The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice is looking to hire experienced, full-time, bar-certified lawyers. The catch: These attorneys will not be paid.
“The division is seeking experienced attorneys for uncompensated Special Attorney employment in the [Federal Coordination and Compliance Section (FCS)],” a DOJ job posting for three positions read.
The FCS works to ensure that all federal agencies apply and enforce civil rights statutes that prohibit discrimination.
These unpaid, experienced attorneys will be providing legal counsel and assistance to federal civil rights offices, conducting negotiations, legal research, some litigation, and investigations under Title VI and the Safe Streets Act, among other tasks, according to the posting.
According to a Justice Department spokesperson, the department has started to hire unpaid staff as a way to deal with the budget constraints imposed by sequestration and other budget cuts, which have resulted in a hiring freeze.
“Department of Justice divisions have begun a pilot program that allows lawyers to gain public service experience while providing valuable support to the Justice Department as we continue to address the staffing challenges imposed by sequestration and still fulfill our commitment to protect the American people,” the Justice Department spokesman wrote to The Daily Caller in an email.
“The Special Attorney program is modeled on the successful Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) program utilized by U.S. Attorney offices across the country since 1994,” the spokesperson added. “While the Civil Rights and Criminal Divisions are the first to advertise, we expect other divisions to post similar positions in the future.”
The spokesperson claimed that budget cuts have resulted in a loss of some 2,500 staffers since January 2011.
While the Justice Department says it is hiring as a way to deal with budget cuts, former DOJ civil rights lawyer J. Christian Adams sees the unpaid positions as an attempt by the Justice Department and assistant attorney general for the Civil Rights Division Thomas E. Perez to get around the appropriations process.
“Holder has been agitating for more lawyer slots in the Civil Rights Division,” Adams told TheDC. “Congress has wisely decided against giving this mischievous department more money for more lawyers. What Perez is doing here is an end around Congress. “
Adams, the author of “Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department,” further noted that lawyers willing to work for free are more likely to have ideological backgrounds and be a “crusader in the cause” — holding Perez and Holder’s vision of civil rights.