Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section
The Office of the County Counsel’s Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section (“Impact Section”) litigates high-impact cases, drafts innovative local ordinances, and develops new policies and programs to advance the County’s goal of achieving social and economic justice for all its residents and to promote local, state, and national public policy reform. Impact Section attorneys also provide a broad range of legal advice to County agencies and defend the County in select cases implicating the County’s ability to provide critical safety-net services and protect public health.
The Impact Section’s current cases include one of the nation’s first lawsuits to hold drug companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic; several lawsuits challenging actions by the Trump Administration, including challenges through which the County successfully blocked the repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the President’s Executive Order defunding sanctuary jurisdictions; several efforts, including litigation, to protect the accuracy and integrity of the 2020 census; challenges to new rules that would allow healthcare workers to deny care to patients based on religious and moral beliefs, and the federal government to deny green cards to legal immigrants for using certain public assistance programs; and several other cases that aim to address corporate misconduct, protect environmental and public health, and safeguard vulnerable populations. Descriptions of these and other high-profile cases litigated by the Impact Section can be found at www.sccgov.org/HighProfileLitigation.
The Impact Section also has an active amicus practice, and has authored amicus briefs in cases defending the rights of immigrants and LGBTQ people, preserving access to contraception, opposing litigation aimed at invalidating the Affordable Care Act, and protecting voting rights, among many others. In addition, the Impact Section works on a range of policy initiatives related to issues such as pay equity, bail reform, LGBTQ rights, immigrant rights, public health, homelessness, and environmental health. The Impact Section also has a partnership with Stanford Law School through which students and faculty collaborate with Impact Section attorneys to develop and assist with litigation, policy, and other initiatives through a course practicum.
Additional information about the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section is available at www.sccgov.org/ImpactSection.
2021-2023 Fellowship Position
In 2008, the Office established a fellowship program that selects talented new lawyers and trains them as local government litigators and advisors equipped to advance social and economic justice in the County and beyond. The 2021-2023 Impact Fellow will contribute to a growing movement to use the power and perspective of local government to drive long-lasting social change. As an integral part of the Impact Section, the Impact Fellow will conduct legal research and analysis; draft memos, ordinances, and resolutions; participate in ongoing litigation and amicus efforts; draft public comments on proposed federal regulations; and help identify and develop new cases and projects. The Fellow will also gain exposure to a broad array of local government practice areas though projects and assignments with other sections of the Office, such as the health and hospital, public safety and justice, code enforcement, and finance, government operations, and environment sections. These projects may involve researching and drafting memoranda for the Board of Supervisors, providing legal advice to County agencies, and assisting with other litigation matters. Special attention is paid to the professional development of the Impact Fellow and to fostering a lifelong commitment to public service with a focus on local governance.
The two-year position is open to recent law school graduates, judicial law clerks, and current third-year law students (J.D. expected in spring 2021) and begins in September 2021. For members of the California Bar, the starting salary is $117,852 - $182,024, depending on experience. A list of current and past fellows is available at www.sccgov.org/ImpactFellows.
Application Process and Deadline
To apply, please send a resume, cover letter describing your experience and interest in working through local government to advance the public interest, legal writing sample, list of three references, and unofficial law school transcript to our Fellowship Hiring Committee at [email protected]. Applications must be submitted by Friday, August 21, 2020. The Office expects to complete the hiring process in September or October 2020.
(PDF Version) 2021-2023 Social Justice and Impact Litigation Fellowship