WHO WE ARE
The Staff Attorney advocates on behalf of children and adults with disabilities. This position reports to the Legal Director of Disability Rights Connecticut, Inc. (“DRCT”). This is a full time position.
Disability Rights Connecticut, Inc. (“DRCT”), the protection and advocacy system for Connecticut, is an independent, nonprofit organization recently established as the successor protection and advocacy system in Connecticut when Connecticut’s Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities was abolished by Connecticut law on July 1, 2017. DRCT is a statewide disability advocacy organization that serves people of all ages with all types of disabilities in accordance with its mandates and priorities. DRCT programs are authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and Social Security Act.
DRCT Mission Statement
DRCT’s mission is to advocate, educate, investigate and pursue legal, administrative, and other appropriate remedies to advance and protect the civil rights of individuals with disabilities to participate equally and fully in all facets of community life in Connecticut.
The responsibilities of the person in this position will include:
- Individual advocacy or representation to ensure protection of the rights of eligible clients in formal and informal legal and administrative proceedings, including conducting client and other interviews, identifying issues, determining course of action, developing and implementing appropriate advocacy strategies, negotiating solutions to problems, and/or encouraging self-advocacy, when appropriate.
- Engaging in all aspects of litigation, including but not limited to drafting complaints, conducting discovery, conducting depositions, drafting briefs, arguing motions, conducting settlement discussions, conducting trials, recommending cases for appeal, drafting appeal briefs and arguing appeals.
- Provide direction to advocates on cases and other advocacy activities.
- Analyze existing cases and other situations to determine if they present systemic issues which may be appropriate for DRCT to address, and, with the Legal Director, formulate strategies for their prevention, reduction or elimination.
- Consult with professionals such as attorneys, physicians, psychologists, therapists, educators, and others as necessary as part of advocacy and litigation.
- Monitor state and private facilities such as hospitals, nursing homes, Intermediate Care Facilities, community facilities for individuals with disabilities, board and care homes, homeless shelters, jails, and prisons for abuse, neglect and compliance with federal and state laws protecting the rights of individuals with disabilities.
- Support DRCT projects and initiatives that foster self-determination and self-advocacy, and coalition building.
- Create and participate on task forces, coalitions and committees as assigned, as well conduct training and outreach activities.
- Comply with all rules of the Connecticut Bar, including but not limited to fulfilling all Continuing Legal Education requirements.
- Attending required trainings.
- Maintain accurate, confidential files which document advocacy services provided.
- Assist in preparing reports to funding sources.
- Maintain accurate time records and client records, including accurate use of the Disability Advocacy Database (DAD), which is necessary for DRCT to meet its programmatic and fiscal responsibilities, and to obtain prevailing party attorney fees when appropriate.
- Timely open and close case files regarding client matters.
- Perform related tasks consistent with skills, abilities, and general responsibilities as required to support DRCT.
- Act in accordance with identified mission, priorities and goals of DRCT.
- Travel throughout Connecticut and outside Connecticut as necessary to perform assigned job tasks.
Minimum qualifications for this position include:
- Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school or other law school approved by the Connecticut Supreme Court.
- Active Connecticut law license or be eligible to become a member of the Connecticut Bar within a reasonable time after beginning employment, and maintain such standing throughout employment with DRCT.
- Admission to the District Court of the District of Connecticut, or the ability to become admitted pro haec vice until such admission is completed.
- A minimum of 5 years of litigation experience (or significant experience in civil rights or disability law litigation).
- Have the ability to handle routine and complex litigation in state and federal courts.
- Experience in working with and for people with disabilities.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
- Ability to work efficiently, independently and collaboratively.
- Demonstrated interest and commitment to public interest law.
The Staff Attorney should also demonstrate competence in the following:
- Support diversity
- Build relationships
- Communicate effectively
- Focus on client needs
- Demonstrate professionalism
- Behave ethically
- Make decisions
- Organize priorities, work, progress, data and activities
- Work collaboratively
- Solve problems
This position description serves as a general summary and overview of the major duties and responsibilities of the job. It is not intended to represent the entirety of the job nor is it intended to be all-inclusive. Management reserves the right to modify, or rescind, this position description at any time, with or without prior notice.
Applications must include: (a) a letter expressing your interest in the position, your qualifications, and how you might contribute to the future of DRCT (b) a current resume and (c) the names and contact information of three references.
Materials should be submitted in Microsoft Word or PDF format.
Applications must be submitted by 11:59 PM on September 29, 2017. Applications may emailed to Nancy.Alisberg@disrightsct.org.
DRCT is a fair employment practices/equal opportunity/disability accessible employer committed to maintaining a diverse workplace. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law. Qualified candidates from diverse personal, cultural, and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply.