Job Title: Staff Attorney (Focus Areas: Special Education; Assistive Technology)
Location: 400 East Court Ave., Des Moines, Iowa 50309
Opening Date: Monday, February 26, 2018
Closing Date: Friday, March 16, 2018 (applications received by this date will be considered in the first round; however, applications will be accepted after that date)
Job Type: Full Time Exempt
Supervision: Legal Director
Pay Range: Depends on Experience
Benefits: DRI offers a comprehensive benefit plan for eligible employees. Benefits include health insurance, dental insurance, basic life, short-term and long-term disability insurance, a 403(b) retirement plan, and flexible spending accounts. Flexible spending accounts feature reimbursement for both medical and dependent care.
Time-off: DRI offers a generous holiday time off, paid sick time and vacation accrual package to full-time employees.
Agency Description: Disability Rights Iowa (DRI) is a well-established innovative non-profit legally-based organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Iowans with disabilities. DRI is the federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness in Iowa. Disability Rights Iowa works to achieve fairness and justice for people with disabilities through quality representation, advocacy, investigations of abuse and neglect, peer/self-advocacy services, community partnerships, legislative and regulatory advocacy work, education and outreach. DRI”s legal work includes individual and impact litigation. For more information, go to www.disabilityrightsiowa.org.
Staff Attorney Job Description: The staff attorney shares responsibility with other legal and advocacy staff for providing information, technical assistance, outreach and training, and representation in administrative and judicial proceedings of clients with physical, cognitive or mental disabilities. This particular position will focus on individual and systemic special education issues and assistive technology in the K-12 context.
Provide legal representation to Iowans with disabilities;
Participate on teams of attorneys and advocates with respect to any systemic advocacy or litigation conducted by DRI;
Educate policy makers on disability-related issues;
Write organized and concise public reports, reports to other oversight and enforcement agencies, and internal reports regarding findings, conclusions and recommendations resulting from investigations or monitoring activities;
Conduct outreach and prepare training on the rights of individuals with disabilities and on the protection and advocacy services available from DRI;
Create and update training and informational materials and speak in public settings, as required;
Participate on teams of attorneys and advocates with respect to any advocacy, monitoring or litigation conducted by DRI;
Manage and maintain client files, project files and other files;
Complete monthly desk reviews on open priority cases;
Represent DRI on councils, commissions, work groups and stakeholder groups, as assigned by supervisor;
Work in conjunction with other DRI staff on planning and developing agency priorities, goals and objectives;
Work in conjunction with other DRI staff in preparing annual program and performance reports, as assigned;
Travel throughout the state of Iowa as needed in order to conduct investigations, monitoring and provide advocacy;
Use interpersonal skills to promptly and effectively resolve issues on behalf of individuals with disabilities;
Attend staff meetings, team meetings and in-service training, as required by supervisor;
Read job-related professional articles and monitor list serves on topics related to advocate’s case work;
Use Microsoft Office software on a personal computer;
Comply with DRI’s personnel and case management policies,
Conduct work in a professional manner; and
Other duties as assigned.
J.D. degree from an accredited law school;
Iowa state bar membership or admission to Iowa State Bar within 6 months of hire.
Strong and effective writing, verbal and negotiating communication skills, including the ability to do so in a concise manner, even when doing so regarding complex issues;
Strong organizational skills;
Experience in public speaking and developing effective presentations;
Excellent interpersonal, relationship-building and collaboration skills to be able to work with others inside and outside of the organization;
Ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative solutions;
Ability to conceptualize and develop initial and ongoing case strategies;
Ability to remain impartial when conducting investigations;
Ability to stay calm and relaxed when working with individuals who may be in a crisis situation.
Ability to be flexible to changing work assignments and processes.
Ability to maintain confidentiality;
Ability to conduct self in a professional manner;
Ability to maintain thorough and complete records;
Ability to work independently with appropriate supervision.
Legal experience in the area of special education;
Experience with assistive technology for individuals with disabilities;
Experience with or sensitivity to individuals with physical, cognitive or mental disabilities;
Experience with or sensitivity to individuals from ethnic or language-distinct communities; and
Knowledge of laws, rights and services as they pertain to individuals with physical, cognitive or mental disabilities;
Demonstrate understanding of disability rights values in daily work (self-determination, person-centered services, informed consent, equal opportunity, independence and inclusion
Equal Opportunity Employer.
Disability Rights Iowa is an Equal Opportunities Employer. It is the policy of Disability Rights Iowa to prohibit discrimination and harassment of any type and to afford equal employment opportunities to employees and applicants, without regard to race, color, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, age, sex, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, medical condition or genetic information, veteran status, national origin, disability, marital or other protected status.
Applications Process: Please send cover letter, resume and writing sample to DRI Operations Manager, Katie VandeVorde at firstname.lastname@example.org. No telephone calls please.
Additional Salary Information: Depends on Experience
About Disability Rights Iowa
Disability Rights Iowa (DRI) is a well-established innovative non-profit legally-based organization dedicated to advancing the rights of Iowans with disabilities. DRI is the federally-mandated protection and advocacy agency for individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness in Iowa. Disability Rights Iowa works to achieve fairness and justice for people with disabilities through quality representation, advocacy, investigations of abuse and neglect, peer/self-advocacy services, community partnerships, regulatory advocacy work, education and outreach. DRI”s legal work includes individual and impact litigation. For more information, go to www.disabilityrightsiowa.org.