Public Service Career Opportunities 

Social justice careers offer lawyers the invaluable opportunity to aid and serve indigent communities. To promote participation in this field, the Gillis Long Poverty Law Center created this resource to allow students and alumni access to the latest career opportunities.

Fellowships

Equal Justice Works 

Equal Justice Works Fellows have represented thousands of adults, children and families in need in communities across the country. Fellows design unique projects that serve and address a range of legal issues including domestic violence, homelessness, community economic development, immigration, civil rights, juvenile justice, employment rights, health care, consumer fraud, and environmental justice. Equal Justice Works then matches the fellow with sponsors to support their projects.

The 2015 Fellowship Application is now open, and the deadline for submission of all application materials is September 17, 2014 at 5:00 p.m. EDT.

United States Court of Appeals: Legal Fellow

The Legal Division of the Office of the Clerk, U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is seeking a highly qualified attorney for the court’s Legal Fellows Program. Participation in the Program offers a valuable opportunity for attorneys interested in federal practice to develop appellate litigation skills and obtain first-hand knowledge of how the court operates. Because the caseload of the D.C. Circuit involves diverse areas of federal law, fellows will have the opportunity to work on a wide variety of cases.

Public Service Careers

Capital Area Immigrants’ Rights (CAIR) Coalition: Program Director, Detained Children’s Program

The program director plans, administers, and oversees the Detained Children’s Program, which is undergoing significant growth in response to the large influx of unaccompanied immigrant children crossing the U.S. border fleeing violence in Central America. The program director ensures effective implementation of the program and compliance with CAIR Coalition’s contract with the Vera Institute of Justice while the program grows to serve additional children ages 6 to 17. The program director provides direct supervision to a supervising attorney, a senior attorney and the program’s pro bono coordinator. The program director reports to the legal director.

Catholic Migration Services: Immigration Staff Attorney

CMS is a not-for-profit organization that provides free or low cost legal services to low-income Brooklyn and Queens residents in immigration, housing, and employment matters. The staff attorney will counsel and represent individuals in Immigration Court, and before the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. The staff attorney will also represent individuals in Family Court in guardianship and custody hearings to obtain a Special Findings Order. The attorney will help to staff special outreach events and community-based legal clinics in Brooklyn and Queens.

North Carolina Justice Center: Staff Attorney, Immigrant & Refugee Rights Project

The North Carolina Justice Center, a progressive policy advocacy organization whose mission is to expand opportunity and protect the rights of poor and moderate-income individuals and families in North Carolina, is seeking a staff attorney to work with its Immigrants and Refugee Rights Project.

The responsibilities of this Staff Attorney position include providing representation in immigration-related matters to low-income immigrants and their families in immigration court and before the Board of Immigration Appeals, challenging immigration court decisions and advocating for fair and correct interpretations of immigration laws.

Workers Defense Project in Dallas, Texas: Staff Attorney

Created in 2002, WDP is a statewide membership-based workers rights organization that builds power for construction workers in Texas. Its mission – to empower low-income workers to achieve fair employment through education, direct services, organizing, and strategic partnerships – is accomplished through a network of dedicated staff, volunteers, and members.

The Dallas Staff Attorney will directly represent low-wage workers in employment claims such as wage theft, injury, and discrimination cases as part of the Employment and Legal Services Department. The Staff Attorney will oversee legal support staff and volunteers. WDP uses a wide range of legal, administrative, and community-based tactics to assist low-wage workers with recovering their wages or seeking redress for legal violations on the worksite. WDP employs a unique model of casework that incorporates worker empowerment through legal advocacy and engages worker clients in organizational campaigns to win safe and dignified working conditions and fair pay for workers in Texas.

American Bar Association: Pro Bono Counsel, Section of Taxation 

The Pro Bono Counsel works closely with Tax Section members and staff to develop and grow pro bono programs for the Tax Section. Responsibilities include program development and management, advertising, writing and editing, and recruitment.

The Pro Bono Counsel also administers the Christine A. Brunswick Public Service Fellowship through the Public Service Fellowship Committee as well as the Janet Spragens Pro Bono Award through the Pro Bono Award Committee. The Pro Bono Counsel will cultivate relationships with the Tax Court, Armed Forces, IRS, the low income taxpayer community, Tax Section members, and other ABA entities.
 

Accountability Counsel: Policy Director

Accountability Counsel defends the environmental and human rights of marginalized communities around the world. As lawyers for people harmed by internationally-financed projects, we focus on innovative ways to provide access to justice. We specialize in complaint
offices established to receive community complaints. We accomplish our mission through: (1) assisting communities to use these non-judicial complaint offices effectively, and; (2) policy advocacy, ensuring that these complaint offices are accessible, transparent, and fair tools for justice. We also provide resources for communities and organizations seeking assistance with use of complaint offices. We work closely with community members to help voice their complaints. Our work pays particular attention to women, girls and other marginalized groups, who are often the most deeply harmed by abuses.

