Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles, or San Diego

Legal Advocacy Unit – Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


DEADLINE: Open until filled. Applications should be received by November 12, 2019, to be considered for the first round of interviews.

SALARY RANGE (Depending on Experience): $107,757 – $144,417 annually

Location: Sacramento, Oakland, Los Angeles, OR San Diego



Disability Rights California (DRC) is a statewide, non-profit legal organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Californians with disabilities to live with autonomy, dignity, and respect in a barrier-free, inclusive, and diverse world that values each individual and their voice.  The Legal Advocacy Unit (LAU) is DRC’s core Protection & Advocacy legal program, tasked with fulfilling our federal mandate to defend the rights of people with disabilities in California.



DRC is seeking a creative, bold, and experienced litigator to co-lead our Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) Practice Group.


In our Practice Groups, the Managing Attorneys bring a wealth of substantive expertise and handle supervisory and administrative tasks for the team with a shared responsibility for advocacy.  Along with the Managing Attorney and team members, the Litigation Counsel shape our team-wide litigation vision, support experienced litigators in their cases, mentor junior attorneys, and—most importantly—provide a leadership role in litigation and other systems’ change advocacy. Structurally, the Litigation Counsel report to the Managing Attorneys. But in practice, they lead our team together. Litigation Counsel also partner with staff in other practice groups to maximize our impact in cross-program cases and projects.


The Litigation Counsel ensures the excellence of the Practice Group’s legal work and provides leadership and mentorship to Practice Group attorneys on all advocacy efforts, including litigation in Federal and State court. The Litigation Counsel works with the team to identify complex legal and policy challenges to create and drive forward our systemic and impact work. The Litigation Counsel also provides technical assistance to, and collaborates with, other legal services organizations and community based organizations.



We are a statewide team of passionate attorneys who use a variety of advocacy tools to enforce and expand the rights of people with I/DD.  Our work includes individual and impact cases, investigations, policy and legislative advocacy, and other systemic reform efforts.  We value the full integration of people with I/DD in their communities and choice in the services and supports they receive.  We prioritize advocacy to enable adults to live full and dignified lives and to support children to remain at home with their families, consistent with their rights under federal and state law, including the Lanterman Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Supreme Court’s Olmstead decision.  And we are adopting community lawyering and identity-conscious approaches to reach Californians we have previously missed.



Litigation Counsel essential functions include:


Litigation and Leadership – 75%

– Identify and address complex legal challenges through impact litigation and policy advocacy efforts.

– Lead teams in litigation or major policy advocacy which may include targeted representation, complex litigation and/or appeals, or major policy advocacy at the state level.

– Mentor and train attorneys in the practice group in litigation and policy advocacy work.

– Identify and develop   substantive and skills-based training for staff.

– Monitor, summarize, and analyze case law, legislation, and administrative policy and practices for staff and other organizations.


Administrative/Management – 10%

– Participate as a member of the DRC legal management team to assist in the development and advancement of the Legal Advocacy Unit’s strategic direction.

– Collaborate with other Litigation Counsel to fulfill various administrative and litigation-related responsibilities.

– Co-review and approve the team’s requests to commence new litigation.


Community-Based Advocacy – 15%

– Engage in community-based advocacy and community leadership, representing the agency as the voice of our clients.

– Prepare training materials, publications, reports, or prepare presentations about legal work, which may include reports to funding entities and the Board of Directors.



Litigation Counsel do not directly supervise staff. But they do provide leadership, training, and mentoring to Practice Group staff on litigation.


Ability to travel occasionally for activities such as out-of-town meetings, client visits, and hearings up to 25% of the time.


DRC offers flexible workplace opportunities such as scheduling and telecommuting. Duties are performed between an office environment and the field in a wide range of settings, including courthouses, health care facilities or other institutional settings, community agencies, or in community-based outpatient settings. Work areas are often noisy. Duties frequently require sitting and communicating with others.


Education, Experience, Licenses

Must be a member of the California State Bar or eligible to practice under the Registered Legal Services Attorney Program. Plus:

– Ten years of practice including substantial civil litigation experience. Candidates with mixed litigation experience—such as clerkships and criminal defense—should have at least five years’ experience in civil litigation.

– Experience mentoring or supervising attorneys.

– Experience with client representation of people with disabilities.

– Experience addressing clients’ intersectional needs.

– Experience with laws, rights, and services as they pertain to people with disabilities, and/or direct representation of people with disabilities.



– Litigation or advocacy experience in: regional center or other service systems for people with I/DD; Olmstead and ADA matters; writs of mandate or administrative mandamus.

– Proficiency in American Sign Language, Spanish, or an Asian language.

– Experience in the disability rights movement.

– Extensive contacts in the disability community.

– Experience developing impact strategies through community lawyering.

– Experience with and/or extensive contacts in ethnic or language distinct communities.

– Familiarity and/or extensive contacts with one or more of the following: homelessness, criminal justice, substance abuse or Gay/Lesbian/Bi-Sexual/Transgender/Intersex (LGBTI) communities.

Bilingual Ability

No additional language is required.


If you are interested in becoming a part of DRC, please submit the following:

– Online Disability Rights California Application Form

– Your resume

– Detailed cover letter.

– Sample of legal writing (i.e., a legal argument, letter or analysis) consisting of no more than 10 pages of text.

– List of significant litigation


At Disability Rights California, we value diversity among our employees because unique perspectives allow us to effectively serve Californians with disabilities from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. As an equal opportunity employer, we hire without regard to race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, age (over 40), Disability (mental and physical), sex, gender (including pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding or related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, military and veteran status, or any other protected characteristic.


Disability Rights California endorses and supports the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are applicants or employees who need accommodations.

Working at DRC is more than just a job – it is a rare opportunity to do what you are good at while making a difference! DRC offers competitive salaries and a generous benefit package. To view the detailed job descriptions and complete the application process visit this site:

Litigation Counsel