Jobs: HIV Project Director

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Department: Legal

Location: Washington, DC (preferred); Also considering: Atlanta, GA; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Los Angeles, CA; or New York, NY

Reports To: Deputy Legal Directors

FLSA Status: Non-Exempt/Full-Time

Union Status: Grade 8 – if position held by Senior Attorney

                      Grade 9 – if position held by Counsel


Lambda Legal is looking for an experienced, innovative, and passionate leader to head the organization's HIV Project. As the organization's preeminent expert on HIV issues, the HIV Project Director (the Director), will lead Lambda Legal's domestic efforts to advance the rights of everyone living with HIV – with particular attention to addressing the legal inequities faced by the communities disproportionately living with and affected by HIV, namely Black, LatinX, and transgender communities.

Reporting to the Deputy Legal Director for Policy, and partnering closely with the Deputy Legal Director for Litigation, the Director will lend their subject matter expertise in an effort to help facilitate cross-departmental collaboration in an effort to promote innovation and the strategic integration of the HIV Project across other verticals of the work. A key thought partner, the Director will provide organizational leadership with advice on policies and practices that best support the needs and interests of Lambda Legal staff members living with HIV. The Director will stay abreast of significant legal, scientific, and social developments relating to HIV and the impact these developments will have on the work.

Additionally, the Director will collaborate closely with the Development and Communications team to raise public awareness and enhance the visibility of Lambda Legal's HIV work in an effort to garner financial support and champions for Lambda Legal's work on behalf of people living with HIV.

This is an ideal opportunity for a bold, community-centered, and inspiring leader committed to improving the lives and outcomes through public education, advocacy, and litigation for those living with HIV.


Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. Since 1973, Lambda Legal has used impact litigation and other advocacy tools to decriminalize same-sex relationships; challenge discrimination against LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the workplace, in the home, in schools, in health care, and in the military; and protect LGBTQ+ families, including by winning and defending marriage equality. Clients are not charged for legal representation or advocacy and Lambda Legal receives no government funding. Headquartered in New York City, Lambda Legal has regional offices in or near Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

We believe that serving the full breadth of the LGBTQ+ community and all people living with HIV requires cultural competency and enthusiasm for diversity of all kinds. To be successful, we must approach our work with an understanding that discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is not the only obstacle to achieving full formal and lived equality for LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV; rather, we recognize the intersectional nature of discrimination, specifically including biases based on race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, education, and class. In light of this reality, we prioritize awareness and proactive commitment to counteracting these biases and their compounding effects.  


Litigation and Advocacy

  • Work closely with the Deputy Legal Director for Litigation and the Deputy Legal Director for Policy to develop litigation and policy strategies to advance the rights of people living with HIV, with particular attention to addressing legal inequities faced by the communities disproportionately living with and affected by HIV, namely BIPOC and transgender communities, and lead key efforts and initiatives to implement these strategies as appropriate
  • Provide leadership on projects advancing the rights of people living with HIV, including but not limited to the direct representation of clients, amicus briefs, and policy advocacy at the state and federal levels
  • Cultivate and strengthen key partnerships, including with organizations and coalitions led by and serving BIPOC and Trans communities, to inform and enhance Lambda Legal's advocacy
  • Serve as advisor to the Legal Director and the Deputy Legal Directors for Litigation and Policy on implementation and staffing of our work on behalf of people living with HIV, and support litigation and policy advocacy teams working on cases or other matters related to these issues
  • Develop and present written and oral advocacy and support the development and presentation of such advocacy by others, on issues affecting people living with HIV, including but not limited to:
    • Written and oral advocacy before government bodies
    • Advising officials at the federal, state, and local level
    • Consulting with and supporting Lambda Legal staff
    • Providing expertise and support to national and state-based groups

