Disability Rights TN seeks Legal Director


Position Overview: The Legal Director provides leadership to ensure that Disability Rights Tennessee achieves its overall mission to protect the rights of Tennesseans with disabilities. The Legal Director is responsible for facilitating quality delivery of legal services. The Legal Director leads, manages, and supports legal personnel who provide direct client representation and serves as lead counsel or co-counsel in major litigation including class action lawsuits. The Legal Director also develops, maintains, and disseminates legal information (e.g., cases, statutes, and regulations) to provide support to legal team and assures staff knowledge remains up-to-date. The Legal Director works closely with and reports to the Executive Director. The Legal Director also provides public policy analysis and testimony as needed and provides education to applicable state departments, the state legislature and other entities involved with individuals with disabilities.

Detailed Responsibilities:


  • Participates in the agency Steering/Management Team with the Executive Director and functions as Acting Director when the Executive Director is absent or otherwise unavailable
  • Advises the agency on legal decisions and reviews contracts and other legal documents on behalf of the agency
  • Participates in annual development of our areas of work
  • With the Steering Committee, establishes program benchmarks and recommends improvements; develops standards for reporting, accountability, and measuring success; and makes program development recommendations to the Executive Director
  • Develops and implements innovative methods that maximize the strength of agency resources and successfully addresses agency mission and grant requirements
  • With the Management Team, makes innovative recommendations for fiscal and human resource policy to the Director of Finance/Human Resources
  • Participates in planning and applying for agency fund diversification including supporting DRT grant writing and other fund development activities
  • Meets with auditors to review case files
  • Reviews and signs AP checks when needed

Legal Team Management:

  • Day-to-day leadership and oversight of the agency’s legal work and legal team members
  • Regular leadership and oversight of the agency’s advocacy work through supervision of the agency’s attorneys and coordination with the Directors of Disability Rights Advocacy
  • Participates in regular case reviews with all attorneys
  • Engages in legal work on behalf of clients and the agency
  • Files impact litigation
  • Conducts annual job performance reviews and assists with the development of professional development plans with team members
  • Works with the Executive Director to recruit and hire legal team members 
  • Oversees orientation and training of new team members
  • Reviews and responds to complaints regarding intake and case services
  • Assists the Senior Disability Rights Attorney with recruitment and oversight of our intern and pro bono programs
  • Assists the Intake Director/Disability Rights Attorney with oversight of our Intake team
  • Reviews timesheets and expense reports of legal team members

Program Development and Evaluation:

  • Provides quality assurance monitoring of agency programs
  • Participates in agency taskforces

Community Involvement and Systemic Advocacy:

  • Participates in local, state, and national councils, boards, committees, etc. to address identified program issues and concerns
  • Cultivates and maintains collaborative working relationships with other agencies and organizations in the disability rights field
  • Participates in projects that address systemic issues which fall under program areas of work
  • Provides public policy analysis and testimony as needed and provides education to applicable state departments, the state legislature and other entities involved with individuals with disabilities
  • Assists with planning staff development activities and participates in professional development
  • Collaborates with the Community Relations team as needed to develop content for newsletter articles, social media, annual report, and other publications as well as live and recorded video and audio content
  • Performs related tasks consistent with skills and abilities and general responsibilities as assigned by the Executive Director


Education and Experience:

  • Juris Doctorate degree from an accredited law school or other law school approved by Tennessee Supreme Court
  • Active Tennessee law license or ability to procure one within one year of hire
  • A minimum of 10 years of experience handling disability rights litigation including multiparty or class litigation
  • Strong preference for applicants who have practiced law at a Protection & Advocacy agency

Skills and Abilities:

  • Sound professional judgment
  • Excellent critical thinking and evaluation skills
  • Oral and written communication competency with attention to detail
  • Outstanding leadership skills
  • Understanding of human resource management and evaluation
  • Exceptional time management and organizational skills
  • Computer and word processing proficiency
  • Ability to easily integrate new technology into work environment
  • Ability to facilitate communication within teams and participate effectively as a member in teams
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of DRT through professional presentations and agency representation

Compensation and hours

This is a full-time, exempt position (37.5 hours per week). Starting salary will be based on number of years of relevant experience, in accordance with DRT policies, although anticipated range is 72K-82K. This position also includes generous benefits and paid time off. Candidates with a disability and/or those who are minorities are encouraged to apply.

How to Apply
Please submit a letter of interest, a copy of your resume, and a recent pleading or motion related to applicant’s involvement in systemic and individual litigation to the email below. The position may be filled at any time.  If you need to submit your application in an alternate format or have difficulty accessing the application form, you may contact our HR Director at 615-298-1080 or sheliam@disabilityrightstn.org .


Posted: August 7, 2017