Staff Attorney- New York City

A Better Balance seeks a highly motivated staff attorney to support a new, innovative national project dedicated to strengthening, protecting, and defending progressive, local laws. In recent years, state legislatures have increasingly blocked—or “preempted”—the right of cities and counties to pass local measures that advance economic justice, racial justice, public health, women’s rights, and nondiscrimination issues. Such local measures are also facing new federal preemption threats.

The staff attorney will provide legal assistance to city attorneys, policymakers, and advocates on both defensive and proactive strategies against these attacks on local control. In addition to developing and coordinating pro bono legal referrals on a range of issues affected by preemption, the staff attorney will engage in technical assistance, policy work, and litigation to prevent state and federal preemption of local paid leave, LGBTQ nondiscrimination, fair scheduling, and work-family laws.

This is a one-year position with the strong possibility of an extension.


Working together with the Director of ABB’s preemption project, and core national partners, the staff attorney will:

  • Receive and manage requests for legal support and technical assistance from city attorneys, advocates, and other partners who face preemption of local, progressive laws. For issues beyond ABB’s expertise, determine and coordinate appropriate referrals.
  • Engage in direct legal support and assistance for advocates and policymakers fighting preemption on issues related to ABB’s mission—including paid leave, LGBTQ rights, employment nondiscrimination, fair scheduling, and other work-family issues;
  • Research and write legal memoranda, amicus briefs, fact sheets, policy papers, advocacy tools, and other supporting legal and policy documents related to preemption of local, progressive laws;
  • Analyze, track, and report on preemption activity in core areas of the law;
  • Conduct outreach and develop new resources and referrals related to preemption, including legal advocacy organizations, pro bono firm networks, and city attorneys with preemption experience;
  • Help to build and maintain a bank of amicus briefs related to preemption issues and share them with partners to support new litigation;
  • Advise state and local partners on strategies for avoiding preemption of local paid leave, nondiscrimination, and work-family laws;
  • Support ABB’s litigation work to protect local paid sick time ordinances that are challenged in court;
  • Work with ABB’s LGBTQ/Work-Family Project to develop tools and raise awareness on threats to local nondiscrimination ordinances from hostile state legislatures.

Although the Staff Attorney will primarily focus on this project, there will be opportunities to engage in other areas of ABB’s work as well.


We are open to varying levels of experience for this position. Recent law school graduates, clerks, and attorneys with 1-5 years of experience are invited to apply. Specific qualifications include:

  • A law degree, with a preference that the individual be licensed to practice law in New York (or plan to sit for the NY bar exam this year);
  • Strong legal research, advocacy, and analytic skills;
  • A demonstrated commitment to—or background working on—racial and economic justice, LGBTQ rights, civil rights, women’s rights, reproductive justice, or other work-family law and policy;
  • A passion for fighting against discrimination and ensuring that workers and families have equal access to paid leave to care for themselves and their loved ones without sacrificing their jobs or economic security;
  • A high level of self-motivation, initiative, creativity, time management, and problem-solving skills;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to draft materials for both legal and non-legal audiences;
  • Demonstrated organizational skills and an ability to multi-task and work in teams;
  • Strong networking skills and experience, including an ability to develop and maintain relationships with diverse groups of individuals and organizations.

Deadline and Location:

New York City. The position will start as soon as possible.


Salary and benefits are competitive within the non-profit sector and commensurate with experience. Flexible and supportive work environment, with generous vacation, sick, and family leave policies.

To Apply: 

Please email a cover letter, resume, and a writing sample to, noting “Preemption Staff Attorney Position” in the subject line. Applications will only be accepted by email.


A Better Balance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. We are an equal opportunity employer and do not discriminate based on race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, family status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, or any other factor protected by law.