Public Education and Outreach

  • Advise and work collaboratively with the Deputy Legal Director for Policy and the Chief Communications Officer and their designated staff on developing and executing public education strategies and initiatives to enhance public understanding of and support for the rights of people living with HIV
  • Serve as a key organizational spokesperson for interviews with print, web, television, and radio reporters regarding our work on behalf of people living with HIV, and advise other staff engaging with the press on these topics; draft opinion pieces, develop ideas for longer-form reports and other analysis and advocacy pieces for diverse publishers on these issues
  • Work closely with the Deputy Legal Director for Policy and Communications Department staff to formulate social media and other public education content and campaigns
  • Represent organization at conferences, convenings, and associations focused on or meaningfully engaging with HIV-related issues, and advise Legal Director, Deputy Legal Directors, and Chief Communications Officer on how to engage with those entities to achieve optimal internal informational awareness, elevate our organizational profile in those spaces, and promote other public education and advocacy goals
  • Consult with private lawyers handling matters relating to HIV and assist with development of public education materials to support legal and non-legal advocates and professionals working with people living with HIV

Additional Responsibilities

  • Provide advice and support to organizational leadership regarding issues affecting staff living with HIV.
  • Support efforts of the Chief Development Officer and the Chief Communications Officer, and their teams, to garner financial and other forms of support for the organization’s work on behalf of people living with HIV.
  • Monitor and provide updates to staff on significant legal, scientific, and social developments relating to HIV, and provide regular updates to colleagues on how such developments may or should affect our work.
  • Work collaboratively with other subject matter specialists within the Legal Department (e.g., Project Directors and program strategists), to promote innovation and strategic integration of our work.
  • Convene meetings with stakeholders across Departments to facilitate collaboration, coordination, and deeper understanding of our work in this area.
  • Supervise lawyers, legal fellows, paralegals, and other staff allocated to work on projects advancing the goals of the HIV Project at the direction and under the supervision of the Deputy Legal Directors for Litigation and Policy or their designees.
  • When public health permits, travel will be required to fulfill some of the duties of this position; until then, travel will be optional.
  • Other duties and responsibilities consistent with the above as deemed necessary to fulfill the goals of the HIV Project.


  • Commitment to Organizational Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Goals: The HIV Project Director must perform their duties with cultural competency and a commitment to addressing the multi-layered and interlocking forms of discrimination and oppression that exist in our society, including discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, immigration status, religion, disability, age, education, and class.  Consequently, the HIV Project Director must demonstrate their understanding and appreciation of the importance of integrating our commitment to combating these other forms of discrimination into our work to eradicate discrimination against people living with HIV.  In addition, the HIV Director will be expected to identify themselves, and proactively support Legal Department efforts to identify, opportunities to advance and enhance organizations goals around diversity, equity, and inclusion, with particular attention to addressing legal inequities faced by the communities disproportionately living with and affected by HIV, namely BIPOC and transgender communities.
  • Strategic and Critical Thinking: The HIV Project Director is expected to identify and evaluate the relevant legal and factual issues, conduct thorough legal and factual research, logically analyze the issues and the context, identifying the strengths and weaknesses of each argument, and clearly and persuasively prepare written documents.  They are expected to identify inequities and barriers faced by people living with HIV who experience multiple, and often compounding, forms of discrimination, and to think creatively and critically about how to create opportunities for Lambda Legal to address these inequities through our work.
  • Initiative and Results-Focused: The HIV Project Director should demonstrate strong performance and produce excellent work product that supports the organization’s mission and strategic goals. They should possess a high level of initiative.
  • Judgment: The HIV Project Director will work to understand problems or obstacles underlying cases and matters; will conduct or oversee relevant investigation and research; and will identify and propose reasonable solutions to the problems or obstacles, or explain why such solutions are not feasible.
  • Creativity and Pragmatism: The HIV Project Director will be expected to demonstrate both innovative problem solving and mature judgment about likely risks and benefits of strategic options.
  • Oral Advocacy and Effective Presentations: The HIV Project Director shall thoroughly prepare for oral presentations, including court appearances and public testimony, shall master the case, legislative record, or other relevant material before appearing; and shall present arguments clearly, succinctly, and persuasively. The HIV Project Director will be expected to regularly prepare and present information about HIV and our work in this area to diverse audiences, including colleagues in other Lambda Legal departments, community partners and other stakeholders who will include lawyers and non-lawyers..
  • Teamwork: The HIV Project Director will demonstrate a commitment to teamwork and their ability to work with others in a collaborative manner. They will proactively support the work of the Legal Department, including the Help Desk; will demonstrate investment in our outcomes, and will generally assist in supporting the team and solving problems. The HIV Project Director will seek opportunities to support their organizational colleagues, including colleagues in other Departments (e.g., Communications, Development); will demonstrate investment in the organization and its goals; and will hold themselves accountable for their behavior and contributions.
  • Holistic Perspective: The HIV Project Director will demonstrate an appreciation and understanding of how their work fits into the larger picture; the ways in which their actions impact the ability of other colleagues to succeed in their roles (e.g., Help Desk, Communications, Development); and how their efforts are connected to the fulfillment of Lambda Legal’s overall mission and goals.
  • Relationship Building: The HIV Project Director will successfully develop and maintain productive relationships with colleagues, community leaders and groups, and other affected stakeholders to jointly leverage resources and make progress toward goals. In cultivating and strengthening relationships, they will demonstrate the maturity and humility required to effectively identify, interact with, and counsel current and prospective clients and partners from the broad range of communities that we serve, including communities of color, indigenous communities, immigrant and mixed-status communities, people with disabilities, lower-income communities, and those with multiple identities who may experience compounding forms of discrimination.
  • Efficient Time Management: The HIV Project Director will identify and prioritize their tasks and effectively allocate their time to them. All tasks should be completed in a timely manner, with the most important and urgent items addressed first.


