Jobs

LAC is a non-profit law and policy organization that specializes in fighting discrimination against and protecting the rights of people with alcohol or drug problems, HIV/AIDS or criminal records.


Health Policy Attorney

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks a Health Policy Attorney in its New York office to work on cutting edge legal and policy issues related to health care privacy and access to care, particularly addiction and mental health services.  The Attorney in this newly created position also will join LAC’s advocacy efforts to reorient the criminal justice system away from punishment toward health.

About the Organization: LAC is a private, not-for-profit law and policy organization, with offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.  LAC is the only organization in the country whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with criminal records, drug or alcohol histories, and/or HIV/AIDS.  LAC is a national leader in ensuring that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) expands access to health insurance and care for people with substance use and mental health disorders and for people in the criminal justice system.  LAC is also a leading advocate for the privacy of alcohol and drug treatment and HIV information.

Job Responsibilities: The Health Policy Attorney will spend approximately half of his/her time engaging in policy work to promote effective implementation of the ACA as well as the federal parity law, which requires mental health and substance use disorder benefits to be covered at parity with medical and surgical benefits.  The Attorney will spend the rest of his/her time on issues relating to the confidentiality of substance use treatment information, especially as it relates to electronic health records and integration of care. The position will require some travel to LAC’s office in D.C., as well as to other states.  Responsibilities include:

  • Staffing a project to help adolescent substance use prevention and early intervention programs understand and comply with the federal law governing the confidentiality of substance use treatment and prevention records. 
  • Participating in all aspects of LAC’s alcohol and drug confidentiality work, including: updating LAC’s publications and other educational materials; conducting trainings; providing legal counsel to treatment providers nationwide through LAC’s telephone hotline; and participating in the public policy debate about how to ensure confidentiality in a changing health care environment.  The Attorney also will work on HIV privacy issues in New York.
  • Conducting policy research and analysis of federal and state legislation, statutes, regulations and policy guidance; writing policy materials for Congress, state policy-makers and advocates; and helping to develop and implement policy advocacy strategies.  This policy work is integral to LAC’s efforts to take advantage of opportunities created by the ACA to improve access to care for LAC’s constituencies.
  • Conducting educational presentations and trainings on health policy issues to inform and empower stakeholders to strengthen the effectiveness of their advocacy.

Qualifications

  • At least two years’ experience with health policy issues is strongly preferred.  Ideal candidate would have knowledge of private insurance, Medicaid, and the ACA, familiarity with the criminal justice system, and public policy experience.
  • A passion for advocacy to expand access to health care and to eliminate discriminatory policies is essential.
  • J.D., admitted (or candidate for admission) in New York.
  • Excellent written and oral communication, advocacy, and analytic skills, including the ability to explain complex issues in clear, persuasive terms for non-lawyer audiences.
  • High level of independence, initiative and creativity, demonstrated problem solving skills, and the ability to multi-task and work in teams.
  • Strong networking skills and the ability to develop and maintain relationships with individuals, organizations and government agencies and well as to work with diverse groups of people.

Salary

Salary is commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits, including medical insurance, 403(b) plan with employer contribution, and pre-tax flexible benefits.

Application

Please e-mail a resume and brief cover letter (no calls) to lacinfo@lac.org and write Health Policy Attorney in the subject line. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled, but please apply as soon as possible. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

Internships (New York):

Legal Internships

The Legal Action Center accepts applications from second- and third-year law students to work part-time during the fall and spring semesters, and full-time throughout the summer. The work involves legal research and writing, litigation assistance, client intake, policy analysis and other activities. Much of the work is done in the areas of disability and other civil rights law, employment discrimination, privacy law, and the administration of the criminal justice system. Excellent research and writing skills are required.

ABOUT THE LEGAL ACTION CENTER: The Center is a non-profit public interest law firm and policy organization that specializes in fighting discrimination against and protecting the rights of people with alcohol or drug problems, HIV/AIDS or criminal records. Among other valuable services, we help individuals obtain employment, housing, and benefits despite past criminal convictions, alcohol/drug histories or HIV status. We do this through impact litigation and a comprehensive range of civil legal services, including assisting our clients to obtain and clean up their New York State rap sheets, seek and obtain certificates of good conduct or relief from disabilities that are often essential to finding jobs or acquiring professional licenses, prepare and file employment discrimination and breach of privacy complaints, and gather evidence of rehabilitation. We also advocate on the local, state and national levels for sound criminal justice, drug and HIV policies, and partner with organizations to encourage policy makers to adopt these policies. We also provide training and technical assistance to a wide variety of health and social service providers, policymakers, employers, workforce development agencies, and others.

JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES: Working with staff at LAC's New York City office, the intern will assist attorneys with the broad array of work the Center performs, including legal research and writing for public policy advocacy and litigation (cutting edge impact litigation as well as legal services cases), drafting position papers and legislation, conducting client intakes, and writing letters and other advocacy documents on behalf of clients. At times, interns also conduct administrative hearings.

QUALIFICATIONS: Excellent communication, advocacy, analytic and writing skills required. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer.

TIME COMMITMENT: At least 10-15 hours per week for at least 10 weeks. Full-time positions are also available. If an intern is available to work more hours each week or for more than 10 weeks, there may be more opportunities to increase the level of responsibility and range of work.

To apply, please send a cover letter and resume to the Legal Action Center, Attention: Legal Intern Coordinator, 225 Varick St., 4th Fl, New York, NY 10014; fax: (212) 675-0286; email: lacinfo@lac.org, with subject line “Legal Internship.”

Internships (Washington, DC):

Legal Internships

If you are interested in Interning in our Washington, D.C. office, we periodically have positions available. Through our Washington office, LAC advocates with Congress and agencies within the administration to improve our federal laws and policies to end discrimination against people in recovery or still suffering from addiction; to expand funding and coverage for life-saving alcohol and drug treatment, prevention, and research; and to eliminate barriers that people with criminal records face when reentering the community from incarceration.

JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES: LAC interns research, track, and analyze federal legislation and policy, attend Congressional hearings and briefings, and assist in other ongoing projects related to the federal advocacy work. Excellent research and writing skills are required. Past interns have included law school and other graduate students interested in policy advocacy; some LAC interns have elected to continue their internship beyond the summer semester. While this has traditionally been a paid internship, individuals could instead elect to receive credit for their work. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer. Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly urged to apply.

More information about LAC and our National HIRE Network, which focuses on expanding employment opportunities for people with criminal records, can be found on our websites, http://www.lac.org and www.hirenetwork.org, or by contacting Sherie V. Boyd, Office Manager, at sboyd@lac.org.

To apply for this internship, please send a cover letter and resume to Ms. Boyd at sboyd@lac.org.

Fellowship Sponsorship Opportunities (New York):

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks candidates to sponsor in fellowship applications to Equal Justice Works, Soros Justice Fellowships and/or other one- or two-year fellowship programs for the following projects based in LAC’s New York City office. 

Projects

Equal Health Insurance Coverage for Addiction Treatment. For decades, alcohol and drug addiction has been recognized by all major medical and scientific bodies, including the National Institutes of Health, as a chronic disease of the brain. Yet access to addiction treatment has not kept pace with this understanding of addiction as a disease, and not a moral failing. Health insurers have historically discriminated against people with addiction, for example, by arbitrarily limiting the amount or type of treatment a person can receive, by denying coverage for addiction treatment at much higher rates than medical/surgical treatment, and by charging higher deductibles and co-payments for addiction treatment compared to medical/surgical treatment. Among people who need and seek addiction treatment, the primary reason for not receiving that treatment is lack of insurance coverage and inability to pay. With addiction reaching epidemic levels in the U.S, access to effective addiction treatment is more important than ever.

In 2008, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (“federal parity law”) was signed into law, requiring health insurers who cover mental health and addiction treatment to cover such treatment equally—or at parity—with medical and surgical treatment. Yet regulations implementing the law were not released until the end of 2013. Enforcement has been sparse and, according to a 2014 survey, a mere 4% of Americans are aware of the existence of the federal parity law. The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) has recently expanded the reach of the federal parity law, and therefore, the time is ripe to bring enforcement actions and raise awareness about the parity law’s protections.

LAC seeks to sponsor a fellow to lead a federal parity law project, which would include education, policy advocacy, impact litigation, and other types of client representation such as administrative appeals. The goal of the project is to enforce compliance with the law so that people with addiction have access to effective treatment.

Application Instructions:  Submit a cover letter explaining your interest in the project, a resume, and a writing sample to Kate Wagner-Goldstein, kwagnergoldstein@lac.org. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

 

The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer.  We strongly encourage applications from our constituency:  people with histories of substance use, involvement in the criminal justice system, and HIV/AIDS.