Attorney – Equal Justice America Fellow

Charlottesville, Falls Church, Richmond (VA)

Only Open to UVA Law School Graduates (2020-2023)

About the Legal Aid Justice Center:

The Legal Aid Justice Center is a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that partners with communities and clients to achieve justice by dismantling the systems that create and perpetuate poverty. Justice means racial justice, economic justice, and social justice.

From its offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church, LAJC is a fierce advocate for low-income clients and communities in Virginia. Just in the past year, we permanently repealed Virginia’s driver’s license suspension for court debt scheme, secured an injunction slashing the number of immigrants detained by ICE at the largest detention center in the Mid-Atlantic and passed a law giving Virginia oversight authority, won the nation’s first COVID-specific, statewide, and enforceable workplace safety standards, passed legislation enabling communities to set up civilian oversight for law enforcement, and decriminalized school-based disorderly conduct, which was a leading contributor to the school-to-prison pipeline, especially for Black students.

Founded in 1967, LAJC provides services under four key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice, Economic Justice, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Advocacy. LAJC boldly tackles issues of systemic injustice and aims to raise public and policymaker awareness of some of the most pressing challenges facing low-income Virginia residents. For more information, visit www.justice4all.org.

About Equal Justice America:

For over three decades now, EJA has funded law students and recent law graduates at legal aid programs throughout the country. With both summer and post-graduate fellowships, EJA Fellows fight to protect the rights of domestic violence victims, veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, immigrants, voters, the homeless and other low-income Americans most at risk. This 2-year fellowship at LAJC’s CRRJ program is generously funded by EJA.

For more information, visit equaljusticeamerica.com

About the position:

Legal Aid Justice Center seeks a recent graduate of University of Virginia Law School (JD awarded between 2020-2023) to join us in our Civil Rights and Racial Justice Program for a two-year fellowship beginning in Fall 2023 funded by Equal Justice America. 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 and will be based in Richmond, Charlottesville or Falls Church.

CRRJ Program

The CRRJ program at LAJC works to challenge all aspects of the criminal legal system in Virginia using a mix of grassroots advocacy, legislative work, individual representation and impact litigation. 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 (Scott v. Clarke).

Job Duties:

  • As a part of the CRRJ team, this attorney will strategize and work with the CRRJ team on its five main campaigns which are pretrial justice, fines and fees, expungement, creating community safety and the Scott v. Clarke case.
  • Provide advice and counsel to individuals and community groups on fines and fees, pretrial justice, expungement and policing.
  • Work alongside organizers and community members to build and implement impact advocacy campaigns in CRRJ’s core issue areas.
  • Advocate for legislation, regulations and policies that decrease the scope and power of the criminal legal system.
  • Produce publications including fact sheets, issue briefs, reports and op-eds.
  • When appropriate and with close supervision, support impact litigation in state and federal court.
  • Assist with advocacy communications efforts, e.g., drafting press releases, responding to media inquiries, and drafting content for social media.
  • It is critical that the attorney works to integrate any individual representation or impact litigation into existing and newly developing campaigns and grassroots advocacy.

Required Qualifications:

  • Must be a graduate of the University of Virginia, School of Law (graduated between 2020-2023).
  • Strong commitment to social, economic, and racial justice
  • Willingness to work to decrease the scope and power of the criminal legal system in Virginia
  • 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
  • Interest in movement lawyering and willingness to take leadership from people directly impacted by mass incarceration
  • Desire to seek out feedback and learn from it (growth mindset)
  • 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 February 2023, or meeting requirements to “waive” into bar membership without taking the bar exam. (Note that new Virginia Supreme Court Rule 1A:9 allows most lawyers who have practiced continuously in another jurisdiction for two years to become members of the VSB if they practice for Virginia legal aid organizations (like LAJC) under a “Legal Aid Counsel Certificate.”) LAJC provides bar study leave and application fee coverage

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with and interest in criminal legal issues.
  • Familiarity with community lawyering approaches and/or organizing around criminal legal change.
  • Interest in learning about impact advocacy, especially systemic litigation.
  • Interest in one or more of CRRJ’s core issue areas, including fines and fees, police oversight, expungement, pretrial justice, prisoner rights issues.
  • Work or lived experience advocating in low-wealth communities.

Location:

This role will be based in our Richmond, Charlottesville, or Falls Church offices. 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.

Deadline:

October 15, 2022. We accept applications on a rolling basis and encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible. Please note that this EJA Fellowship is only open to UVA Law Grads who graduated between 2020-2023.

Salary:

The annual salary for this two-year fellowship starts at $62,000 for fellows living in Richmond or Charlottesville. For fellows living in Northern Virginia, the annual salary starts $69,440 (this includes an upward 12% cost-of-living adjustment for LAJC employees based in Falls Church).

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
  • Attorneys only: Law school loan repayment assistance and full reimbursement for VA bar and CLE expenses
  • Relocation package

Application Instructions:

Email a statement of interest, a relevant writing sample, and resume to Anna Kurien at hiring@justice4all.org. In your statement of interest, please describe why you are interested in this role and your relevant work experience and classes. If you’re able, please submit your application as a single PDF titled “[date submitted in yyyy.mm.dd format][last name][first name][position sought][preferred location].” Please include “EJA Fellowship – CRRJ” in the email subject.

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. 

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