Richmond, Charlottesville, or Falls Church, 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.
Founded in 1967, LAJC provides services under four key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice (CRRJ focuses on the criminal legal system), Economic Justice, Youth Justice, and Immigrant Advocacy. Working closely with communities, 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.
From offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church, LAJC fiercely advocates for low-income clients and communities of color in Central and Northern Virginia, and its work broadly impacts the entire state. Recent wins include a class-wide settlement requiring the Virginia Employment Commission to provide faster relief to thousands of applicants, obtaining an injunction against an immigrant detention center for unsafe conditions, establishing a system of automatic criminal record sealing, a class-wide, and secured historic levels funding in the state for equitable public education.
With a staff of over 80 and growing, LAJC is committed to tackling some of the most entrenched obstacles to eradicating poverty and discrimination in the state. Building on its roots as a traditional, direct-service, legal aid organization, LAJC has been expanding its focus to work toward broad systemic change while maintaining its deep connections to Virginia’s low-income communities and communities of color. We design strategic advocacy campaigns pursuing change through the courts, state legislature, and local bodies, and we prioritize listening to and organizing in communities seeking support dismantling barriers to racial, economic, and social justice.
About the Worker Justice Program:
LAJC will embark on creating a new Worker Justice Program, starting with the core of our existing farmworker team, which has been making history with the country’s first COVID- specific workplace safety protocols, groundbreaking litigation, and deep community connections in farmworker communities. The program will set a vision rooted in collective power, unity and solidarity, where power and decision-making are centered in working people.
The worker program will focus on farmworker justice in the first several years, but respond to community input asking LAJC to explore serving workers across the state, particularly issues faced by Black women workers. Building on an already community-centered approach, the team will seek to address the complex, cumulative ways that discrimination and systemic inequities across race, income, gender, and other social structures combine, overlap, and intersect to oppress workers.
About the positions:
To honor the partnership of organizing and law in our work, Legal Aid Justice Center seeks two strategic, collaborative advocates: one organizer and one attorney to co-lead a creative and passionate team of attorneys and organizers as the first ever Co-Directors for one of our programs. Reporting to the Deputy Director of Advocacy, the Co-Directors will chart the course of co-directorship between organizing and law, and also co-create the vision and direction for a new program focused first on farmworker rights, but expanding in the long-term to broader worker issues across Virginia. Program directors provide strategic vision for, guidance over, and implementation of advocacy campaigns.
Each director will have distinct areas of responsibilities (for example, in supervision of attorneys and organizers respectively), but we envision the work to be interconnected and mutually supported. Co-directors will be charged with creating the contours of this shared leadership: establishing modes of working with one another, creating decision-making protocols, setting conflict resolution norms, and distinguishing distinct areas of ownership between the two directors. Applicants may apply separately or together – if applying separately but wish to be considered together, please be sure to reference the other’s application.
- Devise strategic advocacy campaigns using the variety of tools employed by LAJC’s programs, including impact litigation and individual representation, organizing, policy advocacy, and community education and technical assistance.
- Create and set the agenda for the program, including annual planning and identifying priorities.
- Mentor and directly supervise staff, including attorneys, organizers, interns/fellows and volunteers.
- Build relationships with directly impacted community members, agency heads and elected officials.
- Assist with development and fundraising efforts as needed.
- Work in coalition with other legal, non-profit and community-based advocacy organizations.
- Serve as members of LAJC’s Leadership Team, which advises the Executive Director as she decides organizational priorities for all programmatic work and provides stewardship of organizational resources.
We’re seeking candidates who excel at working and leading effectively in teams and communicating across lines of identity and difference.
- Mission-aligned experience (work or lived) partnering with and advocating in low- wealth communities and communities of color.
- Sincere and demonstrated commitment to racial equity, inclusion, and justice
- Familiarity with farmworker issues (from work or lived experience)
- Ability to work and communicate effectively across lines of identity and difference, including the ability or interest to contest divisive narratives
- Demonstrated experience sharing leadership and making decisions in teams
- Ability to manage projects and teams with multiple moving parts
- Ability to work effectively both independently and collaboratively
- Strong oral advocacy, research and writing skills
- Willingness to work a flexible schedule that may include evening and weekend events, as well as occasional travel
- Minimum 5 years’ membership in any state bar.
- If not admitted in Virginia, must be eligible to waive in or willing to sit for the Virginia Bar. (Note that the 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.”)
- Minimum 5 years of experience with community organizing, advocacy, or strategic campaigning – knows how to identify an issue, bring a community together, and achieve lasting change
- Demonstrated experience working with individuals and/or communities directly impacted by economic and racial injustice, with an emphasis on immigrant communities of different nationalities.
- Spanish Fluency strongly preferred
- Experience supporting the development and execution of campaigns and/or community or movement lawyering, grassroots organizing, and coalition building
- Familiarity with working with workers with diverse backgrounds
- Prior supervisory experience (in official capacity as supervisor or substantially similar work without official title)
- Prior advocacy experience (work or lived) using an explicit race equity lens
- Flexibility and adaptive approach.
- Policy advocacy or systemic litigation experience
- Organizing a public pressure campaign alongside a lawsuit or legislation
Any of our three offices in Richmond, Charlottesville or Falls Church, VA. Occasional travel between offices will be required.
* Currently, all offices are closed to the public. This position will operate remotely until our offices resume in-person operation. The new Program Directors will have 3 months from the date we return to in-person work to relocate. *
Applications will start being reviewed immediately and on a rolling basis.
Our mission is compelling, and our team members are passionate about their work. 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, 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
Email a cover letter, resume, a list of three references, and a writing sample to Elaine Poon, Deputy Director for Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.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 “[your preferred location] [your preferred position] Co-Director WJP” in the email subject.
The cover letter should highlight any experience (lived or worked) advocating for justice for people who experience marginalization because of their race or economic status and/or specialized skills, such as data analysis, technology skills, or language fluency.
Questions? Contact Elaine Poon at email@example.com.
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.