The Justice & Accountability Center of Louisiana seeks a full-time Staff Attorney to work with and for currently and formerly incarcerated people to mitigate the collateral consequences of the criminal justice system. The Staff Attorney will represent clients, provide advice for pro se litigants, manage pro bono attorneys, and coordinate with other service providers and government agencies to address the civil legal needs of those re-entering our communities after incarceration. This position will focus primarily on implementing the legal services components of Community Incentive Grants in Orleans and Jefferson parishes, resulting from the Justice Reinvestment Act (JRI) reforms passed during the 2017 Louisiana legislative session. Areas of practice and referral include, but are not limited to, expungements, family law/child support modifications/paternity suits, consumer/collections, tax liabilities, municipal/traffic attachments, public benefits, and driver’s license reinstatements.
The Organization: The Justice & Accountability Center (JAC) of Louisiana tackles deficiencies in the post-conviction phase of the criminal justice system while creating a supportive, collaborative space for attorneys and advocates. Our theory of change is to support communities by providing legal services, advocacy, technical support, and data to reduce mass incarceration and recidivism. We are an extremely small, statewide non-profit that relies heavily on pro bono attorneys and occasionally on contract attorneys in order to accomplish our mission.
Primary Job Functions:
- Conduct general civil legal intake with currently and formerly incarcerated people at the Plaquemines Detention Center, Angola, legal clinics, community locations, and partner agencies;
- Spot civil legal issues and directly represent clients, refer to partner agencies, coordinate with contract attorneys, and/or recruit pro bono attorneys for client representation;
- Monitor referral and pro bono case progress to ensure client needs are met;
- Engage in thorough and timely case and file management;
- Coordinate with data management systems of partner agencies;
- Gather and analyze data for sharing with partners, the public, volunteers, donors, and foundations as ethically permitted under law;
- Create and present pro-se and “Know Your Rights” materials relative to re-entry and civil legal services;
- Staff and coordinate expungement workshops and re-entry clinics;
- Coordinate, staff, and/or teach Continuing Legal Education courses;
- Perform legal research;
- Conduct outreach in person, through social media, and by collaborating with partner agencies and organizations; and
- Attend and thoughtfully participate in task force, coalition, and committee meetings with an eye toward systemic solutions.
Education & Experience:
- J.D. and active Louisiana bar license required;
- At least two years of experience at a public defender’s office or in civil legal aid is required (one year as a 3L law clinic student may be substituted);
- Experience with Louisiana expungement law strongly preferred;
- At least two years experience in family law, consumer law, or another civil practice area relevant to formerly incarcerated individuals preferred;
- 3+ years of practice is preferred; and
- Experience working with volunteers or pro bono attorneys preferred.
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities:
- Flexible, organized, and creative;
- Proven collaboration and coordination skills;
- History of employing extreme accuracy and attention to detail in all work;
- Administrative and event-planning skills;
- Proven database management of case notes and client communications;
- Self-directed, with an ability to independently identify next steps and follow through on them;
- Supervisory skills, particularly with volunteers and students of varied skill levels;
- Commitment to racial equity, social justice, and decarceration;
- Ability to communicate effectively with courts, attorneys, clients, donors, media, government agencies, and the general public;
- Working knowledge of all major social media platforms;
- Analytical skills including the ability to see the system and the infrastructure while also realizing the tasks and activities required to reach larger goals;
- Experience identifying legal problems that lend themselves to policy advocacy, legislative change, and/or impact/class litigation; and
- Ability to respond quickly to the changing needs of a developing organization working on multiple pilot projects.
- This is a full-time, exempt, professional position with a salary range of $50,000 to $60,000, DOE. Benefits are 100% paid.
- The Staff Attorney may be called upon to work hours in excess of 40 hours in a workweek, including the potential for evening and weekend work. JAC encourages work-life balance and utilizes a comp time model.
- Travel – particularly throughout Southeast Louisiana and occasionally overnight – will be necessary. An independent form of reliable transportation is required.
- This position is currently grant funded for one year, with a strong possibility for renewal.
- JAC is an extremely small non-profit, which requires consistent dedication to mission, the ability to say no, and the willingness to stretch beyond comfort zones in order to move toward mission and goals.
Please email your cover letter, resume, 2 writing samples fully of your own creation, 3 references with contact information (we will not call without permission), and law school transcript if you obtained your J.D. within the past 5 years to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please state where you learned of this position. Please respond by January 31, 2019. Applications will immediately be considered on a rolling basis. Targeted start date is March 1, 2019. No phone calls. Incomplete and late applications will not be considered.
JAC is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of age, color, disability, gender, national origin, race, religion, sexual orientation, veteran status, or any classification protected by federal, state, or local law. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and veterans are strongly encouraged to apply.