Social Justice and Impact Litigation Section
The Social Justice and Impact Litigation 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. The Impact Section also defends the County in select cases raising the potential for a significant impact on the County’s ability to provide critical safety net services to vulnerable residents.
Our current cases include a lawsuit challenging the President’s Executive Order defunding “sanctuary jurisdictions,” in which we won a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of the Order’s key provisions nationwide; an appeal in our longstanding lawsuit against former lead paint companies, in which we won a $1.15 billion judgment from the trial court to abate lead paint that continues to poison California children; a lawsuit against five drug companies that deceived doctors and patients for decades about the risks of prescription opioids; and several other cases that aim to address corporate misconduct, protect environmental and public health, prevent and deter elder abuse, and safeguard County resources for vulnerable populations. In addition, we are working on policy initiatives related to pay equity, bail reform, LGBTQ rights, immigrants’ rights, public health, homelessness, environmental health, and corporate responsibility. We have also established a partnership with Stanford Law School to help us develop policy proposals, and we have a number of active investigations that may result in litigation or policy initiatives.
In the last few years, we have filed amicus curiae briefs in cases challenging the President’s Executive Order imposing a “travel ban” on persons from certain Muslim-majority countries; challenging the Department of Veterans Affairs’ discriminatory regulation categorically banning surgical care for transgender veterans; opposing a federal court injunction preventing implementation of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals; supporting the Federal Communications Commission’s order setting rate caps for Inmate Calling Services; and challenging Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070. We have also drafted local policies and ordinances addressing predatory lending and bail bond practices and worked with County departments to develop policies protecting and advancing public health, public safety, and the rights of immigrants and low-wage workers.
2018-2020 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 2018-2020 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 Fellow will help shape policy; conduct legal research and analysis; draft pleadings, ordinances, resolutions, and memos; participate in all aspects of ongoing litigation; and help identify and develop new cases and projects. Our fellows are also regularly assigned projects in other sections of the Office. Special attention is paid to the professional development of fellows to foster a lifelong commitment to public service and a focus on local governance.
The two-year position is open to recent graduates and judicial clerks, and begins in September 2018
. For members of the California Bar, the starting salary is approximately $100,000 per year. For a list of current and past fellows, please click here
Application Process and Deadline:
To apply, please send a resume, a cover letter describing your experience and interest in working through local government to advance the public interest, a legal writing sample, a list of three references, and an unofficial law school transcript to our Fellowship Hiring Committee at email@example.com
. Applications must be submitted by August 18, 2017
. We expect to complete the hiring process in October 2017.
The County of Santa Clara is an Equal Opportunity Employer