Civil Rights

The Center for HIV Law and Policy (CHLP) fights stigma and discrimination at the intersection of HIV, health, disability, gender identity, sexual expression and race, with a special focus on criminal justice, public health and other government systems. We do this through legal advocacy, high-impact policy initiatives, and creation of cross-issue partnerships, networks and resources that amplify the power of communities to mobilize for change that is rooted in racial, gender and economic justice.

CHLP currently is hiring at least one staff attorney. We are looking for individuals who enjoy creative advocacy, researching and writing about complex legal and policy issues and working in partnership with members of diverse communities to achieve meaningful policy reform. The Staff Attorney will support the primary areas of CHLP’s work with particular focus on the Positive Justice Project and our decriminalization work.

Two of our current major initiatives focus on discriminatory policies in the U.S. legal system. The Positive Justice Project is a national network coordinated by CHLP and organized to end criminal laws targeting people living with HIV and other infectious diseases. The Sexual Health Youth Advocacy Coalition (SHYAC) advocates for written policies guaranteeing LGBT-inclusive/affirming sexual health care and sexual health literacy programming in juvenile detention, foster care and other government-operated youth facilities.

CHLP’s signature National Policy Resource Center is an online database of legal memoranda, research, reports, legal guides, court and agency decisions, pleadings and briefs, policy analyses and recommendations, and other materials on topics of importance to people living with HIV and their advocates.

The Staff Attorney’s primary responsibilities are to:

  • Take a leading role on legal/policy research and strategy development in collaboration with all staff;
  • Provide legal expertise and support, consistent with CHLP program priorities, to community and legal advocates around the country;
  • Assist with the implementation of CHLP’s SHYAC work;
  • Oversee CHLP’s decriminalization work, including possible co-counseling criminal and civil commitment cases;
  • Review, draft and synopsize legal, policy, medical, scientific and related materials for CHLP’s National Policy Resource Center;
  • Represent CHLP through written and oral testimony to federal and state legislative and administrative bodies;
  • Represent CHLP in communications with the media;
  • Assist in the hiring and supervision of interns and other staff;
  • Assist in building and supporting CHLP’s HIV Legal Collaborative (e.g. recruit new attorneys in criminal law and other needed practice areas)
  • Maintain thorough records and reports on legal and policy work, outreach and organizing plans and progress.

Positive Justice Project work includes:

  • Research and drafting of state-specific resources and responses to legislative developments and local advocates’ needs;
  • Reviewing, summarizing and preparing written comments on proposed criminal and public health legislation and regulations, frequently in very short time-frames;
  • Testifying before legislative and administrative bodies;
  • Representing CHLP at conferences and various coalition convenings;
  • Drafting and updating CHLP publications related to criminal justice;
  • Participating in and organizing meetings and trainings to engage and train new advocates and other stakeholders on PJP principles and related advocacy;
  • Working with state and national bar associations, universities and other professional associations to develop trainings on disease-related criminal laws for defense attorneys;
  • Working with national and state prosecutors and associations to develop trainings on infectious disease and the law;
  • Supporting and supervising CHLP’s National Policy and Outreach Strategist on PJP state coalition work;
  • Assisting with the representation of individuals who are facing charges, incarcerated or civilly committed on the basis of their health status, sexual orientation, gender identity or profession.

SHYAC responsibilities may include:

  • Develop plans for implementation of written state agency policies guaranteeing incarcerated and institutionalized youth the right of access to comprehensive sexual health care and literacy services;
  • Provide guidance as needed to SHYAC (the Sexual Health Youth Advocacy Coalition), a network of national and regional Teen SENSE allies and partners, in state and national advocacy efforts.

Staff Attorney Requirements: The applicant must be admitted to the New York State Bar or admitted to practice in another jurisdiction; have a strong, demonstrated interest in progressive public interest legal advocacy and working with diverse communities; have superior research and writing skills with a minimum of 2 years of experience; have a commitment to race equity, anti-racism, and economic justice in all aspects of our work; and have a commitment to the mission and goals of CHLP. The position is best suited for a leader with a solid sense of humor, courage, compassion, patience, grounded self-confidence and relative comfort with challenging hierarchies, systems and the status quo. The ideal candidate will have criminal law and litigation practice, lived experience in CHLP’s areas of work, and be fluent in Spanish. The ability and willingness to occasionally work and be accessible after regular business hours, to respond quickly to emerging issues is essential and to tolerate conflict is essential.

Compensation: Annual salary of $73,000 – $82,000 depending on experience. Increased compensation may be available for exceptional/senior candidates with significant experience in CHLP’s areas of work. CHLP offices are based in Brooklyn, but all staff currently work remotely with the option of using our office space. Excellent benefits include generous vacation and sick time, medical, dental, vision, life, and disability insurance, 401(k) retirement investment plan (with employer match of 10% of salary), 403(b) retirement plan (employee contribution only), flexible spending accounts for medical and transit costs, and flexible work options. Work schedule is 9:30 – 5:30, although longer days occasionally are required when legislatures are in session, when critical emerging issues arise, or occasionally for special program events.

To apply, please send the following to [email protected] with the subject heading “Staff Attorney Application”:

  • Cover letter explaining your interest in a staff attorney position with CHLP, and how your experience and long-term interests relate to CHLP’s mission, work and values;
  • Resume with a minimum of two references; and
  • Writing sample demonstrating your research and analytical skills.

Incomplete applications will not be considered.

The Center for HIV Law and Policy is an equal opportunity employer dedicated to advancing fairness, equity, and diversity in both its work and its workplace. We strongly encourage applications from all communities, including people of color, women, people living with HIV or other disabilities, individuals who formerly were incarcerated, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer persons.

The Center for HIV Law and Policy is a project of the National Center for Civic Innovation, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded by the Fund for the City of New York.

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