Staff Attorney - Institutions Project

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Job location
101 Yesler Way
Suite 300
Seattle, WA 98104
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Columbia Legal Services
Street address: 
101 Yesler Way, Suite 300
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

Program Description:
For many years, Columbia Legal Services has represented some of the most marginalized people in our community. We use every legal tool available on their behalf. Our role to serve people and use advocacy that might otherwise not be available makes our work an integral part of the Washington Alliance for Equal Justice. Our vision of justice is when people have the necessary tools and opportunity to achieve social and economic justice, a more equitable and inclusive society is possible. Through large-scale litigation, policy reform, and innovative partnerships, our lawyers and other staff work in furtherance of our mission. The ideal candidate for any position at Columbia Legal Services will be able to articulate their role in the achievement of that vision.

Columbia Legal Services seeks an Institutions Project Full-Time Staff Attorney to engage in systemic advocacy on behalf of people in facilities for the developmentally disabled, psychiatric hospitals, and adult and juvenile state and local correctional facilities throughout Washington. Our attorney will:
• Work with our team on complex multi-forum advocacy, including litigation, legislative and other policy advocacy, media and grassroots outreach campaigns, and academic research;
• Identify practices and laws that address and improve conditions of confinement, discrimination, sentencing and placement, alternatives to institutionalization, and access to courts, as well as issues related to rehabilitation, reentry, and reductions in recidivism.
• Coordinate with other advocacy groups and the private bar to identify opportunities and execute strategies to advance the law in protecting marginalized communities.
• Be available to travel occasionally around the state and nationally; may include regular travel to Olympia during the legislative session.


• Minimum of 5 years of litigation experience. Judicial clerkships, fellowships, or externships may be counted as up to one year of litigation experience.
• A demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing issues facing low-income and vulnerable people, particularly people in institutions or who have been involved in the criminal justice system, is required.
• Demonstrated commitment to racial, social, and economic justice.
• Initiative and creativity, including ability to master new legal areas, operate at a high advocacy level, and consider multi-forum advocacy approaches.
• Excellent research, writing, negotiation, and analytical skills.
• Ability to manage a variety of cases and projects simultaneously and willingness to work in a collaborative environment.
• Experience in impact litigation, particularly in public interest and civil rights law.
• Cultural competence and experience working with low-income client communities.
• Spanish language skills a plus.
• Washington State Bar member or willingness to seek admission as soon as possible upon hiring.

This job description is not designed to cover or contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required for the position.

CLS offers a competitive compensation package with a salary scale commensurate with experience, and generous holiday, paid time off, and health care benefits.

To apply: 

Position is open until filled. Please note that due to the volume of applications received, CLS is unable to respond to every application. CLS will contact you if we decide to pursue your application. If you apply by e-mail, please make Institutions Project Staff Attorney your subject line. Please send your letter of interest, resume, and writing sample to:
Trisa Kern, Director of Program Administration
Columbia Legal Services
101 Yesler Way Suite 300
Seattle, Washington, 98104
[email protected]

Columbia Legal Services is committed to a policy of pluralism and equal opportunity in an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices for its client communities, Board and staff. Pluralism refers to the active promotion of mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity among people who are diverse in work background, experience, education, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religious preference, marital status, sexual orientation, sensory, mental and physical abilities, veteran status, or any other perceived differences. The resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness. If you need a reasonable accommodation for the application process, contact Sharon Nyland at 206-464-1122 or [email protected]
Salary range: 
Salary scale commensurate with experience.
Submission deadline: 
Saturday, January 14, 2017