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Attorney – Civil Rights and Racial Justice
About the Legal Aid Justice Center:
The Legal Aid Justice Center is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization that partners with communities and clients to fight for racial, social, and economic justice. We understand that the harms our clients endure are inextricably linked to overarching systems of injustice. Together we are dismantling those systems through a combination of community organizing, litigation, policy advocacy, public relations, and individual legal services.
Very recently, we helped lead the fight to reform Virginia’s unemployment insurance system including advocacy that resulted in the distribution of over $1 billion in illegally withheld payments to over 160,000 Virginians. During the pandemic, we helped hundreds of families avoid eviction through a combination of legal representation and help accessing rent relief funds. Our staff are on the front lines of some of the most important anti-poverty fights happening today.
Founded in 1967, LAJC has offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church and provides services under six key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice, Economic Justice, Youth Justice, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, and Worker Justice. For more information, visit www.justice4all.org.
About the CRRJ Program:
The Civil Rights & Racial Justice Program (CRRJ) works to end the criminalization of poverty in Virginia by exposing and addressing criminal legal system policies that target people because of poverty and race. Through a mix of community organizing, local and statewide policy advocacy, and litigation, our program intervenes at every point in the criminal legal system. Our campaigns range from initial law enforcement contact in the community, through the courts, to confinement in Virginia’s jails and prisons, and finally to reentry into the community. Our work currently includes challenging pretrial detention, expunging criminal records, creating community safety, resisting fines and fees imposed in criminal court and monitoring of a settlement agreement to improve medical conditions at Fluvanna Women’s Correctional Center.
About the position:
Legal Aid Justice Center seeks a movement attorney to challenge mass incarceration in our Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program. This position will work closely with the CRRJ Legal Director and the CRRJ team to dismantle the power and reach of the criminal legal system in Virginia.
While the work in this position will exist on a statewide level, the Attorney is expected to build community and focus organizing and advocacy efforts in the Richmond community and surrounding areas.
The Attorney will work closely with organizers, families, community members, local organizations, statewide partners, and other LAJC advocates to advance systemic change in CRRJ’s priority areas through a combination of individual representation; impact litigation; community outreach; and state and local policy advocacy.
Working on an interdisciplinary team, the attorney will use an integrated advocacy approach to support grassroots, community-led campaigns to advance decarceration and decriminalization, build the power and leadership of directly impacted people, challenge the ways in which the criminal legal system creates and exacerbates poverty and create community-led and community-centered safety. This position has the potential to incorporate cross-program work as needed.
Provide legal advice and counsel to community groups in Richmond working on campaigns to challenge mass incarceration.
Provide individual representation as needed on collateral consequences of the criminal legal system, such as expungement and fines and fees for criminal court debt).
Work alongside organizers and community members to build and implement impact advocacy campaigns in alignment with the CRRJ Program’s core priorities to challenge the reach of the criminal legal system in Virginia with a community driven advocacy approach.
Opportunity to co-teach and provide supervision in the UVA Law School’s Civil Rights and Racial Justice clinic. Supervise students in individual representation and work with co-instructors on curriculum and instruction on civil rights topics.
Strategize with the CRRJ team on campaigns and assist team members as needed to advance CRRJ’s work.
Advocate for legislation, regulations, and policies that support decarceration and decriminalization locally and statewide.
Participate in various work groups, coalitions, etc., and attend community events.
Assist with advocacy communications efforts, e.g., drafting press releases, responding to media inquiries, and drafting content for social media. As needed, produce publications including fact sheets, issue briefs, reports, and op-eds.
When appropriate, support and/ or lead impact litigation in state and federal court.
Provide subject matter expertise technical assistance as needed to CRRJ Program and Legal Aid Justice Center policy advocates and organizers.
Strong commitment to social, economic, and racial justice.
Membership in the Virginia State Bar, or eligibility and willingness to become a member of the VSB promptly – either by passing the bar exam in July 2023, or meeting requirements to “waive” into bar membership without taking the bar exam. (Note: this position may be eligible for the newly enacted Virginia Supreme Court rule allowing for any attorney working exclusively for a legal aid organization to practice without examination as long as they are in good standing in another state).
Willingness to work to decrease the scope and power of the criminal legal system
Professional or lived experience advocating in low-wealth communities
Commitment to movement lawyering (building the power and leadership of directly impacted people and taking leadership from them)
Outstanding oral advocacy, research, writing, and leadership skills
Ability to work effectively across multiple teams
Ability to communicate effectively across lines of identity
Willingness to travel statewide occasionally
Desire to seek out feedback and learn from it
At least one year of relevant experience working on criminal justice.
Experience with community lawyering approaches and/or organizing around criminal legal reform
Expertise in one or more of the CRRJ’s core issue areas, including fines and fees, police oversight, expungement, and prisoner rights issues.
Familiarity with Virginia state and/or federal court practice.
Experience with impact advocacy.
Experience working in or building coalitions.
Location: This role will be based in our Richmond office. If interested in the Charlottesville location only, please submit your application here. Occasional travel between offices will be required. Although a regular presence in the office is required, LAJC offers a remote work policy to support employees in co-creating schedules and arrangements that allow us all to do our best work.
Application Deadline: April 21, 2023. We accept applications on a rolling basis and encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible.
Salary: The salary scale for this position is $62,000 – $80,000 based on the LAJC salary scale. Placement on the range will be based on factors such as years of relevant experience, budget, and internal equity. To allow for salary growth within the position over time, the anticipated hiring range for this position is between the beginning to the middle of the range ($62,000 – $71,000).
Benefits: Our mission is compelling, and our team members are passionate about their work, and so we recognize the need to provide generous benefits and encourage rest and a healthy work environment. For example, we provide:
Generous paid time off every year, including 3 to 6 weeks of vacation, 12 days of health leave, 6 weeks parental leave, and 14 holidays (not including bonus holidays/rest days allocated as needed)
100% employer paid health, dental, and vision insurance, plus excellent family insurance with annual max of $2,400 premium contribution to LAJC-sponsored health plan
403(b) retirement plan with 4% employer contribution (no required match)
Strong commitment to professional development
Application Instructions: Complete the online application which may require a cover letter, resume, relevant writing sample, and contact information for three references. You can direct the cover letter to the hiring manager, Anna Kurien. Please note, we will not contact references without advance consent from candidates.
Vaccination Requirement: The Legal Aid Justice Center requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption as a qualification of employment. Proof of vaccination or accommodation request must be provided within one day of employment.
The Legal Aid Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, and communities to apply. The Legal Aid Justice Center is committed to strengthening the voices of our low-income clients, working in collaboration with community partners, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty. We strive to take on the issues that have broad impact on our client communities and to be responsive to client input. Recognizing the particular impact of racism on our clients and staff, we devote special attention to dismantling racial injustice. All applicants must be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In reviewing applications, we look for evidence that applicants have experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with traditionally marginalized populations.
Learn more here
Job posted: 2023-09-04