Attorney – Youth Justice Program

Charlottesville (VA)

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 Just in the past year, we permanently repealed Virginia’s driver’s license suspension for court debt scheme, secured an injunction slashing the number of immigrants detained by ICE at the largest detention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 Youth Justice Program:

The Youth Justice Program specifically seeks an attorney to work towards abolishing youth criminalization by eliminating the pipeline and reducing the harm of youth contact with the youth and adult legal systems and reducing surveillance by those with policing powers in schools and communities. In doing so, this practice centers the following values:

  • Centering community
  • Reducing the criminalization of immigrants
  • Ending family surveillance through the child welfare system
  • Ending discretionary fees and restitution requirements
  • Making youth representation free for all
  • Advocating for restorative / regenerative justice practices
  • Minimizing incarceration and promoting alternatives
  • Reducing and eliminating the collateral consequences of legal system involvement

About the position:

Legal Aid Justice Center seeks an attorney for its Youth Justice Program in our Charlottesville office. This position will maintain a practice that primarily involves youth decriminalization and school discipline issues (i.e., expungement; serious offender review hearing; fines and fees; restitution; DOJ climate review; surveillance; policing; excessive force; and, school discipline) but could also evolve to include holistic and interdisciplinary matters that address: education access; mental health; disability law; housing instability; immigration; and, family preservation.

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 Charlottesville community and surrounding areas.

The Attorney will work closely with organizers, social workers, families, community members, local organizations, statewide partners, and other LAJC advocates to advance systemic change in the aforementioned 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 legal and policy advocacy and organizing to support grassroots, community-led campaigns to advance youth decriminalization; demand a fair and restorative youth justice system, dismantle structural racism in Virginia’s child-serving systems, and build communities where all families can thrive.

Job Duties:

  • Provide advice and counsel to individuals and community groups on youth decriminalization, school discipline, and child welfare reform issues.
  • Represent youth in individual cases in administrative proceedings; school discipline hearings; and, before state and federal courts.
  • Work alongside organizers and community members to build and implement impact advocacy campaigns in alignment with the Youth Justice Program’s core priorities.
  • Advocate for legislation, regulations, and policies that support young people, especially youth of color, those from under-resourced communities, and students with disabilities.
  • Participate in various work groups, coalitions, etc., and attend community events.
  • As needed, produce publications including fact sheets, issue briefs, reports, and op-eds.
  • Co-teach and provide supervision in the UVA Youth Advocacy Clinic. Supervise students in individual representation of youth and work with co-instructors on curriculum and instruction on youth justice topics. It is estimated approximately 8 -12 hours per week will be committed to teaching or student supervision duties during the academic year.
  • Assist with advocacy communications efforts, e.g., drafting press releases, responding to media inquiries, and drafting content for social media.
  • When appropriate, support and/ or lead impact litigation in state and federal court.
  • Provide subject matter expertise technical assistance as needed to Youth Justice Program and Legal Aid Justice Center policy advocates and organizers.

Required Qualifications:

  • 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 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.
  • Professional or lived experience advocating in under-resourced communities.
  • 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.
  • At least one year of relevant experience working in youth justice, decriminalization or school discipline representation.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Familiarity with Virginia state and/or federal court practice.
  • Familiarity with community lawyering approaches and/or youth organizing.
  • Experience with impact advocacy.
  • Experience with administrative school discipline hearings.
  • Expertise in one or more of the Youth Justice Program’s core issue areas, including education access, youth decriminalization, and holistic family defense.
  • Experience with coalition building.

Location:

This role will be based in our Charlottesville office. 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:

February 6, 2023. We accept applications on a rolling basis and encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible.

Salary:

Salary range is $62,000 to $80,000 based on years of relevant experience and LAJC’s formal salary scale.

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

Application Instructions:

Email a cover letter, a relevant writing sample, and resume to Fallon Speaker at hiring@justice4all.org. 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].” Please include “Attorney – Youth Justice Program” 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. 

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.

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