About Us
Founded in 2003, the Transgender Legal Defense & Educational Fund (TLDEF) is a national organization committed to advancing justice and equity for transgender and non-binary people. TLDEF’s Legal Programs Department currently includes the?Impact Litigation Project, Name Change Project,?and?Trans Health Project. Last year, TLDEF won two landmark cases in the South concerning trans access to health insurance coverage, brought lawsuits against two jail systems about abuse of trans people in their custody, and advocated for greater access to name changes and government identification in multiple states.

The Opportunity
TLDEF is searching for a Senior Staff Attorney or Staff Attorney to join its growing Legal Programs Department in the Impact Litigation Project. Reporting to TLDEF’s Litigation Director, the Attorney will develop and litigate cases designed to defend our communities where it matters most. While litigation focused, the person in this position will also have opportunities to participate in TLDEF’s policy advocacy and public education work.

The "senior" title will be based on experience and subject to TLDEF's collective bargaining agreement.

TLDEF is an equal opportunity employer. Black people, Indigenous people, people of color (BIPOC); lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex people; women; immigrants; people with disabilities, including those living with HIV; formerly incarcerated people; and people with lived experiences of poverty are strongly encouraged to apply.

Primary Responsibilities
In this role, you will spend most of your time on litigation, including serving as lead counsel in three to five matters. Your main responsibilities will include:
  • Investigating new cases. Developing relationships with potential clients, co-counsel, witnesses, amici, and experts, obtaining and reviewing records, facilitating strategy decisions, and writing demand letters.
  • Participating in and leading all phases of impact litigation. Pre-litigation administrative advocacy, pleadings, motion practice, discovery, trials, appeals, settlement negotiations, and amicus briefs.
  • Contributing substantially to the development of TLDEF's legal strategy. Selecting and developing new cases.
  • Consulting and collaborating with state and local partners, particularly with regard to litigation.
  • In collaboration with Communications, Policy, and Public Education colleagues, using holistic and practical strategies to achieve the goals of our clients and communities. Drafting public comments or "Know Your Rights" materials, participating in coalition spaces, speaking to the press, and presenting at conferences.
  • In collaboration with Legal Programs colleagues, supporting the work of the team overall. Maintaining detailed case and client records, contributing to hiring processes, supervising interns and possibly a paralegal or early-career lawyer, training and mentoring team members, and thinking proactively about how to improve internal systems, policies, and approaches.
  • In collaboration with all colleagues, helping to make TLDEF’s work equitable, sustainable, and excellent. Participating in planning processes, team building, racial justice organizational development, and fundraising.

We aim for reasonable and sustainable workloads for our team, but work outside normal office hours, including some evenings and weekends, will from time to time be required.

Required Qualifications and Skills
  • Strong belief in TLDEF’s mission, including an intersectional commitment to social, racial, economic, disability, and gender justice.
  • Substantial experience with civil litigation where you were either lead counsel or the sole lawyer for your clients.
  • License to practice law in at least one U.S. jurisdiction; willingness to apply for admission in New York if not already admitted.
  • Experience using negotiation or mediation mechanisms to resolve disputes.
  • Experience conducting and managing discovery.
  • Capacity to think creatively and strategically about how to use litigation and alternative dispute resolution to advance equity for trans and nonbinary communities.
  • Knowledge of emergent and current legal issues impacting transgender and nonbinary people in the U.S.
  • Competency at working respectfully and effectively with BIPOC transgender and nonbinary people, those living with disabilities, and those with low or no income.
  • Humility, a keen understanding of power and privilege, and a willingness to accept input and feedback, especially from clients, community members, and those impacted by TLDEF’s work.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment, juggle multiple deadlines, keep clear records, communicate proactively, and remain accountable to your commitments.
  • Strong legal research, analysis, writing, and public speaking skills.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills that enable you to develop positive relationships with clients, pro bono partners, and movement leaders.
  • Ability to occasionally travel in the U.S.

Preferred Qualifications and Skills
  • Significant litigation experience in this or a related field, such as civil rights, civil liberties, discrimination, police misconduct, prisoners’ rights, healthcare access, voting rights, environmental justice, reproductive rights, disability rights, or LGBTQ+ rights.
  • Experience collaborating with community-based organizations and/or litigating in the U.S. South or Midwest.
  • Fluency or proficiency in one or more languages in addition to English, especially Spanish and American Sign Language (ASL).
  • Proficiency with case management software and discovery software.

TLDEF acknowledges that applicants from groups that have been historically marginalized are less likely to apply for positions unless they feel that they meet 100% of a job description’s qualifications. We understand that the ideal candidate might not completely meet the criteria listed above or be equally proficient in each area; we especially encourage applicants who are impacted by TLDEF’s work to submit their application anyway.

Special Notes
  • Since 2020, TLDEF’s office has remained closed. TLDEF employees currently work from home and only visit the office when necessary. The office may re-open in the first half of 2023.
  • To ensure the health and safety of TLDEF employees and job applicants, all interviews will be conducted either by phone or video conference.