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A Better Balance is using the power of the law to advance justice for workers, so they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. Our expert team of lawyers, advocates, and other professionals are combatting discrimination and securing new rights for workers through policy work, strategic litigation, direct legal service, and public education. Join us!

Position Summary & Background

A Better Balance (ABB) is seeking an outstanding, experienced litigator with demonstrated commitment to public interest law and/or pro bono work to assume a leadership role on our legal team as a Director of Strategic Litigation based in New York City. This position offers a unique opportunity to develop and engage in high-impact litigation on key gender justice and civil rights issues in a thriving organization with creative, dedicated staff and a supportive work environment.

A Better Balance (ABB) is a national legal advocacy organization that uses the power of the law to advance justice for workers, so they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. Our expert legal team combats discrimination against pregnant workers and caregivers and advances supportive policies like paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, fair scheduling, and accessible, quality childcare and eldercare. When we value the work of providing care, which has long been marginalized due to sexism and racism, our communities and nation are healthier and stronger. We remain steadfast in working to dismantle the intersectional forms of injustice that contribute to the structural inequality working families in this country face, including but not limited to, gender injustice, racial injustice, economic injustice, health injustice, and injustice against immigrants, LGTBQIA communities, and people with disabilities, and are seeking candidates who are committed to this work.

Since our founding, A Better Balance has been working to value the labor of caregiving and to shift the debate over work-family issues from those that center the concerns of white, professional workers to be inclusive of a focus on the needs of low-wage workers and workers of color. We approach our work around the country with these values at the forefront. Ensuring families of color have access to strong work-family policies—especially BIPOC workers who are currently the least likely to have access to these policies due to centuries of institutionalized racism, systemic barriers to economic mobility, and pervasive discrimination—is a core principle of ABB’s work.

The organization has fought for and won new paid leave policies, important pregnancy and caregiver protections, breastfeeding accommodations, inclusive protections for all families, including LGBTQ families, and victories on other economic justice issues throughout the country. Our advocacy work and legal efforts have gained national recognition in dozens of outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. We are dedicated to lifting up the voices of our clients, who are predominantly low-wage working women of color, and those most directly affected by our policy work. 

Our free and confidential helpline provides legal assistance and information to thousands of low-wage workers. Through our strategic litigation work, A Better Balance has not been afraid to take on industry giants, enforcing the law and zealously advocating for our clients when we learn of egregious workplace violations, making a large-scale impact for millions of workers. For example, in 2020 a federal court approved a settlement in the amount of $14 million in a nationwide class action lawsuit. The settlement paid for claims by pregnant workers, represented by A Better Balance and our co-counsel, that they had requested but were denied workplace accommodations at Walmart for a period of time in 2013 and 2014. In another example, in 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice and the City of Florence, KY, reached a groundbreaking consent decree in response to ABB’s charge filed on behalf of two police officers, Officers Lyndi Trischler and Samantha Riley, who faced pregnancy discrimination on the job.

For more information about ABB, visit www.abetterbalance.org.

Primary Responsibilities:

  • Developing, conducting, and leading cutting edge individual and class action litigation in federal and state courts and administrative agencies.
  • Helping to continually evolve the strategic vision for litigation as a key complement to policy strategies, in coordination with ABB’s Senior Legal Team, and directing its implementation.
  • Supervise the litigation-related work of staff attorneys, as well as ABB legal fellows.
  • Work with ABB legal staff doing implementation and outreach/education work to ensure a coherent strategy around ensuring that laws ABB has enacted are enforced in a meaningful way to improve the lives of those covered.
  • Manage the updating of and implementation of litigation policies and procedures.
  • Develop and maintain relationships with pro bono and other co-counsel (e.g., law firms and public interest groups).
  • Work with ABB staff to develop and implement communication strategies that promote and magnify the impact of our legal work.
  • Partner with and support development staff in reporting and fundraising efforts.

Required Qualifications:

  • J.D. and active bar membership, preferably in NY, ability to waive into NY, or willingness to sit for the NY bar exam.  
  • Track record (7-10 years experience) of civil rights litigation experience, including experience in federal court. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to social, gender, and racial justice with a passion for achieving equity and economic justice for women and families.
  • Proven ability to serve as lead or co-lead counsel in all phases of civil litigation and to successfully lead strong litigation teams that include individuals of varied levels of experience.
  • Demonstrated ability to identify novel and innovative litigation approaches and opportunities, including by analyzing legislation for potential impact case opportunities and identifying legal tools to address and respond to emerging trends, particularly problematic industries, and changing socio-political landscapes.
  • Superior legal research and analytic skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to write and speak persuasively and clearly to a range of audiences.
  • Experience supervising, training, and/or mentoring attorneys, law fellows and law clerks.
  • Experience working directly with clients from diverse backgrounds and populations, including communities of color, low-wage workers, immigrants, and LGBTQIA individuals.
  • Experience working with external co-counsel or in coalition settings with multiple organizational partners.
  • Ability to give feedback and resolve conflicts constructively.
  • Ability to travel occasionally as needed (pursuant to safety guidelines).

