Looking to change the world?
Pivot is looking for a full-time staff lawyer to change Canada’s approach to drug policy. We believe that the laws that criminalize drug use and addiction must be replaced with evidence-based policies that are directly informed by the lived experience and human rights of drug users.
You are a passionate lawyer with a deep understanding of the human rights issues faced by drug users. You understand the regulatory regime that governs drug policy in Canada and you are ready to change it. You are curious about people, enjoy connection, and recognize the incredible power of personal stories in making change. You have been called to the bar for at least 3 years and have experience seeing legal cases from beginning to end – including trial and appellate courts and Human Rights tribunals. You have excellent leadership and interpersonal skills and are looking for an exciting, dynamic and collaborative working environment. You are ready for the challenge of combining legal work with community engagement, communications strategies and political advocacy.
We are a small team of lawyers and creatives committed to using the law to advance the interest of those living most on the margins. We conduct public interest campaigns in a variety of areas, including housing, drug policy, sex work, and police accountability. At the heart of our work is a deep connection with people’s lived experience of poverty and social exclusion. By making the most tangible violations of human rights the focal point of our efforts, we exert maximum pressure in order to shift society toward greater equality, inclusivity, and compassion.
About the position
The successful candidate will work on some of Canada’s most important drug policy reform issues. The current projects include:
• Heroin-Assisted Treatment - The goal of this campaign is to ensure that Heroin-Assisted Treatment is available to all patients for whom it is medically recommended, typically people struggling with longer-term opiate addiction for whom other treatments have failed. We are representing drug users in a constitutional challenge to the regulations that prohibit prescription heroin.
• Anti-harm reduction and methadone bylaws - Over the past ten years, a growing number of BC municipalities have amended their zoning bylaws to restrict access to methadone and harm reduction services. We are representing drug users and the BC/Yukon Association of Drug War Survivors in both a constitutional challenge and a complaint before the BC Human Rights Tribunal.
• Prisoners’ health and human rights – The lack of services for people with addictions inside prisons is a critical public health and human rights issue. We are intervening in a legal action to overturn the ban on access to clean syringes for people with addictions in Canada’s federal prisons.
• The proposed Respect for Communities Act will make it even more difficult for health authorities and community agencies to offer supervised drug consumption services, such as Vancouver’s Insite, to Canadians who are among those most at risk of HIV infection and fatal overdose. We are working on a campaign to prevent the enactment of this legislation and exploring possible actions if this legislation passes.
Pivot’s model requires lawyers to participate in our team-based structure. It also requires that lawyers work with the campaigns director to develop robust social change campaigns that include engagement with impacted communities, legal action, communications strategies and political advocacy. This includes:
- Working with Pivot’s campaign team and legal advisory team to identify test cases of legal merit and broad potential impact for higher-level litigation and develop legal strategies for those cases
- Acting as a media spokesperson on health and drug policy issues
- Attending and participating in Pivot’s team meetings (campaigns, communications, fundraising)
- Assist where required with organizational tasks and other duties as assigned.
The annual salary for this position is $52,000 plus benefits and includes 6 weeks paid vacation, professional development, law society fees and insurance, and the chance to be part of a nimble, collaborative team. This is a one-year contract position with the possibility to extend.
Interested? If so, we want to hear from you. To apply for this job please fill out the form at the bottom of this page. Include a download link to your resume, cover letter (dropbox, sendspace, google drive), a one-minute YouTube style video detailing the power of the law to create social change, and a 250 word blog post on importance of client voices in drug policy litigation/reform.
We will be accepting applications until 5PM PST, Monday, January 6, 2014.