Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights seeks an experienced attorney to serve in the role of Senior Counsel. The attorney will develop and lead impact litigation and systemic policy advocacy in our core practice areas, with an emphasis on housing and equitable community development. Founded in 1969, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee is Chicago’s preeminent non-profit civil rights legal organization. Building on our history of long-standing partnerships with over 40 member law firms, our mission and strategic direction includes an explicit focus on racial equity and community-driven goals. We collaborate with grassroots organizations and other advocacy groups to implement community-based solutions that advance civil rights, and we provide legal representation through pro bono and co-counsel partnerships with the private bar. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s advocacy toolbox includes direct legal services in litigation and transactional matters, impact litigation, policy advocacy, community education, media advocacy, and coalition building. Located in downtown Chicago, Chicago Lawyers’ Committee has a 20-member staff and a $2.1 million annual budget with a healthy mix of funding sources.
Our work in the field of housing and equitable community development includes systemic litigation and advocacy to combat housing discrimination and barriers to opportunity. We investigate complaints of discrimination throughout the Chicago metropolitan area, educate people about fair housing rights and obligations and provide representation to individuals and groups to challenge discriminatory policies and practices based on race, national origin and other protected classes. We also engage in advocacy supporting equitable development and investment in historically disinvested communities of color supporting the stabilization and improvement of housing and fighting against displacement. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s other core practice areas include education equity, voting rights and civic empowerment, and public safety.
The Senior Counsel position is an exciting leadership opportunity for an experienced attorney with substantial litigation and policy advocacy experience who can bring vision, talent, and enthusiasm to the role at a time when aggressive civil rights advocacy is needed more than ever. Candidates should have significant experience addressing housing and community economic development issues, including a deep understanding of how civil rights laws can be used to address historic and entrenched systems or racial and economic segregation. Candidates should also have a strong commitment to community lawyering and be able to share examples of putting community lawyering principles to work in their practice. The Senior Counsel must demonstrate a passion for civil rights, racial equity, and community empowerment, and possess the skills needed to be a successful advocate, as well as an effective manager of people and projects. The Senior Counsel will report to and work closely with the Chief Counsel to provide leadership and supervision on litigation and advocacy projects in Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s other core practice areas.
Duties include: • Develop and lead high impact litigation and policy advocacy in the housing and equitable community development field based on systems and structural analysis with an explicit racial equity lens.
• Work with the Chief Counsel to create a more robust impact advocacy capacity at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee and serve as a resource to attorneys in other practice areas.
• Work with the executive director and development/communications team to raise the overall profile of Chicago Lawyers’ Committee with funders, law firms, community partners, and media.
• Collaborate with other Chicago Lawyers’ Committee advocates to identify intersections and develop integrated advocacy approaches that advance racial equity and economic opportunity for the clients and communities we serve.
• Build strong relationships with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee member law firms and pro bono counsel through support, training and co-counseling opportunities on education matters.
Qualifications: • Law degree • 6 + years of experience as a litigator and policy advocate, preferably in the field of civil rights, with a deep knowledge of, and experience in, housing or equitable community development. • Experience as a supervisor or in a senior attorney role highly preferred. • Excellent writing and public speaking skills. • High degree of flexibility, ability to multi-task, significant initiative, and attention to details and accuracy. • Excellent people skills, the ability to build a motivated and productive team, and the ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups and individuals. • Cross cultural competencies and self-awareness around issues of power, privilege, and difference. Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We prioritize equity and inclusion in our organizational culture and hiring. We welcome all applicants regardless of race, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age, disability, parental status, marital status or on any other identity factor.
Additional Salary Information: D.O.E. Generous benefits include PTO; paid holidays; health, dental, life and disability insurance for employees (dependent coverage available); and tax-deferred annuity plan available.