areas in which the attorney is practicing.
  • Timely provide requested information needed for press releases, newsletters, grant applications, donor and volunteer outreach, and grant reports, as requested by program, communications, or development
  • Perform all work at a level of professional
  • Other duties as assigned

Attached is the job posting that includes the full description. See here.


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