Mental Health Practice Group

Location: Remote (within California) or Sacramento, Oakland, San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno, or Ontario

 

Individuals who are Deaf or Disabled are encouraged to apply.

SALARY RANGE (Depending on Experience): $89,434.80- $130,958.10 annually

We base salary and position offers on experience and an internal equity analysis.

 

Employment Status: Non-Exempt; Regular; Full time (37.5 hrs)


EXCELLENT BENEFITS including 8% 401k Match, a LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) that pays up to $300 per month depending on salary and debt, a language differential up to $250/mo. Health (HMO and PPO options), dental, vision; basic life insurance; short-term and long-term disability insurance; and flexible spending accounts (medical, dependent care and commuter).  Additionally, we offer ample vacation, sick/wellness leave and eighteen paid holidays (including the last week in December) and more…..  We are a Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) – eligible employer.

Application Deadline: Open until filled.

 

WHO WE ARE

Disability Rights California (DRC) defends, advances, and strengthens the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities.

DRC works for a world where all disabled people have power and are treated with dignity and respect. In this world, people with disabilities are supported, valued, included in their communities, afforded the same opportunities as people without disabilities, and make their own decisions.

DRC values all forms of human diversity. We are committed to a culture of belonging where all people are welcome. In order to be effective advocates for all people with disabilities, we must address discrimination in all its forms, including the unique challenges faced by people who experience the intersection of multiple systems of discrimination.

 

Mental Health Practice Group

We are a statewide team of passionate attorneys and a mental health peer advocate who enforce and expand the rights of people living with mental health disabilities.  We strive to pursue litigation and advocacy that strikes a balance between responding to pressing needs, proactively anticipating future needs, and identifying innovative ways to affirmatively expand the law on behalf of individuals living with mental health disabilities.

Much of our current work includes advocating on behalf of clients in locked facilities, including psychiatric institutions, jails, juvenile halls, and immigration detention centers, and working to divert or discharge people from such institutions.  We also work to improve access to community-based alternatives to institutions and homelessness, to ensure that such services are provided in a manner that is trauma-informed and culturally affirming, and to address the intersectional needs of adults and young people living with mental health disabilities.

In order to enforce and expand the rights of people living with mental health disabilities, the Mental Health Practice Group engages in individual and systemic litigation, investigations and monitoring, and policy advocacy.  Our team works collaboratively on lawsuits and projects.  We are also adopting community lawyering, movement lawyering, and identity-conscious approaches to our advocacy in order to ensure that our advocacy seeks out and responds to the voices of people of color with disabilities and members of the LGBTQIA2S+ community with disabilities.

A significant portion of this position’s time will be dedicated to policy and legislative advocacy aimed at protecting and advancing the rights of people with mental health disabilities. Recent examples of the Mental Health Practice Group’s work in these areas include:

  • Together with DRC’s legislative staff, analyzing and developing positions on more than fifty mental health bills introduced in the California legislature in 2022. Drafting position letters, coordinating with community partners, meeting with legislative committee staff, and testifying in support of and in opposition to bills.
  • Testifying as subject matter experts on community-based behavioral health services at hearings convened by state Senate and Assembly budget subcommittees and the Committee on the Revision of the Penal Code.
  • Working in coalition with partner organizations to engage in budget and policy advocacy to broaden access to mental health diversion, particularly for people found or likely to be found incompetent to stand trial on felony charges. To this end, MHPG staff participated in the Incompetent to Stand Trial Solutions Workgroup convened by the California Department of Health and Human Services in 2021.
  • Opposition to SB 1338 or “CARE Court” (2022) (multi-faceted, statewide advocacy opposing legislation proposed by Governor Newsom to create a new system of court-imposed mental health treatment and services, with legislative/policy, movement lawyering, and litigation components and in collaboration with an array of internal and external partners).
  • Filing briefs of amicus curiae in cases that address important issues related to MHPG’s advocacy priorities.

MINIMUM QUALIFICATIONS

  • Juris Doctor degree (JD) plus seven (7) years of experience practicing law or internal candidates who have worked at DRC for two continuous years and have six years of experience practicing law.
  • Excellent advocacy skills (such as research, writing, analytic, oral).
  • Knowledge of laws, rights, and services as they pertain to people with mental health disabilities, and/or direct representation of people with mental health disabilities.
  • Experience in two or more of systemic policy advocacy, administrative proceedings, community organizing, discovery, motion practice, class action litigation, trial advocacy, or appellate practice related to the position.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead multiple and complex advocacy projects, build and maintain strong relationships with diverse groups of people, and work well in collaboration with others.
  • Demonstrated commitment – through lived experience and/or employment history – to working with people with disabilities and low-income clients, and incorporating race equity and community lawyering principles into their work.
  • Four (4) years of successful results in advocacy, such as intake/outreach projects, administrative proceedings, writs, eviction defense, or single client / single defendant lawsuits.
  • Demonstrated ability to work independently with appropriate supervision.

Licenses / Certificates

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

PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS

  • Experience with the California legislative process and/or advocacy to California state agencies and departments.
  • Experience working with and/or sensitivity to persons with disabilities and/or experience working with and/or sensitivity to persons from multi-ethnic communities.
  • Able to communicate fluently and write effectively in Spanish or an Asian language; or able to communicate using American Sign Language.
  • Experience with and/or extensive contacts in ethnic or language distinct communities.
  • Life experience as a person with a disability OR direct experience as a caregiver of a family member with a disability.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS

Ability to travel (when it is safe to do so) occasionally for activities such as out-of-town meetings, training, or outreach activities up to 25% of the time.

WORKING CONDITIONS

The following describes general working conditions and requirements of the job, which can be performed with or without disability-related reasonable accommodations:

  • Duties are performed between an office or home 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.
  • Duties frequently require sitting and communicating with others.
  • Must be able to transport oneself to work-related meetings, hearings, facilities and settings where clients live.

High speed internet connection is required to work for us.

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 description and complete the application process here.

Senior Attorney – Public Policy Focus
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