Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights seeks an attorney to serve in the role of Program Counsel. This attorney will join an integrated and collaborative advocacy team focused on three core practice areas: Education Equity, Equitable Community Development and Housing, and Voting Rights and Civic Empowerment. This Program Counsel position will provide transactional legal services and policy advocacy to promote entrepreneurship and small business development as part of the Equitable Community Development and Housing practice area. The Program Counsel will report directly to our Chief Counsel.
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 30 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 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.
In establishing Chicago Lawyers’ Committee in 1969, the founding attorneys and law firms had a clear vision: to make the resources of large law firms available to community organizations, minority-owned businesses, and individuals fighting discrimination, especially where the issues could have broader impact. They understood that access to expert legal resources, particularly in connection with business law problems, is essential to gaining power in our economic and political system.
Our work in the Equitable Community Development and Housing practice area includes (1) transactional legal services for eligible small businesses, social enterprises, worker cooperatives, and nonprofits, (2) policy advocacy supporting equitable community development and investment in historically disinvested communities of color, (3) litigation to dismantle deeply entrenched systems of discrimination, racism, and economic oppression; and 4) litigation and policy advocacy to enforce fair housing laws and promote inclusive and open communities.
The Program Counsel position is an exciting opportunity for an attorney with transactional and policy advocacy experience who can bring vision, talent, and enthusiasm to the role at a time when investment and economic development in communities of color is needed more than ever. Candidates should have experience representing small businesses and/or nonprofits in corporate transactional matters, and a deep understanding of how policy advocacy for equitable community development 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 Program Counsel must demonstrate a passion for racial equity, community empowerment, and economic justice.
Transactional Legal Services and Pro Bono Coordination
Collaborate with community partners on how to best serve the non-litigation legal needs of small businesses and entrepreneurs
Screen clients and legal matters for eligibility for pro bono legal services
Work remotely on-site out of the neighborhood offices of select community partners
Provide brief legal services and direct representation of small businesses, social enterprises, and worker cooperatives in transactional matters
Build strong relationships with Chicago Lawyers’ Committee’s pro bono partners through support and CLE trainings.
Conduct transactional legal clinics in collaboration with community partners and pro bono partners
Provide legal and technical support for community-based policy advocacy
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.
Community Education and Outreach
Develop educational materials and presentations on topics relating to transactional legal matters, economic opportunity, and equitable community development
Build and maintain relationships with community partners and local entrepreneurship training programs
2 + years of experience as a transactional attorney and/or policy advocate, preferably in the field of equitable community development, representing small businesses, social enterprises, worker cooperatives, and nonprofits.
Experience working with community organizations, community development corporations, economic development organizations, organizers, residents, and/or coalitions
Flexibility in scheduling, as some evenings and weekends will be required.
High degree of flexibility and willingness to work on a broad range of legal issues, ability to multi-task, significant initiative, and attention to details and accuracy.
Ability to prioritize tasks and work effectively in a fast-paced environment
Excellent people skills, especially the ability to communicate effectively with diverse groups and individuals.
Cross cultural competencies and self-awareness around issues of power, privilege, and difference.
Excellent writing and public speaking skills.
Bilingual in English and Spanish, including written skills, preferred
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: Generous benefits include PTO; paid holidays; health, dental, life and disability insurance for employees (dependent coverage available); and tax-deferred annuity plan available.
Internal Number: 3126309744
About The Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Inc.
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 30 member law firms, our mission and strategic direction includes an explicit focus on racial equity and community-driven goals. We provide legal representation through pro bono and co-counsel partnerships with the private bar and collaborate with grassroots organizations and other advocacy groups to implement community-based solutions that advance civil rights. 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 equitable community development and housing includes advocacy supporting investment and economic development in historically disinvested communities of color supporting the stabilization and improvement of housing and fighting against displacement. We also undertake sys...temic litigation to combat discriminatory policies and practices and barriers to housing 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 discrimination based on race, national origin and other protected classes. Examples of our recent work include systemic litigation challenging the use of billion dollar tax subsidies that perpetuate economic and racial segregation and federal litigation challenging housing admissions policies with overly-broad criminal background bans.