Senior Attorney – CRRJ Program

Charlottesville, Falls Church, Richmond, Petersburg (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 Just in the past year, we permanently repealed Virginia’s driver’s license suspension for court debt scheme, secured an injunction slashing the number of immigrants detained by ICE at the largest detention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 the positions:

Legal Aid Justice Center seeks a litigation attorney 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.

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.

Although we are advertising for both an Attorney and Senior Attorney position, we have funding for only one position in the CRRJ program and will hire based on experience and skill levels of the candidates in the applicant pool.

Job Duties:

  • Serve as litigation specialist for the CRRJ program, litigating major cases, including serving as LAJC’s primary attorney on Scott v. Clarke, a class action on behalf of 1,200 women incarcerated at Fluvanna women’s prison.
  • The attorney will work with the CRRJ team to identify, file and litigate other impact cases to challenge the reach of the criminal legal system in Virginia with a community driven advocacy approach. Specifically, the attorney will file and handle impact cases arising from CRRJ campaigns with the goal of bringing systemic changes and building the power and leadership of marginalized communities most impacted by the harm the lawsuit seeks to remedy. It is critical that the attorney work to integrate impact litigation as well as any individual representation into existing and newly developing campaigns and grassroots advocacy.
  • The attorney will both handle cases independently and serve as co-counsel with experienced pro bono, civil rights attorneys around the state. In cases where we work with pro bono partners and external organizations, the attorney will assist with managing of the litigation team.
  • As a part of the CRRJ team, this attorney will also strategize with the CRRJ team on campaigns – both the ones they are staffed on as well as the others – and assist with integrating litigation or courtroom advocacy with other tools in campaigns that will advance CRRJ’s work.
  • This attorney will supervise 1-3 attorneys or paralegals, which includes day-to-day supervision and mentorship including conducting regular check-ins and managing workflow.
  • This attorney will have an opportunity to teach a clinic at the University of Virginia School of Law.

Required Qualifications:

  • At least four years of relevant experience
  • 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 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.
  • Professional or lived experience advocating in low-wealth 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
  • Interest in movement lawyering
  • Desire to seek out feedback and learn from it
  • Willingness to work to decrease the scope and power of the criminal legal system

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Four years or more of federal litigation experience
  • Familiarity with class action cases
  • Familiarity with community lawyering approaches and/or organizing around criminal legal reform
  • Experience with impact advocacy, especially systemic litigation
  • Expertise in one or more of the CRRJ’s core issue areas, including fines and fees, police oversight, expungement, and prisoner rights issues.
  • Experience with coalition building

Location:

This role will be based in our Richmond, Charlottesville, or Falls Church offices, or Petersburg offices. Occasional travel between offices will be required.

Deadline:

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

Salary:

Salary range is $75,000 to $95,000 based on years of relevant experience and LAJC’s formal salary scale, upward 12% cost-of-living adjustment is available for positions 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
  • 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 Anna Kurien at hiring@justice4all.org. In your cover letter, please describe why you are interested in this role. 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 “Senior Attorney – 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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