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

New York

The Legal Action Center (LAC) seeks a full time Staff Attorney in its New York office to conduct cutting-edge litigation, direct legal services, and education in furtherance of LAC’s mission.

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 and protect the privacy of people with criminal records, substance use disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS.  LAC uses a multi-faceted approach to effectuate its mission and create systemic change, including impact litigation, legal services, and policy advocacy.

For over 40 years, our legal services and litigation program has helped tens of thousands of individuals with criminal records, substance use disorders, and/or HIV/AIDS overcome employment, housing, and other forms of discrimination and vindicate their privacy rights.  We leverage our resources through pro bono partnerships and collaborations with plaintiff-side law firms, including civil rights, employment and consumer protection law firms, and other legal organizations who share our goals.

LAC also provides training and technical assistance to legal services providers, social services providers, government agencies, and health care agencies serving our constituencies on a myriad of issues, including:  New York State’s HIV privacy law; the laws that prohibit employment, housing, and other forms of discrimination based on criminal records, substance use disorders, and HIV/AIDS in New York; and the federal laws governing the confidentiality of substance use disorder patient records (including HIPAA).  We also create web- and print-based “know your rights” educational materials.

Job Responsibilities:  The Staff Attorney will work in LAC’s legal department (which includes six attorneys, four paralegals, and support staff) and will:

  • Participate in impact litigation and direct legal services across all of LAC’s areas, with an initial focus on re-entry work, including:
    • working with others to devise litigation strategies;
    • conducting extensive legal research and drafting legal memoranda;
    • engaging in informal advocacy and pre-litigation negotiations and settlements;
    • assisting in each stage of litigation in federal and state courts;
    • collaborating and working with co-counsel, other legal organizations, community based organizations, and those directly impacted;
    • representing individuals in administrative proceedings;
    • evaluating requests for legal assistance and investigating and developing potential cases; and
    • participating in related communications activities;
  • Conduct trainings and provide legal counsel to health and social service providers, government agencies, lawyers, and others working in the re-entry, HIV fields, and addiction fields;
  • Develop print and web-based educational materials;
  • Collaborate with other legal providers, advocacy groups, and directly impacted individuals by participating in task forces, coalitions, and committees, making presentations, and attending conferences, etc.;
  • Oversee paralegals’, law students’, and support staff’s work on specified matters, including through “attorney on-call” duties;
  • Participate in policy discussions to help shape LAC’s policy agenda and limited policy advocacy related to LAC’s litigation and legal services work; and
  • Collaborate with staff in the legal, policy, communications, and development departments on issues related to LAC’s mission.

The position will report to the Deputy Director of Litigation, but will work closely with other members of the Legal Department.

Job Qualifications and Requirements:

  • J.D. and admission to New York State Bar (or candidate for admission) required. 1-2 years of litigation and/or legal services experience preferred;
  • Familiarity with and passion for promoting re-entry and dismantling barriers to re-entry, seeking equitable practices for LAC’s constituencies, ending mass arrest and incarceration policies, promoting a public health approach to addiction, securing and enforcing privacy rights, and interest in the broader aspects of systemic reform and its policy implications;
  • Excellent legal research and analytical skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication and advocacy skills, including the ability to relate and communicate effectively with a diverse group of clients, community partners, and staff, as well as legal, judicial, non-profit, government, and business communities;
  • Experience in drafting pleadings, briefs, and/or handling discovery and document productions, etc. is preferred;
  • Excellent time-management skills and attention to detail. Must be flexible and able to prioritize work given needs and demands of the organization;
  • Strong networking skills and the ability to develop and maintain professional relationships with organizations, individuals, and government;
  • Ability to work independently as well as collaboratively, to take initiative and think creatively, and solve problems;
  • Willingness to do limited travel in the United States; and 
  • Spanish language skills are preferred.

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

Application Instructions:  Please email a cover letter, résumé, and writing sample (no calls) to [email protected] and write “Staff Attorney” in the subject line.  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled, but please apply as soon as possible.  Incomplete applications will not be considered. Only candidates selected for interviews will be contacted.

