Open Communities Alliance (OCA) is a Connecticut-based civil rights non-profit. We work to confront the state’s deep levels of residential segregation in order to provide low-income families of color access to opportunity, spur investment in Black and Latino communities, and counteract racial disparities.
OCA seeks a Legal Director to spearhead its enforcement and systemic reform efforts. The Legal Director must be deeply committed to social justice and work as part of a team to apply the principles of the Fair Housing Act to counteract the systems that continue to perpetuate segregation and its impact in Connecticut, including laws and policies affecting zoning, housing vouchers, and subsidized housing. The Legal Director will be responsible for executing existing organizational strategies to advance systemic changes in these areas, as well as collaborating to generate new approaches. The Legal Director will also conduct legal and policy research on relevant programs, work with pro bono legal and other organizational partners to pursue litigation, where appropriate, undertake advocacy campaigns, and participate in fair housing trainings as part of OCA’s outreach efforts.
The Legal Director will report to the Executive Director and oversee the work of a growing legal team. Responsibilities will include:
- Case Development and Execution: Develop and maintain a focused caseload of housing civil rights litigation in federal and state court and administrative litigation at HUD and supervise other legal staff doing the same. Collaborate with OCA’s legal staff to ensure development of a consistent pipeline of new matters to be pursued by OCA, both directly and as co-counsel with organizational partners and pro bono law firms.
- Leadership and Supervision: Provide leadership, guidance, strategic direction, and day-to-day supervision for OCA’s legal staff and work across all programmatic areas. Assist with recruitment and serve as a resource for pro bono law firms and organizational partners. Engage with other civil rights and fair housing litigators nationally to coordinate and develop innovative new strategies. Develop ongoing relationships with social scientists to develop insights into impacts of state and local housing and related policies.
- Policy Advocacy, Community Outreach and Organizational Visibility: Ensure that community meetings, community outreach, policy advocacy, and legislative advocacy are strategically aligned with the development of impact litigation and policy reform in targeted areas. Support leveraging of policy advocacy and community outreach to ensure that OCA remains visible across diverse communities and social justice movements. Collaborate with organizations around the country and foster relationships with pro bono attorneys and organizational partners.
We are looking for candidates who:
- Have at least five (5) years of litigation experience, including in federal court, ideally with two-plus (2+) years in the fields of housing, land use, or civil rights, and a background in negotiating challenging civil rights matters. More experienced attorneys with other litigation experience who are interested in transitioning to the non-profit field are encouraged to apply.
- Possess the following competencies and attributes: creative and strategic thinker/problem solver; self-aware and curious; committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion; ambitious and collaborative work ethic; detail-oriented; easily able to communicate with and build relationships across differences.
- Are excited about and committed to OCA’s mission as well as broader social change, including being part of an advocacy ecosystem in which OCA provides one part of a broader solution.
- Possess excellent legal research, writing, and oral argument skills.
- Live in Connecticut or are willing to relocate.
- Are admitted to practice in Connecticut or are willing to apply.
- Have a strong command of Westlaw and Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint).
The ideal candidate will operate with a strong equity and diversity lens, contributing to organizational values of objectivity, integrity, civility, and diversity and supporting the inclusive culture of OCA.
If you are an experienced lawyer and a strong leader who has a passionate belief that Connecticut must achieve greater equity and opportunity in housing and who wants to work with an equally passionate, dynamic, and supportive team — we hope you will apply!
Salary & Benefits
This is a full-time permanent position with a base salary of $100,000. Additional remuneration and responsibilities commensurate with experience. OCA offers the option of a flexible schedule and hybrid working environment. OCA also provides excellent benefits, including medical and dental insurance (OCA pays 100% of employees’ and 75% of dependents’ medical insurance premiums, while dental insurance premiums are 100% employee-paid), 15 vacation days (increasing to 21 days after one year of employment), 15 sick days, 3 personal days, 2 flex-holidays and 11 standard holidays, along with, a 401(k) retirement plan (after completing six months of employment) with a 3% contribution from OCA regardless of employee contribution.
Please submit a resume and cover letter to [email protected] and include “Legal Director” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, with priority given to applications received by March 31st.
If you require a disability-related accommodation to submit your application, please email [email protected] Otherwise, due to high volume we are unable to respond to queries about application status.
OCA is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, age, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, disability or any other status protected by law.
Research has shown that traditionally marginalized communities (people of color, people with disabilities, etc.) often don’t apply for jobs if they don’t meet every single qualification. If you think you can do this job but don’t meet every qualification, we encourage you to still apply.
We seek to build diversity, equity, and inclusion both within our organization and in partnership and allyship with the communities we serve.