Prisoners’ Rights Litigation Attorney (Seattle, Olympia, or Spokane)
People with disabilities, people of color, formerly institutionalized or incarcerated individuals, and those from other oppressed groups and all protected classes are strongly encouraged to apply. Disability Rights Washington (DRW) looks forward to reviewing all applicants, including applicants who have concerns about how accepting this job could affect their eligibility for Medicaid or other programs.
Summary of Position
DRW’s Amplifying Voices of Inmates with Disabilities (AVID) Program seeks a full-time prisoners’ rights litigator with a demonstrated interest in conducting impact litigation to enforce the legal rights of incarcerated individuals enduring abuse, neglect, or other human and civil rights violations. This position will require a licensed attorney with the ability to conduct systemic investigations, develop complex advocacy strategies, and represent both classes and individuals. The AVID Program enjoys DRW’s unique access authority, which will allow the attorney the ability to see firsthand the conditions in Washington prisons and jails, even in the most secluded and segregated parts of those facilities.
The ideal candidate would have lived and/or professional experience relating to the AVID Program’s practice areas, which include, but are not limited to: addressing discrimination, improving conditions of confinement for people experiencing incarceration, supporting community reentry from institutionalization or incarceration, and ending abuse and neglect. The attorney for this position must have a commitment and capacity to produce high quality legal analysis and to provide effective advocacy through complex civil litigation as well as informal and alternative dispute resolution. All DRW attorneys must demonstrate dedication to DRW’s values of inclusion, diversity, and equity  as well as the values of individual autonomy, community integration, universal accessibility, freedom from restraint, and respectful language. DRW seeks applicants who have the ability to work independently in a team of supportive colleagues and are seeking to join in our mission to “advance the dignity, equality, and self-determination of people with disabilities.”
Attorneys for the AVID Program provide an array of advocacy services to individuals with disabilities experiencing incarceration to enforce their rights under the Washington State and federal constitutions and laws such as the Washington Law Against Discrimination and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Advocacy services by AVID Program attorneys may include, but are not limited to:
- Conducting systemic and individual investigations,
- Monitoring facilities for rights violations,
- Providing trainings and technical assistance,
- Engaging in informal advocacy and negotiations,
- Conducting impact litigation in state and federal courts, and
- Educating state and local policy makers.
The attorney must:
- Have a Juris Doctor degree from an accredited school of law and be a member in good standing of a state bar association and a member in good standing with the Washington State Bar Association within one year of assuming the position,
- Have the ability and desire to litigate,
- Demonstrate skills in the areas of investigation, interviewing, legal research, case strategy, administrative law, and advanced advocacy techniques,
- Demonstrate ability to effectively present information to a wide variety of audiences using a variety of media,
- Demonstrate ability to facilitate meetings and discussions,
- Maintain ethical and organizational standards, communicate a position well, respectfully consider other positions, and treat people of different positions and backgrounds with respect and dignity,
- Have lived and/or professional experiences involving disability rights issues or public interest law, and
- Maintain a clear Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) background check status that allows visits to DOC facilities (previous criminal convictions are not an absolute bar).
It is desired that the attorney has:
- Multi-lingual ability in languages common to Washington State residents,
- 2 – 9 years of experience working as an attorney in a non-profit or public interest setting,
- Deep roots in the disability community with knowledge and experience in the independent living and self-advocacy movements.
Equal Opportunity Employer
Disability Rights Washington values diversity of culture, disability and other life experiences, and is an equal opportunity employer by choice. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, religion, race, color, citizenship, veteran status, or disability. We endorse and support the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Washington Law Against Discrimination and we are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are applicants or employees who need accommodations.
Disability Rights Washington is a private nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of people with disabilities across Washington. We are designated by the governor as the independent federally-mandated protection and advocacy system for Washington State. As such, Disability Rights Washington promotes, expands, and protects the human and civil rights of people with disabilities. For information about us, please visit: https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/ . For specific information about the AVID Program, visit: https://www.disabilityrightswa.org/programs/avid/ .
Compensation and Benefits
Annual salary range is $56,000 to $71,000 depending on years of practice. Position is full-time. Benefits include generous leave, excellent health, dental, and vision coverage for the employee at no cost and the employee’s family at very low cost, 5% employer contribution to 401k regardless of employee contribution, flex spending account for medical and dependent care expenses, disability and life insurance, transit or parking benefit, Costco membership, and a negotiated amount of financial assistance with moving expenses if needed.
Please complete an online application below, making sure to upload a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three professional reference contacts. Preferred writing samples for this position should showcase written advocacy skills and may include legal memoranda or briefs, demand letters, editorials, or other articles expressing an opinion or argument. Cover letter should indicate order of preference for Seattle, Olympia, or Spokane office.
We would like to fill this position as soon as practicable. Submissions will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Submissions will be accepted until the position is filled. Reasonable accommodations for any portion of the application or interview process are available at request.