The Legal Action Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

Members of LAC’s stakeholder populations are strongly encouraged to apply.

The Legal Action Center (LAC) offers semester and summer internships to law students in New York City. We will also consider applications from students who are splitting their summers between law firms and public interest organizations. LAC offers an hourly salary to interns who do not receive course credit or outside funding.

ABOUT THE ORGANIZATION: LAC is the only non-profit law and policy organization in the United States whose sole mission is to fight discrimination against people with histories of addiction, HIV/AIDS, and criminal records, and to advocate for sound public policies in these areas. For over 40 years, LAC has championed public health approaches to substance use disorder and HIV/AIDS, fought mass incarceration, and challenged the myriad collateral consequences of a criminal record. LAC uses a multi-faceted approach to effect change, including direct legal services, impact litigation, education, and policy advocacy at the local, state, and federal levels.

JOB DESCRIPTION AND DUTIES: Working in the New York City office, legal interns work directly with our attorneys and policy staff to further LAC’s work as needed, which may include:

  • Providing direct legal services to individuals facing discrimination on the basis of their criminal records or HIV/AIDS status, including conducting intakes and drafting client advocacy documents;
  • Providing direct legal services to individuals eligible to seal their criminal records under New York’s new sealing law, Criminal Procedure Law § 160.59, including screening clients for eligibility, assisting clients in filing their sealing motions, and potentially representing clients in hearings;
  • Conducting legal research for LAC’s cutting-edge impact litigation in privacy rights and discrimination (by employers, criminal justice and child welfare agencies, and health insurers, among others); and
  • Drafting position papers, model legislation, and other policy documents in support of LAC’s core mission.

Summer legal interns may have the opportunity to attend meetings, conferences, public hearings, and trainings with LAC attorneys and policy staff, depending on programming and interns’ interests.

Legal interns may also have the opportunity to develop a substantial writing sample or law review-style article about novel legal issues that arise in our work. We encourage legal interns to develop projects and apply for post-graduate fellowships at LAC.

For more information about LAC’s current litigation and policy work, see our recent Highlights.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must be students who have completed their first or second year of law school. Excellent analytic and writing skills required. Demonstrated commitment to the issues facing the communities served by LAC preferred. Proficiency in a second language welcomed. The Legal Action Center is an equal opportunity employer.

TIME COMMITMENT: Summer interns are expected to work at least 35-40 hours per week, for at least 10 weeks. Semester interns are expected to work at least 10 hours per week, for at least 10 weeks.

COMPENSATION: LAC pays an hourly rate to legal interns if they do not receive external funding or course credit for the internship.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS: To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to the Legal Action Center at [email protected], with the subject line “Legal Internship.” We will review applications on a rolling basis. The application deadline is August 15 for the fall term, December 1 for the spring term, and February 15 for the summer. First year law student applications for the summer internship will not be accepted before December 1, in accordance with the NALP Principles and Standards. Interested applicants are encouraged to apply early.

Washington, D.C.

Legal Internship

The Legal Action Center (LAC) is hiring a law student for the spring semester in our Washington, D.C. office.  The internship would be for 10-12 weeks.  Applicants may elect to receive a salary or academic credit for their work.

LAC’s D.C. office advocates with Congress, federal administrative agencies and state policy-makers to end discrimination against people with histories of addiction; to expand funding and coverage for substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and research through all forms of health care financing; and to eliminate barriers to re-entry for people with criminal records. LAC’s DC office collaborates with organizations around the country and national coalitions to achieve its goals.

JOB DESCRIPTON AND DUTIES:  The legal intern will research, track, and analyze federal legislation and policy related to private and public health insurance and criminal justice initiatives affecting persons with addiction histories; attend Congressional hearings and briefings; conduct legal research on health care coverage and insurance discrimination; and assist in other ongoing projects related to both state and federal advocacy work.  Excellent research and writing skills are required. Past interns have included law students interested in policy development and advocacy and the substantive issues at the core of LAC’s 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, D.C. Office Manager at [email protected].

To apply, please send your resume and a cover letter explaining your interest in LAC’s work and relevant experience to Ms. Boyd at [email protected].

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