The Education Team Attorney is responsible for receiving complaints and providing legal advice and representation about the services and treatment of students with disabilities in public schools. This includes interviewing clients, reviewing records, documenting client eligibility, conducting legal research, negotiating outcomes, and representing clients in administrative hearings and in state and federal judicial proceedings. This position provides legal assistance and direction to Advocate’s case work when appropriate. The Issue Team Attorney also provides education and training sessions about the legal rights of students with disabilities for students, parents, advocates, and professionals/service providers and the community.
Provide legal services and advice to students with disabilities and their parents which may include legal advocacy, negotiation, mediation, litigations and handling of administrative and court proceedings.
Respond to requests for assistance and determines eligibility for services.
Provide direction and technical assistance to Advocates, when appropriate.
Implement agency's client services policies and procedures regarding client interviews, case records, investigations, case advocacy and case files.
Develops and/or maintains ongoing caseload within the level established by the agency's client services policies and procedures and meets expectations for litigation.
Provide technical assistance on an on-going basis to private attorneys representing students with disabilities
Develop materials for and conducts a selected number of education and training (E&T) presentations on Disability Rights Texas's services and legal rights issues.
Conceptualize case strategies and develops case work based on proper legal concepts and established precedents. Is creative in finding solutions and reaching outcomes.
Maintain effective communications.
Travel as needed to provide services.
Appropriately prioritize tasks as needed and to multi-task numerous responsibilities in a timely manner.
Establish personal credibility throughout and outside the organization, in order to be an effective partner and advisor.
Effectively and regularly communicate with employees, clients, and the public at the individual, team and organizational levels.
Maintain thorough and complete records.
Develop and maintain collaborative, cooperative relationships with internal and external stakeholders, including clients, the community, and employees at all levels of the organization.
Apply the principles of the organization’s vision and values in all work-related business and interactions.
Perform other duties as requested or required.
Law Degree plus Texas Law License.
A minimum of three (3) years previous related experience, legal or otherwise, preferably working with persons with disabilities.
Demonstrated legal skills including the ability to develop and evaluate facts and apply knowledge to client outcomes; the ability to analyze and apply legal rules and principles in order to develop case strategies; the ability to conduct legal research and apply information to case strategy; the ability to conduct an investigation and gather all pertinent facts; and being able to form logical and legal conclusions from the information.
Demonstrated effective written and oral communication skills including the articulation of well thought out arguments; drafting complaints, briefs, memorandums of law and other pleadings; conducting depositions and other discovery methods; engaging in negotiations and settlement discussions; writing demand letters and other correspondence.
Demonstrated knowledge of complex state and federal rights protection statutes, laws and regulations related to the education of students with disabilities.
Awareness and knowledge of problems experienced by persons with disabilities in public schools.
Ability and willingness to travel regularly, including overnight trips, and travel to rural communities.
Excellent interpersonal, relationship-building and collaboration skills to be able to work effectively with others inside and outside of the organization.
Demonstrated public speaking skills to conduct education and training sessions.
Comply with organizational standards regarding legal case development and management
Maintain licensure to practice law in Texas
Proven ability to lead, mentor and train others.
Experience working with county and state government entities.
The ability to take direction and independently follow through on all instructions.
The ability to create collaboration among stakeholders and other disability groups.
Excellent detail-orientation, follow-up skills and organizational skills plus the ability to multi-task and work under challenging conditions while meeting deadlines.
Demonstrated ability to manage workload so services are delivered timely and appropriately.
Strong working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint) and ability to quickly learn to use legal case management software (LegalFiles).
High level of commitment to service excellence, plus high degrees of integrity, ethics and judgment are a must.
Bilingual in English/Spanish – both written and spoken word
Disability Rights Texas (DRTX) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy organization for people with disabilities in Texas to protect and advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.
DRTx offers some great benefits such as zero or minimal employee only costs for medical/dental/vision/life insurance, a very generous paid leave process (to include winter break, long summer weekends, vacation time, sick time, AND personal holidays), and a company 401k contribution (currently at 7%) for each employee (whether the employee contributes or not). These positives, along with the passion and purpose of having a platform from which to propel, makes DRTx a great work place.
Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) is an equal opportunity employer. We recruit, employ, train, compensate and promote regardless of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, veteran status, and other protected status as required by applicable law. At DRTx, we have a clear vision: to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society, and to also be the place where a diverse mix of ta...lented people want to come, to stay and do their best work serving our clients. We envision a society where all people have dignity and worth. People with disabilities have basic human needs that are no different from those of all people. They have a right to freedom from neglect, exploitation, discrimination and isolation, and a right to be included in all aspects of their communities. Our organization is able to provide these services because of the hard work and dedication of our passionate and creative employees.
Disability Rights Texas’ dedication to promoting diversity, multiculturalism, and inclusion is clearly reflected in all of our content and across all of our issue teams. Diversity is more than a commitment at DRTx—it is the foundation of what we do. We are fully focused on equality and believe deeply in diversity of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, national origin and all the other fascinating characteristics that make us different.