Supervising Attorney – Criminal Legal

Agency Description

Disability Rights North Carolina (DRNC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is the only organization that provides free legal advocacy services to people with all types of disabilities, of all ages, throughout North Carolina. We are NC’s designated Protection and Advocacy organization and recognized leader in advancing disability rights with a strong staff and supportive, dynamic work environment. DRNC is committed to building race equity into our internal and external work.  DRNC is well established and positioned for growth.  Learn more about DRNC on our website.

Job Description

The Supervising Attorney for the Criminal Legal Team will lead DRNC’s efforts to ensure people with disabilities (intellectual, developmental, physical, sensory, mental health, substance use, and/or brain injury disabilities) in NC’s prisons and jails receive humane treatment. This Team enforces the legal rights of disabled people in prisons and jails and responds to dangerous conditions and rights violations using multiple strategies, including Protection & Advocacy monitoring of facilities, litigation, issuing public reports, coalition building, and policy/legal advocacy to obtain justice for people with disabilities in the criminal legal system and to safeguard against abuse.

DRNC’s Criminal Legal Team is currently focused on people in custody who are determined incapable to proceed, suicide prevention, identification and treatment of people who have mental health disabilities or traumatic brain injury (TBI), reducing the use of solitary confinement, and ensuring people with opioid use disorder receive medications for opioid use disorder (MOUD) while incarcerated. The Team works to advocate at the nexus of disability and racial justice.


  • Plan, develop, and oversee execution of DRNC’s annual program priorities/targets for the Criminal Legal Team
  • Provide supervision of assigned staff, manage Team caseloads, evaluate activities, and assist and consult with staff on individual cases
  • Build a cohesive, supportive team that works well across DRNC’s legal teams and maintains open communication
  • Guide the professional development of team members, including co-counseling of cases to ensure high quality representation of clients; review substantive legal work; provide meaningful assessments and evaluation of advocacy efforts, caseloads and productivity; and address training needs
  • Ensure that team members’ activities conform to DRNC’s policies and procedures
  • Represent individual clients consistent with DRNC’s annual targets and case selection criteria, including the development and implementation of all phases of case strategies and activities
  • Analyze federal and state statutes, regulations, legal rulings, and agency policies/procedures and draft analyses in collaboration with DRNC policy staff
  • Provide technical assistance to outside attorneys and advocates regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities
  • Prepare written materials and conduct activities for the education and training of consumers, coalition partners, professionals, DRNC staff, members of the public, and others consistent with DRNC’s annual targets
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with subject area professionals and advocates, including state officials and agency staff, providers, advocacy organizations, pro bono attorneys, and community advocates
  • Represent DRNC at coalition meetings, public hearings, stakeholder
    groups, and/or task forces, and engage/expand stakeholders through outreach and education
  • Perform supervisory and administrative functions, prepare program activity reports, maintain complete and accurate records in DRNC’s case management system, and communicate team interests/needs to the Legal Director


  • JD degree and admitted to practice law in North Carolina or eligible to sit for
    the next Bar exam; five years of legal experience required, with knowledge of NC criminal law and procedure
  • Experience with policy analysis in advocacy in the criminal justice area
  • Litigation experience
  • Significant experience in a professional capacity in the subject areas relevant to the work of the Team
  • Effective interpersonal communication skills
  • Experience in supervision and management of staff
  • Superior written, oral and presentation skills, including the ability to effectively present to policy makers, the public, the media, and community allies
  • Demonstrated commitment to the mission of eliminating harm and injustice for individuals with disabilities
  • Availability to travel and work some evenings and weekends required

Desirable qualifications

  • Life experience with disability
  • Experience in a legal services, nonprofit, or public interest environment
  • Experience working with individuals and communities affected by the criminal justice system
  • Capacity for and interest in leading a team and supporting, mentoring, and developing staff, to include litigation skills
  • Strong commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and deep understanding of disability and racial justice issues within the criminal justice system
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of and lead a team
  • Demonstrated ability to build positive relationships with internal and external partners
  • Demonstrated ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative solutions
  • Experience and/or strong interest in advocacy for the legal rights of people with disabilities and other marginalized populations. Knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act and other state and federal laws affecting people with disabilities is strongly preferred
  • Ability to communicate in ASL, Spanish or another non-English language
  • Understanding of trauma and its prevalence among people with disabilities, valuing and using trauma-informed approaches

Disability Rights NC is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We do not discriminate in any aspect of employment with regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, veteran’s status or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law.  Individuals who increase the diversity of our team are encouraged to apply. We participate in E-verify.

Compensation Package that is competitive with other non-profits:  The hiring range is $70,000-$107,500 depending on experience. Disability Rights NC offers excellent benefits which include 100% employer-paid health, dental, vision, life and disability as well as generous paid time off and retirement plan with an employer match.

Send a detailed letter of interest explaining your qualifications and interest in the position and resume to: Include Supervising Attorney Criminal Legal Team in the subject line of your email. No phone calls please.

Closing Date:  Priority given to resumes and cover letters received by April 25, 2024. Position will remain open until filled.   

Learn more about careers at DRNC.