Equal Justice Works Fellow - Staff Attorney
Location: DC Metro Area
**Only candidates local to DC/MD/VA area are being considered at this time**
**Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply*
Our client, a highly mission driven non-profit in the DC metro area, is seeking an Equal Justice Works Fellow – Staff Attorney. The organization operates under the principles of Justice is the goal, Law is a means. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. We endeavor to find the most creative strategies to combat the abuses and injustices identified by our constituents. We value justice in the largest sense possible, not only one person at a time legal solutions, but broad, transformative solutions created in combination with immigrant leaders, organizers and other staff, other local and national organizations and direct service staff. We value our time and believe that through hard and sustained effort is often required, real rest is also necessary for creativity, stamina and “a life,” however defined.
Our client has been selected by Equal Justice Works as an implementing partner of Equal Justice Works’ Housing Justice Program. Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. The Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program is a program comprised of Attorney Fellows and Organizer Fellows who, over the course of a two-year fellowship term, will be part of a targeted initiative to address the justice gap in Maryland through responsive, context-specific innovations and interventions focused on housing justice. Specifically, Attorney Fellows and Organizer Fellows will serve to fight a variety of injustices related to housing instability and involuntary displacement in Maryland, particularly due to eviction.
An Equal Justice Works Fellowship is an opportunity to transform your passion for equal justice into a career. As a Housing Justice Program Fellow, you will be part of a prestigious program that, since its inception in 2019 in Virginia, has successfully improved housing stability in served communities by preventing more than 4,000 tenants from being evicted and conducting education and outreach efforts for more than 40,000 people. Most critically, former Fellows of the Housing Justice Program helped generate momentum for tenants to have the right to be represented by counsel in housing cases – a legal right to counsel – something that seemed inconceivable in Virginia just two years ago. Building on the success of Fellows in Virginia, Equal Justice Works is expanding the Housing Justice Program to Maryland.
As a Fellow, you will develop experience and skills to be a leader in social justice while promoting tenant protections and working directly with households experiencing housing instability. As a cohort, Fellows are expected to actively participate in peer-to-peer learning and required trainings delivered by Equal Justice Works and training partners throughout the year. In addition, Fellows will attend Equal Justice Works’ Leadership Development Training in October 2022 and 2023.
The selected Fellow will be employed by our client to fulfill all fellowship duties at a local and/or state level. The Fellow will report to the organization’s Supervising Attorney for day-to-day supervision, mentoring, and performance evaluation.
Responsibilities include but are not limited to the following:
Direct Legal Work
- Provide direct legal services addressing civil legal issues that arise from housing instability for low-income households, especially in eviction and wrongful detainer cases – legal screening, advice, brief service, full-scope representation, and pro bono assistance through legal clinics and referrals.
- Provide brief legal services, including intake, advice and referrals, to organization members in housing cases
- Oversee and provide legal orientation, counseling and education regarding a range of legal issues, including: poor housing conditions, illegal evictions, retaliation, race and national origin discrimination, consumer-rights violations, consumer-rights violations, immigration-related issues and other legal problems faced by members of the low-income immigrant community.
- Assist with affirmative litigation on cases that directly support tenants’ housing stability, including security deposit return, breach of contract, warranty of habitability, and consumer protection statutes.
Strategic Work with Organizers
- Support legal needs of the Organizing department, including by: providing legal consultations and direct representation to members of organization’s organizing committees: responding to urgent situations such as impending evictions of organization’s members or immigration raids; collaborating on achieving campaign objectives described below; and other support as needed.
- Co-counsel with other legal services providers or pro-bono counsel to pursue impact litigation.
- Engage in advocacy and community organizing efforts and campaigns for improved laws affecting members of the low-income immigrant community at local, state and federal level by drafting legislation, presenting testimony, organizing hearings and lobbying.
- Build key stakeholder relationships in furtherance of the Fellowship objectives; creating, fostering, and cultivating partnerships among legal services providers, tenants’ associations, community social services providers, and other community-based entities.
- Strategizing, planning and conducting training and outreach to communities and community organizations in furtherance of housing stability and affordability for low-income community members; engaging in peer-to-peer learning with other Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program Fellows.
- Engage in education and outreach through “know your rights” presentations on issues such as housing rights and immigration rights for organization members and the general community.
- Design and disseminate legal education materials and facilitate “training of trainers” workshops in which organizers and organization members are trained to reach out to others to inform them of their rights.
- Identify clients to participate in public, organized campaigns and to speak with media.
- Complete on-going data entry in a timely manner. Engage in an annual planning process to develop and execute an individual work plan, evaluating and providing feedback on plans as the year progresses.
- Provide detailed information regarding work including case examples, case profiles, and statistics for regular reporting deadlines.
- Work to improve and grow relationships with private bar and external organizations to leverage greater pro bono and other support.
- Actively contribute to and participate in Housing Justice Program cohort activities (resource exchanges; mandatory webinars and conference calls; and training events, including Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training in fall 2022 and 2023).
- Juris Doctor (J.D.) from an accredited law school.
- Active license with the Maryland State Bar or the ability to be admitted
- Spanish speakers are highly encouraged to apply
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities Required
- Bilingual English/Spanish (strongly preferred)
- Strong communication skills
- Strong professional client management skills
- Commitment to social justice
- Excellent writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills
- Strong oral and negotiation skills, and the ability to work as a team member
- Prior experience in managing independent projects or assignments
- Experience with delivering training and presentations a plus
- Diverse economic, social and cultural experiences
- Law school clinic, externship, summer, or other relevant practice experience
- Knowledge of housing benefits law and/or experience with housing and benefits agencies
- An ability to work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary setting to facilitate a coordinated community response and provide holistic services to clients
This is a union position, represented in collective bargaining by a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the Communication Workers of America, Local WBNG 32035 – Communication Workers of America (CWA). If you are offered and accept this position, you will be invited to become a member of the union. All bargaining unit positions require membership or agency fee payer status.
Our client offers a competitive salary and benefits package.