Job Description and Online Application

 

The Disability Law Center (DLC) has an immediate opening for a Disability Rights Advocate or Staff Attorney. DLC is the federally mandated non-profit Protection and Advocacy agency for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. DLC’s core mission is to promote the fundamental rights of all people with disabilities to participate fully and equally in the social and economic life of Massachusetts.

DLC staff of attorneys and advocates take an intersectional approach to disability advocacy. Disability discrimination often intersects with discrimination by race, gender, and age, and compounds socio-economic inequities.  DLC prioritizes its work to make change on these multiple fronts through individual and systemic advocacy, by monitoring places where persons with disabilities live or receive services, investigating allegations of abuse and neglect; conducting outreach and training; and engaging in legislative and administrative advocacy.

 

Position:      Disability Rights Advocate OR Staff Attorney

Reports To:   Supervising Attorney

Location:    Hybrid – combination of remote and in-office work in Boston or Northampton

Wage Class:    Non-exempt for Disability Rights Advocate; Exempt for Staff Attorney

Union Classification:   Eligible

Starting Salary: Up to $69,000, depending upon level of experience.

Responsible For: The successful applicant can be an advocate or entry-level attorney who will engage in individual and systemic advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the applicant will monitor facilities that provide care, treatment, and services for persons who have developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and other disabilities, and will conduct investigations in such facilities where there may be probable cause of abuse or neglect. The successful applicant will use the information gathered through monitoring and investigations to assist DLC in shaping and engaging in systemic advocacy. In addition, the successful applicant will work on distinct issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in facilities or in the community and provide individual advocacy, technical assistance, consultation, and outreach and training to clients, family members, and other advocacy organizations.

Specific Duties

Commensurate with the experience, education and qualifications of the successful applicant, the job duties shall include some or all of the following:

  • Monitor conditions through onsite visits to community residences, long term care facilities, and other congregate settings that provide care, treatment, and services for persons with developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and other disabilities.
  • Identify situations through monitoring and investigation that require further advocacy, investigation, or other services.
  • Investigate complaints of abuse and neglect of individuals with disabilities by: reviewing relevant medical, other investigating agency, and service provider records; interviewing individuals with disabilities, family members and guardians, and service providers; and documenting investigative observations.
  • Draft memoranda and investigative summaries, findings, and reports.
  • Maintain an active caseload of individual cases, as assigned, involving issues such as human rights and civil rights violations, ISP appeals, discharge planning, community integration, supported employment, Medicaid services, and restraint and seclusion in schools.
  • Analyze statutes, regulations, agency policies/procedures and proposed legislation.
  • Develop and maintain thorough knowledge of appropriate community resources for clients.
  • Provide short-term information and referral for persons with disabilities.
  • Conduct outreach and develop and maintain effective working relationships with service providers, public and private organizations, other agencies, and the community at large, including unserved and underserved populations.
  • Prepare training materials and deliver presentations, trainings, and workshops on subjects pertinent to persons with disabilities, their families, service providers and the community.
  • Comply with agency policies and procedures concerning maintaining complete and accurate records of monitoring, investigation, and advocacy activities in DLC’s database and maintaining confidential records.
  • Assist in the planning and development of DLC’s focus areas.
  • Develop and implement case strategies; engage in negotiation, mediation and representation in administrative and judicial proceedings in consultation with the Director of Litigation and/or the Director of Advocacy (if an attorney)
  • Perform any other duties, as assigned.

Required Attributes:

  • Professionalism and sound ethical judgment.
  • Ability to interact effectively with and be sensitive to the individualized needs of persons with disabilities.
  • Ability to work efficiently, independently, and collaboratively.
  • Strong oral and written communication skills.
  • Strong organizational skills and ability to manage time spent conducting multiple tasks with long-term and short-term objectives.
  • Ability to travel throughout the Commonwealth.

Other Desired Attributes:

  • Ability to communicate effectively in ASL, Spanish, Haitian Creole, Portuguese, Mandarin, or another non-English language preferred.
  • Experience working with people with developmental disabilities, including people with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and their families and advocates.
  • Experience conducting investigations.

Education and/or Work Experience Required

The successful applicant must meet one or more of the following minimum experience requirements:

  • Bachelor’s degree with experience (3+ years) in advocacy on behalf of persons with disabilities;
  • A minimum of 4 years of experience in human services area, with at least 3 years of direct experience working with individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, or with mental health issues; or
  • A comparable combination of educational and work experience.

OR

  • A Juris Doctorate and ability to practice law in Massachusetts (current MA bar admission or immediate ability to be admitted to MA bar required), with up to 3 years of legal experience.

Compensation:

Starting salary is based on DLC’s collectively bargained salary scale based upon years of experience. DLC has a very generous benefits package. For details, please visit Careers at DLC.

 

To Apply:

Applications received by June 23, 2024 will be prioritized for consideration, then will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. 

Interested applicants for this position must upload a cover letter and resume (with three references) through the form below:

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All applications will be kept confidential.

DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION MISSION STATEMENT

DLC is committed to protecting the fundamental human rights of its clients by providing zealous advocacy and excellent representation. In fulfilling our mission, DLC is committed to fostering diversity at all levels of the agency. We are dedicated to understanding our clients’ diverse circumstances and meeting their needs. We are also committed to maintaining an inclusive environment that supports success and the well-being of all of our staff. DLC’s leadership is responsible for ensuring diversity, equity, and inclusion.

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER

The Disability Law Center values diversity of culture, disability, and other life experiences, and is an Equal Employment Opportunity and Affirmative Action Employer by choice. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, genetic information (including family medical history), military service, veteran status, age, citizenship, disability, marital status, or status as a parent/guardian.  We endorse and support the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) and are committed to providing reasonable accommodations to qualified individuals with disabilities who are applicants or employees who need accommodations.

If you require a reasonable accommodation for completing this application, interviewing, or otherwise participating in our employee selection process, please contact Amanda Gasparonis at agasparonis@dlc-ma.org.

Disclaimer: The purpose of this position description is to serve as a general summary and overview of the major duties and responsibilities of the job. It is not intended to represent the entirety of the job nor is it intended to be all-inclusive. Management reserves the right to modify, or rescind, this position description at any time, with or without prior notice.

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