Accountability Counsel is seeking an experienced professional to join us as a full-time Policy Director to be based in Washington, D.C. The Policy Director is responsible for implementation of Accountability Counsel’s Policy Advocacy program and strategy regarding the use and improvement of non-judicial accountability offices tied to international finance and development. The position reports to Accountability Counsel’s Executive Director.

The Center for Justice and Accountability: Executive Director 

 The Center for Justice & Accountability (CJA) is a San Francisco based international human rights organization dedicated to deterring torture and other severe human rights abuses around the world and advancing the rights of survivors to seek truth, justice and redress. CJA uses litigation to hold perpetrators individually accountable for human rights abuses, develop human rights law, and advance the rule of law in countries transitioning from periods of abuse.

The new Executive Director will be the chief strategist and public face of CJA. Reporting to the Board of Directors and collaborating with a strong management team, the Executive Director will lead a diverse and talented staff of ten, including five attorneys. The Executive Director will be ultimately responsible for executing the strategic plan and growing the resources to support an expanding caseload.

Advancement Project: Staff Attorney

Advancement Project is a next generation, multi-racial civil rights organization. We tackle inequity with innovative strategies and strong community alliances. With a national office in Washington, DC and two offices in California, we combine law, communications, policy and technology to create workable solutions and achieve systemic change. We aim to inspire and strengthen movements that expand opportunity for all.

The Staff Attorney will work to address the “School-to-Prison Pipeline,” namely the over-use of punitive school discipline policies and practices that push students – and especially students of color – out of school and into the juvenile and criminal justice systems. The Staff Attorney will be expected to work closely with grassroots organizations representing communities of color around the country. The Staff Attorney will be expected to use a variety of legal, policy, communications, and coalition-building strategies to assist our community partners in dismantling the School-to-Prison Pipeline.

Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender: Staff Attorney Position

OPCD is an independent agency of the Tennessee state government. The agency represents people sentenced to death in Tennessee and provides assistance and educational resources to appointed counsel in capital cases. Direct representation is focused upon the investigation and presentation of post-conviction claims in state courts. OPCD has cases throughout Tennessee and travel is required.

The Tennessee Office of the Post-Conviction Defender is accepting applications for a staff attorney position.

Qualifications:

  • Tennessee Bar license, eligibility for comity admission, or willingness to sit for and pass the next bar exam
  • Superior research, writing, and oral advocacy skills
  • Strong organizational and time-management abilities
  • Applicants must be team-oriented and possess a demonstrated commitment to indigent criminal defense
  • Prior experience in capital trial, appellate, state post-conviction, or federal habeas practice is strongly preferred
  • 2014 law school graduates will be considered only if they possess capital defense internship experience

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLIP): Environmental Justice Attorney 

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI) is seeking applications for a Staff Attorney in its Environmental Justice Program. The position will include legal, policy, and administrative advocacy, as well as community organizing and coalition-building. The Environmental Justice Program takes on issues ranging from the systemic overburdening of low-income communities of color with polluting facilities, to the presence of dangerous toxins in public schools, to environmentally just community development.  

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLIP): Disability Justice Staff Attorney 

The work of the DJ Program is founded on principles of equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities. In partnership with individuals and community organizations, we use a wide range of advocacy tools to assert the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities to equal access to a variety of critical services, including education, health care, housing, and police protection. We advocate for individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community with the support services they need, in addition to addressing abuse and neglect within institutions. Our advocacy also encompasses the realm of communication access, specifically the rights of deaf or hard of hearing individuals and limited English proficient individuals with disabilities to participate equally in New York City programs and services.

The DJ staff attorney will work on systemic advocacy and individual representation in some or all of the areas described above, with a specific focus on promoting the rights of students with disabilities in New York City's public school system to a free appropriate public education and to the full spectrum of programs and activities that the public schools have to offer.

New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLIP): Disability Justice Staff Attorney (Housing)

The work of the DJ Program is founded on principles of equality of opportunity, self-determination, and independence for people with disabilities. In partnership with individuals and community organizations, we use a wide range of advocacy tools to assert the rights of New Yorkers with disabilities to equal access to a variety of critical services, including education, health care, housing, and police protection. We advocate for individuals with disabilities to live as independently as possible in the community with the support services they need, in addition to addressing abuse and neglect within institutions. Our advocacy also encompasses the realm of communication access, specifically the rights of deaf or hard of hearing individuals and limited English proficient individuals with disabilities to participate equally in New York City programs and services.

The DJ staff attorney will engage in systemic and individual advocacy in some or all of the areas described above, with a focus on combating discrimination against people with disabilities in housing. This advocacy includes efforts to obtain reasonable accommodations (e.g. building a ramp for a wheelchair-user), challenging discriminatory exclusion (e.g. refusing to rent to a deaf individual), and defending against discriminatory eviction (e.g. evicting a blind tenant because she uses a service animal).