Open Communities Alliance (OCA) seeks a skilled and dynamic attorney to join our team of civil rights advocates dedicated to systems change.
OCA is a civil rights non-profit confronting Connecticut’s deep history of residential segregation, which deprives many low-income families of color access to opportunity. This position is a rare opportunity for an attorney ready to address income, wealth and opportunity divisions that result from systemic racism. Applications are welcome from both very experienced and less-experienced attorneys.
Under current funding, the Staff Attorney will be responsible for monitoring affordable and multifamily housing zoning proposals across the state, including attending hearings (which, during the pandemic, are held virtually), analyzing fair housing implications of towns’ responses and decisions, preparing comment letters, engaging in advocacy to relevant officials, and, where appropriate, pursuing enforcement activities including filing administrative complaints and/or developing and initiating litigation. The Staff Attorney will also conduct research and advocacy on the fair housing implications of municipal zoning regulations in regard to multi-family and affordable housing development, assist with the development of OCA’s new fair housing testing program, and participate in fair housing trainings as part of OCA’s outreach efforts. With future funding the attorney in this position may work on other aspects of fair housing law and litigation. This is a full-time permanent position that includes a competitive benefits package. Salary, title, and responsibilities commensurate with experience.
About Open Communities Alliance
Open Communities Alliance is a Connecticut-based civil rights organization that promotes access to opportunity for all people through education, organizing, advocacy, research, and partnerships. The Alliance works to build an urban-suburban interracial coalition to support policies that counteract the impact of segregation. Our strategies include legal advocacy, litigation, policy advocacy, opportunity mapping, research, publication of resources, and data analysis. You can see reports on some of our recent work here.
OCA attorneys are responsible for:
- Building and maintaining relationships with clients and project partners.
- Researching, monitoring and addressing potentially exclusionary zoning policies and decisions statewide.
- Investigating potential fair housing civil rights violations.
- Conducting outreach and education on fair housing and exclusionary zoning issues.
- Writing publications and engaging in policy advocacy to expand public understanding of the impact of zoning and other policies on race-based differences in opportunity.
- When necessary, litigation of exclusionary zoning cases and potentially other fair housing cases, typically with pro bono counsel.
- Contribute in a variety of other ways to the advancement of OCA’s mission.
Who we are looking for:
- Licensed to practice law in Connecticut and admitted to the U.S. District Court, District of Connecticut or willing to apply.
- Strategic thinker and creative problem solver; self-aware and curious; committed to diversity, equity and inclusion; ambitious and collaborative work ethic; detail oriented; ability to communicate with and build relationships across differences easily.
- Excited about and committed to OCA’s mission and social change more generally.
- Excellent legal research, writing, and oral argument skills.
- Command of Westlaw and Microsoft Office, specifically Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
- Three years or more of litigation experience, including some experience litigating in federal court. (Candidates who served as judicial law clerks but have practiced fewer than three years are encouraged to apply.)
- Experience with housing, land use or civil rights litigation.
- Experience negotiating complex or challenging disputes in litigation or pre-litigation settings.
- A demonstrated ability to work with experts, and/or experience with analyzing and deploying data in discrimination cases.
Position to begin as soon as possible. Small stipend available for relocation from out of state. Please submit a resume and cover letter explaining your interest in the position and why you would be a good fit for OCA to email@example.com and include “OCA Attorney” in the subject line. Applications will be open until the position is filled.
Open Communities Alliance does not discriminate on the basis of race, age, creed, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex, gender, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy or any other basis protected from discrimination under applicable law. Open Communities Alliance is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action employer fully committed to achieving a diverse workforce and complies with all Federal and State laws, regulations, and executive orders regarding non-discrimination and affirmative action.
If you are interested in volunteering, please explore our volunteer page.
Open Communities Alliance also hosts volunteer interns from undergraduate and graduate institutions and law schools. If you are interested, please visit our internship page.