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KEJC Seeks Attorney to Combat Discrimination Against Kentuckians Who Use Drugs

Updated: May 26

Staff Attorney

The Kentucky Equal Justice Center has an immediate opening for a full-time Health Justice Attorney for a new project designed to combat discrimination in healthcare against individuals with Substance Use Disorder, including Opioid Use Disorder. This attorney will provide individual and systemic legal representation to enforce the civil rights of people with disabilities. The project is funded and supported by Vital Strategies. The successful candidate will work in partnership with Vital Strategies, Legal Action Center, VOCAL-KY, and Dream.org to protect the rights of people with substance use disorder. This press release about the project describes it and its goals in more detail.


Experience and an interest in civil rights and/or health law is preferred.


KEJC is a small public interest law firm and advocacy organization. We believe every Kentuckian has the right to health care, housing, fair pay, food, education, and safety. KEJC’s staff of 16 works in Kentucky’s capital and in courtrooms and communities across Kentucky. Our program at Maxwell Street Legal Clinic in Lexington provides immigration law services. A .pdf of this job description is available here.


About the Position

In tandem with an Outreach and Investigations Paralegal, the Health Justice Attorney will work in the following ways as a multi-forum (courtrooms, capitol, community) advocate for Kentuckians who use drugs:

  • Impact litigation, direct services, and community lawyering

  • Represent individual clients consistent with project parameters, including all phases of outreach, training, self-advocacy assistance, direct individual advocacy, systemic advocacy, and litigation

  • Develop and maintain self-advocacy materials for use by clients and constituents

  • Provide advice and assistance to KEJC clients, including writing letters and memoranda and drafting pleadings on behalf of clients

  • Analyze and interpret federal and state laws, rulings, and regulations to stay abreast of legal developments in disability law, and other related law/ethical fields

  • Analyze statutes, regulations, and agency policies/procedures and draft analyses and comments, as appropriate, in collaboration with KEJC staff

  • Provide technical assistance to attorneys and advocates regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities, including assistance to pro bono attorneys

  • Monitor institutions and other service providers, agencies, or settings as required

  • Maintain complete and accurate records in KEJC’s case management system consistent with agency policies and procedures

  • Policy research and solutions

  • Participating in state and national networks focused on protecting the rights of people with substance use disorder

  • providing policy support to Kentucky public interest partners

  • analyzing and commenting on state and federal proposals

  • preparing briefing papers on promising options and current issues

  • communicating with decision-makers and the public on new developments and proposals

  • Communications, outreach, and coalition building

  • Prepare written materials and conduct activities for the education and training of consumers, coalition partners, professionals, KEJC staff, members of the public, and others consistent with project parameters

  • Coordinate with KEJC communications staff to obtain feedback from and share information with the disability community regarding the rights and experiences of people with SUD/OUD

  • Cultivate, develop, and maintain relationships with subject area professionals and advocates, including state officials and agency staff, service providers, advocacy organizations, pro bono attorneys, and community advocates

  • Represent KEJC at coalition meetings, public hearings, stakeholder groups, and/or task forces

Requirements

  • JD degree and admitted to practice law in Kentucky

  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to public interest law

Desirable qualifications

  • Lived experience with SUD (strong preference)

  • Life experience with disability

  • Legal work experience, with civil litigation experience strongly preferred

  • Experience in a legal services, nonprofit, or public interest environment

  • Ability to communicate in ASL, Spanish or another non-English language

Essential functions

  • Ability to keyboard

  • License to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky

  • Ability to travel, including overnight

  • Ability to Interact with people with disabilities

  • Comfort speaking in front of groups

  • Excellent interpersonal skills; KEJC works internally and externally in teams and coalitions and therefore seeks a Staff Attorney who will help establish and maintain a healthy culture of collaboration

  • Comfort working in a multicultural setting, with sensitivity to language and cultural issues

  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving and skills

  • Facility with social media and web-based communications tools

  • Ability to be a self-starter in developing and carrying out activities, to take initiative and work independently, as well as in a team

  • Knowledge of low-income issues

  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion​​

Location

KEJC has offices in Lexington and Louisville, but we seek to hire the most outstanding candidate for this position, regardless of where they live in Kentucky. We consider geographic diversity within Kentucky both a strength and a challenge. We will explore it with candidates invited to interview for the positions.

Salary and Benefits

Salary based on experience and our salary scale. Generous fringe benefits include health and retirement, dental, life and disability coverage. KEJC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but we provide health and retirement benefits through participation in state employee plans.

Grant Funded Position with Potential Renewal

This position is funded by a grant from Vital Strategies with strong likelihood of renewal through at least mid-2026.

Starting Date: April 15, 2022, or as soon as possible.

Application Instructions

To apply, please use our app (https://bit.ly/work-at-kejc) to upload as a single .pdf document:

  • a cover letter

  • your resume

  • three references (with their phone numbers and email addresses), and

  • 2-3 examples of recent work that you feel is generally relevant to this position

Recent work materials might include:

  • legal briefs

  • policy papers

  • videos or slides of presentations you are proud of

  • one-pagers explaining an issue to lay people, and/or

  • op-eds or blog posts

If these materials are available online, you may provide them by linking to them in the cover letter or in a separate document in the single .pdf upload.


If you need an accommodation or assistance to submit your application and materials, please email ben@kyequaljustice.org.

Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

Application Deadline: We are accepting applications and interviewing candidates on a rolling basis until this position is filled. If you are interested, do not delay.

Diversity Statement

KEJC welcomes your application. Employees shall be selected entirely on a nondiscriminatory basis with respect to age, ancestry, disability, ethnicity, familial status, gender, gender identity, limited English proficiency, national origin, political affiliation, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status and all other categories provided nondiscriminatory treatment by law, statute, or ordinance.



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