The Ideal Candidate Will Also Possess:

  • Creativity and excellent judgment in developing and executing litigation strategies.
  • High degree of self-motivation and initiative, with the ability to create work plans and meet deadlines under time pressure.
  • Experience working in a team setting and fostering a collaborative approach to case work and other advocacy efforts.

Compensation and Benefits

Salary range commensurate with skills and experience — $100,000-110,000; A Better Balance offers a generous benefits package.

ABB offers a flexible and supportive work environment, with generous paid leave policies. A Better Balance has an excellent benefits package, including health and dental insurance; up to 19.5 days of accrued paid time off; paid sick time; paid family and medical leave; paid holidays and paid personal time; access to optional employee pre-tax retirement plan; transit benefits, and more. We are committed to “walking our talk” and encourage a healthy work/life balance for all employees.

TO APPLY: Please submit letter of interest, resume (including any salary requirements), and references combined in one PDF file to Dina Bakst, Co-Founder & Co-President, A Better Balance at dbakst@abetterbalance.org (subject line: Director of Strategic Litigation). Applications will only be accepted by email, and the position will remain open until a qualified candidate is chosen.

 

A Better Balance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and we value diversity, inclusion, and belonging in our workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer and encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, family status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, arrest or conviction, or any other factor protected by law.

A Better Balance is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities or other medical needs. If you are an individual with a disability or other medical need and need assistance applying online, please e-mail rsica@abetterbalance.org. If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

The A Better Balance National, Southern, and D.C. offices are recruiting rising third-year law students, judicial clerks, and recent law school graduates interested in applying for an externally funded 1-2 year public interest fellowship starting in September 2023. A National fellow would be based in New York City; a Southern fellow would be based in Nashville, TN; a DC fellow would be based in Washington, DC.

A Better Balance (ABB) is a national legal advocacy organization that uses the power of the law to advance justice for workers, so they can care for themselves and their loved ones without jeopardizing their economic security. Our expert legal team combats discrimination against pregnant workers and caregivers and advances supportive policies like paid sick time, paid family and medical leave, fair scheduling, and accessible, quality childcare and eldercare. When we value the work of providing care, which has long been marginalized due to sexism and racism, our communities and nation are healthier and stronger. We remain steadfast in working to dismantle the intersectional forms of injustice that contribute to the structural inequality working families in this country face, including but not limited to, gender injustice, racial injustice, economic injustice, health injustice, and injustice against immigrants, LGTBQIA communities, and people with disabilities, and are seeking candidates who are committed to this work.

Since our founding, A Better Balance has been working to value the labor of caregiving and to shift the debate over work-family issues from those that center the concerns of white, professional workers to be inclusive of a focus on the needs of low-wage workers and workers of color. We approach our work around the country with these values at the forefront. Ensuring families of color have access to strong work-family policies—especially BIPOC workers who are currently the least likely to have access to these policies due to centuries of institutionalized racism, systemic barriers to economic mobility, and pervasive discrimination—is a core principle of ABB’s work.

The organization has fought for and won new paid leave policies, important pregnancy and caregiver protections, breastfeeding accommodations, inclusive protections for all families, including LGBTQ families, and victories on other economic justice issues throughout the country. Our advocacy work and legal efforts have gained national recognition in dozens of outlets including The New York Times, Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. We are dedicated to lifting up the voices of our clients, who are predominantly low-wage working women of color, and those most directly affected by our policy work. Our free and confidential helpline provides legal assistance and information to low-wage workers.

ABB is based in New York City and maintains an office in Washington, D.C., a Southern regional office in Nashville, TN and an office in Denver, CO. 

In New York, where we are headquartered, we have been leaders in many successful campaigns both in the city/state and across the country, including on paid family and medical leave laws, the fight to guarantee earned sick time to millions of workers across the country, pregnant workers fairness laws, which ensure that pregnant workers are not pushed out of their jobs when they need a modest accommodation to stay healthy, caregiver and lactation anti-discrimination laws, and fair workweek laws. Following legislative campaigns, we are working on effective implementation of these laws, creating materials, doing outreach to low-income communities, and prioritizing representation of low-income workers of color who are being denied rights we helped secure.

Our Southern Office focuses on the issues affecting working families in the Southeast United States, where poverty rates for women and families, particularly women and families of color, are among the highest in the country and where legal protections are often scarce. Pregnant workers across the South, especially in low-wage and physically demanding jobs, are forced out of their positions when they need a modest accommodation to keep working. Workers of color are the least likely to have access to paid leave and other critical workplace rights to help them to care for their families without risking their economic security. Our Southern work thus focuses on remedying these legal gaps by enforcement and education as well as working to pass pregnant workers fairness laws, paid family and medical leave, and paid sick days laws across the Southeast and pushing back against policies that harm working families in the region including attacks on progressive local policies.

