Equitable Neighborhoods Staff Attorney (FT)

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About TakeRoot Justice

TakeRoot Justice provides legal, participatory research and policy support to strengthen the work of grassroots and community-based groups in New York City to dismantle racial, economic and social oppression. We employ a unique model of partnership with grassroots and community-based groups. Our partners take the lead in determining the priorities and goals for our work, and advance our understanding of justice.

About the Equitable Neighborhoods practice area

The Equitable Neighborhoods practice area works with grassroots groups, neighborhood organizations and community coalitions to make sure that people of color, immigrants and low-income residents are not ignored or pushed out in the name of “progress.” We partner with residents in historically under-resourced areas to fight for stable and affordable housing, community spaces, jobs to make a good living and other opportunities that allow people to thrive. TakeRoot Justice is one of the only legal services organizations in New York City that provides free legal representation in land-use cases, which are increasingly important in the fight against displacement. We support our partners with a variety of legal strategies, including litigation, legislative and administrative advocacy, trainings, and strategy development.

Responsibilities

We are seeking a staff attorney to help provide legal support to our partners and clients in a wide variety of subject-matter areas, including land-use law, environmental law, nonprofit organizations, and commercial leasing for small businesses. Our work changes as our partners’ needs change. Our current work includes:

  • Helping grassroots organizations shape the future of development in their neighborhoods, including by supporting community-initiated rezonings, providing legal and strategic advice to campaigns, and researching new avenues for advocacy;
  • Supporting community land trusts in incorporating, developing leases and other key documents, and acquiring property;
  • Supporting NYCHA residents and organizers in addressing proposals for the future of NYCHA, including legal research, strategic advice, developing and conducting trainings, and potentially litigation;
  • Litigation on behalf of community organizations to enforce land-use and environmental-review laws in the face of public and private rezoning and development proposals;
  • Providing legal and strategic advice to partners and clients working to guarantee that development benefits the people that live and work near the land under development, including negotiating and drafting legally binding community-benefits agreements;
  • Administrative advocacy on behalf of nonprofit organizations and community anchors, before the Department of City Planning, the City Planning Commission, the Board of Standards and Appeals, and the Tax Commission;
  • Advising coalitions on political strategies to achieve legislative change, including legal research and drafting legislative or regulatory language;
  • Supporting small-business organizing, including by supporting individual or groups of small businesses in commercial-lease matters;
  • Maintaining online resources for use by partners, clients and the public; and
  • Developing and maintaining relationships with private and public funders to support the work of the practice area.

In addition, all TakeRoot staff members participate in the governance and growth of the organization by, among other things, participating in at least one of TakeRoot’s “Circles”—committees of staff members empowered to make decisions in specific areas of the organization’s governance.

Qualifications

This position requires:

  • Admission to the NY Bar, pending admission, or ability to be admitted on motion;
  • Demonstrated commitment to grassroots efforts for economic, racial, and social justice;
  • Strong writing and analytical skills;
  • Demonstrated ability to work with diverse groups of clients and partners; and
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively.

In addition, we strongly prefer candidates with:

  • 3+ years of post-law-school experience in civil legal services or comparable work;
  • Familiarity with land-use, environmental, nonprofit, commercial-leasing, and/or housing law in New York City;
  • Experience in know-your-rights training or developing popular-education materials;
  • Experience with New York State and New York City legislative and/or budget advocacy;
  • Experience with affirmative litigation and/or administrative advocacy;
  • Ability to work professionally in a non-English language frequently spoken in New York City, including Spanish, Chinese (Mandarin, Cantonese, or Taiwanese), a South Asian language, Korean, Arabic, or Polish;
  • Experience working with social-justice groups or community organizers; and
  • Lived experience in the communities in which TakeRoot and its partners works.

Benefits and compensation

TakeRoot staff receive a salary competitive in the NYC legal-services community; staff attorneys are on a fixed salary scale, with salary determined by years of relevant experience (pre- and post-law school). TakeRoot offers an excellent benefits package, including generous vacation, personal, holiday, and sick days and strong medical, dental, and vision coverage. This is a non-exempt position, and part of a bargaining unit represented for collective-bargaining purposes by the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW, Local 2320.

Timeline and instructions

The anticipated start date for this position is in January 2021; an earlier start date is possible. Interested applicants should apply by November 15, 2020. To apply, please send a resume and cover letter to Daniel Carpenter-Gold (he/him) at jobs@takerootjustice.org, with the subject line “EN Staff Attorney”.

TakeRoot Justice is an equal opportunity employer. TakeRoot encourages applications from people with diverse backgrounds, including women, people of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQ people, people from low-income backgrounds, and people with personal experience with the criminal justice system. We strongly encourage applications from people with lived experiences in the communities we serve.