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 higher poverty communities, and counteract racial disparities.
OCA seeks a Zoning Staff Attorney with a diverse range of legal and advocacy skills, including the ability to successfully litigate in state and federal court or aptitude to do so, advocate for administrative changes at the state and municipal levels in support of affordable housing proposals and equitable zoning policies, conduct community trainings on planning, zoning, and civil rights topics, and develop and advance statewide planning and zoning reforms. The successful candidate will be an attorney with demonstrated skills in creatively using legal knowledge in a broad range of forums and settings to protect the rights of lower-income people and people of color.
The Zoning Staff Attorney must be deeply committed to social justice and prepared to work as part of a team to apply the principles of the Fair Housing Act to the planning and zoning systems that generate segregation and its impact in Connecticut. The Zoning Staff Attorney may also work on other aspects of OCA’s work to affirmatively further fair housing.
The Zoning Staff Attorney will report to the Legal Director. Responsibilities will include:
- Case Development and Execution: In partnership with OCA’s Legal Director, a position for which applications are currently being accepted, and typically with the assistance of pro bono counsel, develop and maintain a focused caseload of planning and zoning civil rights litigation in federal and state court. (40% of time)
- State & Municipal Advocacy: Review state and municipal planning and zoning policies and advocate for changes that advance equitable planning and zoning. This includes testifying at zoning hearings and before state agencies. (20% of time)
Community Engagement & Education: Provide education to community partners in communities with restrictive zoning practices about their impact and pathways to more equitable approaches. (10% of time)
Policy Development: Assist the organization to continue to develop its Fair Share Planning and Zoning initiative, including companion policies that support affordable housing development. (30% of time)
Time percentages are approximate and the Zoning Staff Attorney may also work on other aspects of OCA’s legal priorities.
We are looking for candidates who:
- Have at least four (4) years of litigation experience in state or federal court or experience that demonstrates the potential to litigate in federal court if the candidate has not done so previous, ideally with two-plus (2+) years in the fields of housing, land use, or civil rights.
- 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.
- 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 “Zoning Staff Attorney” in the subject line. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.
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.