Minimum Requirements:

  • J.D. degree required. Candidates currently licensed to practice law in at least one jurisdiction preferred; if not currently licensed, candidate will be required to gain admission to practice law within first year of employment;. 
  • Professional experience of sufficient breadth and duration to provide reasonable assurance that the attorney will successfully carry out the responsibilities defined above is required
  • Previous experience related to the mission of the HIV Project;
  • Demonstrated legal writing and clear oral communication ability; and
  • Demonstrated awareness of and commitment to addressing the concerns of the communities served by Lambda Legal, including the ways in which other forms of discrimination (e.g., race, color, national origin, immigration status, disability, age, education, and class) exacerbate and/or compound discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or HIV status.

Preferred/Highly Desirable Qualifications:

  • Strong academic and public service record;
  • Experience in or with Lambda Legal;
  • Experience in the LGBT/HIV rights movement;
  • Demonstrated ability developing and implementing strategic goals, leading and managing projects, and motivating teams;
  • Experience working with another civil rights-oriented litigation organization, legal non-profit or legal aid, or in government in a role related to enforcement of civil rights; and
  • Ability to speak Spanish or other commonly encountered language other than English (and Spanish).


There will be supervision and management of projects. Direct supervision of attorneys, paralegals, and interns may also be included.


When public health permits, travel will be required to fulfill some of the duties of this position; until then, travel will be optional.


The annualized salary band for the HIV Project Director is $96,000 - $120,000. This band will vary based on location as well as the assessment of a candidate’s skills-alignment to the role. The compensation band also aligns with pay equity across the organization at this level.

Employees who are required to use a second language as part of their job receive an additional $50 per pay period ($100 per month).

Benefits include short and long-term disability, life insurance, basic medical and dental plan at no cost to the employee, with an opportunity to obtain additional coverage for themselves or their family including vision at a low cost. Option to enroll in a pre-tax health flexible spending account, dependent care account, and commuter transit account. 403(b)-retirement plan with a 2% contribution and up to 4% match from Lambda Legal. Paid time off includes the opportunity to accrue up to 15 days of vacation, 3 personal and 12 sick. Lambda Legal observes 10 holidays per year and is supportive of observance of religious holidays.


The position is open until filled.

Any candidate wishing to be considered for this position is asked to prepare a statement of interest explaining how they would approach this role and what they aspire to accomplish in the position in their first year; what they view as the greatest opportunities and challenges of the position; and what support that they believe they would need to succeed in this position, along with their resume and any other information that they wish to share.  Please email the documents to careers@lambdalegal.org, attention Mildred Perez with the subject line of “HIV Project Director”

Additional materials (e.g. prior writing samples) may be requested during the selection process.

Lambda Legal is committed to further building and maintaining a staff that reflects the full range of LGBTQ+, HIV-affected and allied communities, and is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, transgender, non-binary and gender-diverse people, women, people with abilities in multiple languages, immigrants, people living with HIV, and people living with (or perceived as having) other physical or mental disabilities are encouraged to apply.