Our DC Office focuses on translating our legal expertise and uplifting worker voices to promote federal policies that advance justice for working families across the country who are caring for themselves and loved ones and want to maintain their economic security. Our key federal priorities include passage of a comprehensive Paid Family and Medical Leave program; protections for pregnant workers; a national paid sick time law; access to break time and space for breastfeeding workers; addressing the Black maternal health crisis; guaranteeing fair and predictable work schedules as well as enhancing rights of part-time workers; strengthening federal anti-discrimination protections; and more.

Potential projects in the NYC office could focus on education and enforcement of laws both in NY and elsewhere across the country, particularly as they impact low-wage workers and communities of color:

  • Pregnancy accommodation laws;
  • Lactation laws;
  • Paid sick time laws;
  • NYC Fair Workweek Law;
  • Caregiver discrimination laws; and/or
  • Paid and unpaid family and medical leave laws.

The NYC fellow could also focus on expanding laws and policies in the following areas:

  • Paid family and medical leave or paid sick time campaigns around the country;
  • Pregnancy accommodation campaigns around the country
  • LGBTQ work-family issues;
  • Quality, affordable, accessible child care;
  • Defending local, progressive laws from state and federal interference (preemption); and/or
  • Other issues related to expanding work/family laws and policies in New York State and/or nationally.

Potential projects in the Southern Office could focus on:

  • Increasing the power and influence of Black women in the South using advocacy tools, Know Your Rights campaigns, legislative reform, and partnering with grassroots organizations;
  • Enforcing new pregnant workers fairness laws in the South including in Tennessee, Louisiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, and Virginia; educating and empowering low-wage workers and communities of color about those laws;
  • Providing direct services to low-wage workers, especially workers of color, in particular industries or populations with uniquely Southern issues affecting working families;
  • Developing a mobile clinic to serve a particular population, such as an immigrant/refugee population;
  • Public education and enforcement of existing federal legal protections, such as pregnancy discrimination, family and medical leave, and breastfeeding protections for working families in the South; and/or
  • Addressing the needs of working parents who lack quality, affordable, and accessible child care.

Potential projects in the DC Office could focus on federal legislative advocacy in conjunction with direct services work to empower our clients with our NY office on topics including:

  • Pregnancy accommodations
  • Paid family and medical leave
  • Lactation accommodations;
  • Paid sick time;
  • Caregiver discrimination laws; and/or
  • Fair and predictable scheduling.

Qualifications:

  • Law degree required by May 2023, bar admission in NY or TN by Fall 2023 preferred.*
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice, work/family law and policy, gender and women’s rights, civil rights, and/or advocacy for low-income populations and ending racial, gender, health, and economic injustice.
  • Commitment to diversity within the office using an approach that values all individuals and respects differences in regards to race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, disability, and socio-economic circumstance.
  • Superior written and oral communication, advocacy, legal research, and analytic skills. Experience writing for legal and non-legal audiences a plus.
  • Self-motivated with demonstrated problem solving, prioritizing, time management, team-building, and organizational skills.
  • Comfort and familiarity with small non-profit environments, ability to use limited resources efficiently and effectively, ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment.
  • Experience working with diverse communities, particularly communities of color and individuals with disabilities.
  • Experience with the community you propose to serve a plus.
  • Spanish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Bengali, Haitian Creole, French, Somali, and/or Korean fluency are a plus.

* Selected fellowship candidates will be required to take the NY or TN bar if not already admitted. 

Funding and Benefits

Fellows will be paid a salary of $68,000-72,000, and if the amount of external funding is less than this amount, A Better Balance will make up the difference.

This position requires external funding, meaning it is not paid for by ABB and comes from another source. Some potential sources of external funding include the Skadden Foundation, Equal Justice Works, and Justice Catalyst. Many law schools also offer funding to law graduates in the form of fellowships. If you are selected by ABB as a fellowship candidate, we will then work together to put together a project proposal.

ABB offers a flexible and supportive work environment, with generous vacation, sick, and family leave policies. A Better Balance has an excellent benefits package, including health and dental insurance; 19.5 days of paid vacation time, sick time, and personal time; access to pre-tax retirement contributions, transit benefits, and more. We are committed to “walking our talk” and encourage a healthy work/life balance for all employees.

How to Apply

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis.

To apply, please e-mail the following documents with the subject line “2023 Fellowship – [First Name Last Name]” to: careers@abetterbalance.org:

  • a resume including relevant experience – note, this need not only be paid work or work you did during law school;
  • tailored letter of interest, including your connection to ABB’s work;
  • a short legal writing sample showing legal analysis, including applying facts to the law; and
  • at least two references, including one professor/instructor from law school and one supervisor of legal work – these should be the individuals you plan to ask to write recommendations in support of your fellowship candidacy if selected by ABB.

A Better Balance is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and we value diversity, inclusion, and belonging in our workforce. We are an equal opportunity employer and encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, marital status, family status, citizenship, disability, veteran status, arrest or conviction, or any other factor protected by law.

A Better Balance is committed to providing reasonable accommodation to individuals with disabilities or other medical needs. If you are an individual with a disability or other medical need and need assistance applying online, please e-mail careers@abetterbalance.org.  If you are selected for an interview, you will receive additional information regarding how to request an accommodation for the interview process.

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