Legal Director - Community Equity Initiative (Hybrid)

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Job location
1020 15th Street
Modesto, CA 95354
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
Street address: 
1430 Franklin St Suite 103
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

WHO WE ARE: Founded in 1966, CRLAs mission is to fight for justice and individual rights alongside the most exploited communities of our society. California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. offers legal services that defend the rights of the rural poor and change the unjust systems that oppress them. Our advocates believe that rural communities can thrive, and that the justice system can be worked to the advantage of people who reject poverty and discrimination. The work we advance spans an impressive gamut of venues and stands on a bold legacy of success and a vision for the prosperity of our clients. The Community Equity Initiative (CEI) addresses environmental justice issues in some of Californias most underinvested communities.

Position: Legal Director

Experience: 5+ years
Application Deadline: Open until filled
Location: Modesto, Fresno, or Salinas (hybrid)
Term of Employment: Regular, Full-Time
Other: FLSA Exempt, Non-Union Position

Position Description

Reporting to the Deputy Director, the CEI Legal Director will lead a dynamic team based in three CRLA offices to implement creative advocacy strategies to address community-identified environmental justice issues. The CEI Legal Director will be responsible for setting the vision of the program, supervising program staff, strategic advocacy, and collaborating on grant acquisition and management.

CEI utilizes a community lawyering model to address environmental justice issues in disadvantaged communities. The model calls for creative, innovative advocacy that uses a multipronged approach to address the issues and their systemic roots. Approaches such as community leadership development and advocacy around policies are as important to the work as traditional legal advocacy.

The CEI program covers a wide array of legal areas ranging from access to services such as water and broadband to the inequitable distribution of resources and siting of hazardous land uses. CEIs client communities are Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities (DUCs) that suffer the consequences of historic underinvestment and discriminatory policies. They bear the burden of unjust and inequitable conditions and decisions.

Essential Responsibilities

Supervision of Program Staff and Advocacy

Oversight and supervision of Community Equity Initiative staff and advocacy.
Supervise and guide staffs advocacy work, including assessing legal needs and reviewing and editing litigation-related documents. The Legal Director ensures that case handling complies with CRLA policies, Legal Services Corporation regulations, the ABA Standards for the Provision of Civil Legal Services, and ethical obligations.
Conduct periodic case review meetings with staff to monitor for quality legal services and compliance with all applicable policies and regulations.
Supervise and guide staff development, including evaluating staff and developing and implementing professional development plans.
Strategic Advocacy

Litigate impact cases as lead or co-counsel and/or work on systemic advocacy.
Raise awareness of Disadvantaged Unincorporated Communities and CRLAs work through media, participation in conferences, and collaboration with other organizations, agencies, and issue- and community-based coalitions.
Program Management

Develop and implement the annual CEI work plan. The work plan serves as a blueprint for systemic advocacy and sets out a results-oriented program that blends various advocacy approaches to impact change locally, nationally, and statewide.
Work with the Development and Finance teams to evaluate and apply for grant opportunities. Understand, monitor, and ensure fulfillment of grant deliverables and necessary outcomes, including timekeeping and other LSC requirements.
In collaboration with the CRLA Leadership Team, coordinate the general administration of CEI, including developing and overseeing the CEI budget.
Organizational Responsibilities

Collaborate with other CRLA Legal Directors to improve CRLAs organizational effectiveness and capacity.
Support the establishment of policies and programs that promote a desirable organizational culture and vision.
Model appropriate leadership behaviors and take swift action to mitigate behaviors that compromise CRLA values. In collaboration with Human Resources, ensure a culture of knowledge sharing and continued learning.



Minimum of five (5) years of experience practicing law, preferably with an environmental justice focus in the areas of local planning, infrastructure and municipal services, exposure to environmental harms, or civil rights.

Minimum of five (5) years of supervisory experience and/or proven ability to organize and supervise the casework and advocacy of team members.
Knowledge and commitment to community lawyering principles.
Demonstrated ability to interact constructively and maintain positive relations with diverse populations and team members.
Demonstrated commitment to working with low-income, marginalized, and diverse populations.
Admitted to the California Bar or any other State Bar and willing to take the next California Bar Exam.
Preferred Qualifications:

Experience in a non-profit legal services environment.
Fluency in another language, preferably English & Spanish.
Experience in obtaining grants and managing them through to completion.
This job description is not designed to contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties, or responsibilities that are required for this job. Duties, responsibilities, and activities may change at any time, with or without notice.


We offer a diverse, family-friendly environment and compensation based on competitive public interest salaries; the estimated starting annual salary range for this position is: $105,000 - $160,0000 (placement in the range is primarily determined by years of related experience). Generous benefits package which includes 100% employer-covered medical, dental, vision, life, and short & long-term disability insurance for employees and up to 50% for dependents coverage; and 401K retirement plan with CRLA contribution effective immediately. Some professional dues are paid by CRLA (Bar Fees) and, if qualified, up to $6,000 law school Loan Reimbursement Assistance Program (LRAP). Generous paid leave policy, which includes; 15 days of sick leave, 15 holidays each year, and vacation (accrue 15 days for the first year of service and 20 days after one year of service at CRLA).

To apply: 

CRLA requires that all employees are Fully Vaccinated, defined as a CDC-approved COVID vaccination and one booster shot. This offer is contingent on meeting this requirement. The complete vaccination policy, including the process for reasonable allowable accommodations, is available for your review upon request.

California Rural Legal Assistance Inc. thrives on our diversity, and we are proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We are committed to building a culturally diverse workplace and strongly encourage women, persons of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, veterans, persons with disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups to apply.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
105,000 - 160,000
Submission deadline: 
Friday, May 26, 2023