SRLP is hiring a Director and Staff Attorney for the Survival and Self-Determination Project!
SRLP’s Mission & Our Direct Services Team
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) works to guarantee that all people are free to self-determine their gender identity and expression, regardless of income or race, and without facing harassment, discrimination, or violence. SRLP is a collective organization founded on the understanding that gender self-determination is inextricably intertwined with racial, social, and economic justice. We seek to increase the political voice and visibility of low-income people and people of color who are transgender, gender non-conforming, and/or intersex (TGNCI). SRLP works to improve access to respectful and affirming social, health, and legal services for our communities. We believe that in order to create meaningful political participation and leadership, we must have access to basic means of survival and safety from violence.
The Direct Services Team (DST) of SRLP consists of three projects: Survival and Self-Determination, Immigrant Justice, and Prisoner Justice. While each project reflects a specific area of expertise, DST meets multiple times each week as a team to strengthen our collective response to legal tasks.
In our Survival and Self-Determination (S&S) Project, we meet our clients’ immediate needs to live safe and authentic lives. Historically and currently, this has largely focused on providing quality legal services for: (1) name changes and gender marker corrections on identity documents, and (2) navigating concerns with shelters and public benefits in New York City with the Department of Homeless Services and the Human Resources Administration (e.g., reporting discrimination, advocating for emergency shelter transfers). Following the landmark case Cruz v. Zucker, the S&S Director is also responsible for informing the community of their rights when accessing healthcare under Medicaid and representing clients as they navigate healthcare concerns, such as in fair hearings.
The two other DST projects include our Immigrant Justice Project, which works holistically with community members seeking to gain or maintain immigration status, and the Prisoner Justice Project, which advocates on behalf of our incarcerated community members to address conditions within New York State prisons and the New York City jails. The Director of Client Services functions as a client-attorney liaison, legal interpreter and translator, and non-legal direct service provider in conjunction with all three projects.
All DST staff participate in public education, including conference engagements and cultural competency trainings to providers, the courts, law firms, and governmental agencies, and work in coalition with our membership to identify and provide advocacy on specific policy concerns where SRLP is in a position to provide assistance in changing oppressive laws and internal policies.
Job Description: Director of the Survival and Self-Determination Project
The Director is responsible for the work of the Survival and Self-Determination Project and collaborating with other SRLP staff to provide direct services, public education, policy work, impact litigation, and organizing support to advance the rights of transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming people.
Responsibilities include all aspects of providing direct services to a caseload of low/no income clients. The Director handles an individual caseload in areas of name change, updating identity documents with government agencies, navigating Medicaid including representation in fair hearings, and assistance in advocating with governmental agencies and hospitals, including HRA, DHS, etc. Historically, this position has had a client waitlist, and the Director is also responsible for maintaining contact with waitlisted individuals in a respectful and timely way. The Director is also part of the legal intake team that staffs our weekly legal intake clinic from approximately February to October each year.
In addition, the Director is responsible for larger policy work to affect systemic change for the survival of our members. Such work may include tracking complaints received in order to help identify areas for policy growth, regular meetings with SRLP’s Movement Building Team and core membership, participation in coalitions, and planning potential impact litigation with partner organizations. Some of the policy work currently engaged in includes promoting non-binary IDs at the city and state level, eliminating remaining barriers to accessing gender affirming IDs in NYS and NYC, and training employees of New York State courts to be more TGNCI-affirming.
All SRLP staff engage in community education and trainings for membership, students, governmental agencies, and service providers. The Director will be responsible for providing trainings, updating trainings by working with SRLP’s Public Education Team and the Director of Outreach and Community Engagement, and creating and maintaining written Know Your Rights materials that reflect the needs of our community.
Finally, the Director will supervise or co-supervise interns throughout the year. This position may also include supervising and supporting pro bono and/or volunteer lawyers.
Structure and Supervision
Because SRLP is a non-hierarchical organization with no Executive Director, all staff members play a key role in daily operations, organizational development, and governance by the SRLP Collective. Participation in staff-level organizational, programmatic, and administrative decision making and monthly Collective meetings is essential. All staff members also have the capability and control over their own project areas to design the parameters of their role, based on community need and staff skill sets.
Further, DST staff must engage meaningfully in co-supervision with other members of the Direct Services Team. As there is no supervising attorney or legal director, it is the responsibility of DST staff to use each other as accountability mechanism resources for case list maintenance and other job responsibilities, and, as needed, seek out mentorship and supervision from a network of New York City attorneys available to support SRLP’s work.
Qualifications We Are Looking For
The applicant should possess the following qualifications:
- Law degree or equivalent legal knowledge
- Admission to practice law in New York State or admission/application pending
- Political commitment to gender self-determination, racial and economic justice, prison abolition, and immigrant justice
- Knowledge of working with low-income transgender, intersex, and gender non-conforming communities of color
- Familiarity with name changes, ID replacement, Medicaid, and administrative law, or other areas of law practice requiring attention to detail
- Experience providing holistic direct legal services and support to clients in crisis or trauma
- Comfort with taking initiative in managing a direct services project area, self-managing one’s workload, and asking for supervision and support where needed
- Willingness to work in a collective, non-hierarchical environment with consensus-based decision making
- Commitment to a disability justice-centered work environment, including learning others’ communications styles, respecting them, and sharing your own
- Ability to set strong boundaries and respond constructively to conflict
- Experience supervising interns and volunteers
Desired Additional Qualifications
- 2-5 years of experience as an attorney or work in a legal services office preferred
- Fluency in Spanish and English
- Experience leading Know Your Rights trainings and other public education presentations
- Experience negotiating with NYC, NYS, or other government agencies
- Experience working within network of NYC direct legal service providers for the TGNCI community, including in policy coalitions
- Has received training in conflict resolution and/or de-escalation practices
SRLP strives to be an accessible workplace. The Director, as a full-time staff member, may create 40-hour week schedules that reflect their own needs, such as accommodations for continuing education, parenting, or healthcare. Some flexibility is expected for occasional evening meetings.
Consistent with our values as a collective, all full-time staff are paid the same base annual salary, currently $54,891. Generous benefits package includes 3 weeks of vacation time, medical and dental benefits and stipend, and payment of required professional fees.
To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample (please do not exceed ten pages) to the Hiring Committee via e-mail at email@example.com with subject line “Director of Survival and Self-Determination”.
Application materials can also be mailed to: Hiring Committee, Sylvia Rivera Law Project, 147 W 24th St, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10011. E-mail strongly preferred for submission.
Applications are due on January 28 th, 2018.
Projected Start Date:
ASAP but flexible based on candidates’ timelines.
***People of color, trans people, women, non-binary people, people with intersex conditions or DSDs, people who have lived in poverty, people living with disabilities, people with experience of incarceration, immigrants, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and queer people are STRONGLY encouraged to apply***