Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team
The Office of the County Counsel’s Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team (“Impact Team”) 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 Team 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 Team’s current cases include one of the nation’s first lawsuits to hold drug companies accountable for their role in creating the opioid epidemic; a lawsuit alleging that Intuit, the maker of TurboTax, deceived low-income taxpayers into paying for tax preparation products Intuit promised would be free; and continued litigation to ensure that federal policies targeting immigrants, undermining healthcare services, and threatening vulnerable communities are permanently enjoined or otherwise rescinded. Members of the Impact Team have also been involved in litigation to defend and enforce the County Health Officer’s orders and directives related to COVID-19 as well as a wide range of other litigation to protect County residents and ensure that the County can effectively serve the community. Descriptions of high-profile cases litigated by the Impact Team can be found at http://www.sccgov.org/HighProfileLitigation.
The Impact Team 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 Team 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 Team also has a partnership with Stanford Law School through which students and faculty collaborate with Impact Team attorneys to develop and assist with litigation, policy, and other initiatives through a course practicum.
Additional information about the Social Justice and Impact Litigation Team is available at www.sccgov.org/ImpactSection.
2022-2024 Fellowship Position
In 2008, the Office of the County Counsel 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 2022-2024 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 Team, 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. 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 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, finance and government operations, and environment and land use teams. 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.
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 2022) and begins in September 2022. For members of the California Bar, the starting salary is $121,386 - $187,484, depending on experience. A list of current and past fellows is available at www.sccgov.org/ImpactFellows.
The Office of the County Counsel values diversity and experience working in and for vulnerable communities and seeks to foster a work environment that is diverse, inclusive, and collaborative.
Diversity and Inclusion
Santa Clara County is one of the most diverse communities in the United States, and its diversity is one of its greatest strengths. Our Office aims to reflect the communities we serve, and we believe that diversity in our Office is crucial to successfully performing the variety of work with which we are entrusted. Being able to draw on different perspectives allows us to be at the forefront of legal issues both locally and nationally. The Office of the County Counsel seeks a diverse applicant pool for every position, welcomes qualified applicants of all backgrounds, and hires based on fair and open competition.
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 20, 2021. The Office expects to complete the fellowship hiring process in September or October 2021.
(PDF Version) 2022-2024 Social Justice and Impact Litigation Fellowship