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Posted by: Special Litigation Unit - 6/8/2022
Job Expires: 9/8/2022
Racial Justice Staff Attorney, Special Litigation Unit

About NYLAG:

 

Founded in 1990, the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is a leading not-for-profit civil legal services organization advocating for adults, children, and families that are experiencing poverty or have low income. We tackle the legal challenges and systematic barriers that threaten our clients’ economic stability, well-being, and safety. We are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion and constantly improving how we respond to systemic issues of racism that affect our clients in their pursuit of justice. We address emerging and urgent needs with comprehensive, free civil legal services, direct representation, impact litigation, policy advocacy, financial counseling, medical-legal partnerships, and community education and partnerships. Last year, we affected the lives of 90,800 people.

 

Mission:

 

The New York Legal Assistance Group uses the power of the law to help New Yorkers in need combat social, racial, and economic injustice. We address emerging and urgent legal needs with comprehensive, free civil legal services, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community education.

 

Values that guide us:

 

  • We reduce the effects of poverty by providing high quality, effective civil legal services.
  • We partner with our clients to help them transform their lives and strengthen their communities.
  • We address our clients’ multiple legal needs by collaborating across our practice areas.
  • We are at the forefront of identifying and understanding New Yorkers’ most pressing legal needs, rapidly adapting to meet these needs with innovative programs and partnerships.
  • We assess need broadly, recognizing that need is not a function of income alone.
  • We collaborate with community organizations and engage pro bono attorneys and volunteers to serve a greater number of people with unmet civil legal needs.
  • We achieve systemic change through class actions, impact litigation and by advocating for just laws and policies.
  • We work to create a welcoming and inclusive work environment that reflects the communities we serve.
  • We teach and train the next generation of legal service professionals.

 

Job Description:

 

The Special Litigation Unit of the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) is seeking applications from attorneys with two to five years of legal experience who are interested in bringing a focus on racial equity to our impact litigation work.

 

The Special Litigation Unit collaborates with NYLAG attorneys across practice areas to develop and litigate complex impact litigations that advance social, racial, and economic justice, addressing the full range of legal areas in which NYLAG serves clients. Alone, or in partnership with other not-for-profit organizations and private firms working pro-bono, we initiate class actions and other impact lawsuits to bring about systemic change for thousands of people in need.

 

The attorney will work on a variety of issues on SLU’s docket, including public benefits, special education, consumer protection, disability rights, and immigration. Examples of current and recent SLU lawsuits include: Dupres v. Houslanger & Associates, which challenges a debt collection firm’s judgment enforcement and state court litigation practices against New York City consumers; J.S.M. v. New York City Department of Education, which challenges New York City’s delays in scheduling hearings and issuing decisions regarding special education services for children with disabilities; Williams v. Equitable Acceptance Corporation, which alleged a nationwide scheme to defraud tens of thousands of federal student loan borrowers by offering scam debt relief services and deceptive financing; and Colaj v. Hein, which resulted in New York extending state-funded cash assistance benefits to asylum applicants with work authorization. SLU is also litigating or developing potential litigation in the fields of homeless services, due process violations in immigration removal proceedings, wrongful denials of public benefits, and other topics. 

 

While many of SLU’s cases, both current and historical, have an impact on New York City’s communities of color, SLU is now seeking an attorney to focus directly on issues of racial justice in our work. Specifically, we are seeking an attorney interested in 1) developing and litigating cases involving issues and claims of racial (in)justice and 2) bringing a racial justice lens to SLU’s docket as a whole, including existing cases and cases in development.

 

Duties and Responsibilities:

 

The attorney’s responsibilities will include: developing new cases; drafting complaints; engaging in  motion practice; drafting briefs and other court documents; engaging in discovery, including drafting and responding to discovery requests, preparing for, taking and defending depositions, and assisting with document review; interviewing, advising, and advocating on behalf of individual class members; negotiating and drafting settlements; monitoring compliance with settlements; participating in internal strategy discussions; engaging with opposing counsel; and appearing in court. 

 

We are seeking an attorney who is interested in growing SLU’s class action and impact litigation work with an explicit racial justice component and helping to ensure that SLU’s work is undertaken with a racial justice lens. In the first year of this position, this attorney would be expected to conduct a systemic review of how to further promote racial justice within SLU’s existing docket; identify four to five potential new litigation opportunities relating to racial justice; and begin litigation of one to two such cases in collaboration with other members of SLU’s team. This work will include connecting with stakeholders inside and outside NYLAG to identify issues disproportionately harming communities of color. This attorney would also participate in SLU’s existing litigation work.

 

Litigation to promote racial justice may include, for example, asserting discrimination claims against landlords, employers or other entities; challenging reverse redlining practices; challenging policies or practices that disproportionately harm immigrant or non-immigrant communities of color; and bringing other types of legal claims that are not specifically race- or ethnicity-based in order to benefit communities of color.

 

This position is funded by a three-year external grant. The candidate who fills this position will be a member of the Union.

 

Qualifications:

 

NYLAG seeks a highly motivated attorney with two to five years’ legal experience, including civil litigation experience, who is admitted to the New York State Bar. The attorney must have a demonstrated commitment to public interest law and racial justice. Experience litigating in federal court is preferred. Applicants must have excellent legal research, writing, and communication skills.

 

NYLAG’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion

 

NYLAG is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, veterans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, and those with lived experiences in the communities we serve are strongly encouraged to apply.

 

Employment type:

 

☒ Full-time

☐ Part-time

☐ Temporary

 

Professional Level:

 

☐ Entry Level

☒ Professional

☐ Managerial

 

Salary:

 

$77,294 - $86,914 (commensurate with experience)

Benefits:

 

Excellent benefits.

 
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