Program Director – Disability Justice

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), a nonprofit civil rights law firm committed to advancing equality and civil rights, seeks a dynamic Director to lead its Disability Justice program. The Disability Justice Program seeks to ensure equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities.  In partnership with individuals and community organizations, we advocate for the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities to equal access to a variety of critical services, including education, health care, housing, and police protection.  We advocate for individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community with the support services they need, and we combat abuse and neglect within institutions.  Our advocacy also encompasses the realm of communication access, specifically the rights of deaf or hard of hearing individuals and limited English proficient individuals with disabilities to participate equally in New York City programs and services.

This position is an outstanding opportunity for an experienced, creative leader to build on NYLPI’s strengths and successes to advance disability justice in New York City.  The Director will play a critical leadership role as we continue to adapt our advocacy to meet our communities’ ever-changing needs and help build and foster community power.

Organization Background

For nearly 40 years, NYLPI has been a leading civil rights advocate for marginalized New Yorkers.  We strive to secure environmental justice for low-income communities of color, create equal access to health care, achieve equality of opportunity and self-determination for people with disabilities and ensure immigrant opportunity.

NYLPI pioneered the practice of community lawyering in the five boroughs of New York City.  Our interdisciplinary teams of advocates use every tool available – community organizing, impact litigation and individual representation, policy advocacy, media, pro bono partnerships, and public education – to solve seemingly intractable problems, develop leaders, and build collective power to achieve justice and equality.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

The Disability Justice Director will provide strategic leadership for the DJ Program, fostering innovation and collaboration, developing and managing a robust docket of individual and systemic cases and advocacy campaigns, and broadening and deepening our community partnerships.  The Disability Justice program currently includes a senior supervising counsel, 4 attorneys, and 5 legal advocates.  Reporting to the Legal Director, the DJ Director is responsible for the day-to-day management, professional development, and evaluation of the legal, administrative and advocacy staff in the DJ program.  In addition, the DJ Director will maintain an active advocacy docket.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Building and maintaining community partnerships and finding creative, multi-pronged solutions to address discrimination experienced by New Yorkers with disabilities;
  • Working with program staff to build effective cases and campaigns;
  • Maintaining a culture of bold and collaborative advocacy amongst program staff;
  • Building and maintaining relationships with key stakeholders including client communities, advocacy and community groups, pro bono partners, government agencies, elected and other public officials, the media, and the nonprofit legal community; and
  • Supporting fundraising efforts for the program.


  • A minimum of seven years of relevant experience in litigation, policy and/or administrative advocacy.  Exceptional candidates with less experience will be considered.
  • Management, supervisory, and/or leadership experience in a nonprofit legal program, or equivalent experience demonstrating outstanding skills in those areas.
  • A demonstrated commitment to and/or experience in disability rights advocacy.
  • Experience working with coalitions of community members and community-based organizations.
  • Experience on campaigns that use multiple advocacy tools.
  • Experience in federal and complex civil litigation strongly desired.
  • Experience working productively with the private bar a plus.



  • Must either be licensed to practice law in the State of New York or be eligible for admission to the New York bar at the time of hiring (must be admitted within one year of hire).
  • Must be an attorney in good standing.



  • Excellent strategic judgment and the drive to build successful coalition-based campaigns and provide the highest level of individual representation.
  • Excellent writing, research, analytic, interpersonal, and public speaking skills.
  • Ability to relate to and communicate effectively with a diverse group of clients, community partners, and staff, as well as nonprofit, government, judicial, and business communities.
  • Proficiency/fluency in a second language is strongly desired.


NYLPI offers salary commensurate with experience plus excellent benefits, including employer-paid health and supplemental disability insurance, dependent and medical flex plans, an outstanding retirement savings plan, and generous paid time off.  NYLPI is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer.  We are committed to advancing social equality and civil rights in our advocacy, and we value the dynamism and perspective that staff diversity brings to the work and culture of the office.   We seek to maintain a staff that is diverse along many axes, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, and national origin; disability; socioeconomic background; and sexual orientation and gender identity.  NYLPI recognizes the ongoing need to foster and support diversity at all levels of the organization.

Please send a detailed cover letter, resume, writing sample and three references (including daytime telephone numbers) by February 1, 2016 to with the subject:  “Attention:  Disability Justice Director Position.”  Please mention in your e-mail or cover letter where you saw this advertisement.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.  Visit us to learn more at

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