Family Law Staff Attorney | Children's Law Center

Family Law Staff Attorney

Description: 

Who We Are

At Children’s Law Center, everything we do is focused on one thing – delivering better client outcomes for kids and families in DC.  Our staff are empowered to open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions.  We encourage intellectual curiosity, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect.

Our greatest assets are our people.  We strive to attract and cultivate a vibrant, creative, and diverse community.  We recognize that people with diverse backgrounds, experiences and perspectives fuel our ability to provide the best outcomes for our clients.  Our staff drive the Children’s Law Center’s mission with their leadership, result-orientated mindset, and commitment to cultural humility and centering the needs of our clients.  We are looking for an individual who enjoys working in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment, likes to be challenged, and values the opportunity to make a difference.

Children Law Center’s success depends on recruiting and retaining individuals who possess and value these attributes.

Children’s Law Center is currently operating remotely.  This position will work from a remote location until the organization returns to the office.

Job Summary

This position is part of our Pro Bono Program, which comprises our in-house domestic relations practice as well as our external volunteer program.  This position focuses on our in-house domestic relations practice and supports our external volunteer program through training and mentorship. 

The primary responsibility of the Staff Attorney is to provide high-quality representation in custody guardian ad litem cases and third-party caregiver matters.  Most matters are heard in the Domestic Relations Branch of D.C. Superior Court, where 83-93% of family law litigants are unrepresented and cannot afford an attorney.  There is an extremely high need for guardian ad litem attorneys to represent the best interests of children in high-conflict custody cases and Domestic Relations Branch judges refer such cases to CLC.  The Staff Attorney serves as the guardian ad litem in these cases, providing the court with critical best interest recommendations to reduce family conflict and increase stability for children.  In third-party caregiver matters, the staff attorney represents third-party caregivers seeking to provide some of DC's vulnerable children with ongoing care and stable homes when their parents are unable.  The child welfare system has a long history of separating Black families, and CLC's caregiver matters support children living with kin rather than unfamiliar foster parents.  The Staff Attorney represents caregivers in custody, guardianship, and adoption cases in D.C. Superior Court. 

In addition to carrying a caseload, the Staff Attorney also conducts intakes and provides brief advice or services as assigned, trains and mentors volunteer pro bono attorneys, assists with the onboarding and supervision of the loaned investigator, law clerk, and intern staff, and completes specific projects as delegated by the Pro Bono Director or Legal Director.  This role has an established career path with the potential for promotion to a Senior Attorney.

The Staff Attorney reports to a Supervising Attorney in the Pro Bono Program.

Duties/Responsibilities

Case Handling: Advocacy

  • Carry a caseload of approximately twenty-five to thirty cases, providing high-quality direct legal representation in custody guardian ad litem and third-party caregiver matters in D.C. Superior Court.
  • Zealously advocate for clients in all cases through reflective case planning, thorough investigation, and high-quality litigation planning to achieve positive client outcomes.
  • Attend all court dates and timely file all appropriate pleadings.

 

Case Handling: Policy and Protocol Adherence

  • Adhere to program policies and protocols, including case planning notes, litigation protocol, case notes and timekeeping policy, and client visitation and contact protocol in order to achieve positive outcomes for clients outlined in program logic models.
  • Ensure timely and accurate input of case information into case management system.  CLC policy requires a minimum of thirty hours to be entered weekly.

 

Case Handling: Supervision

  • Attend and actively participate in regular supervision with supervisor to brainstorm case strategies, keep supervisor informed, and ensure quality of representation.
  • Provide written materials to supervisor for feedback.
  • Immediately report any impending or actual difficulty in fulfilling obligations to clients or CLC to minimize adverse consequences for clients or the organization.
  • Identify and elevate Targeted Appellate Strategy Issue List cases to supervisor and Appellate Team.

 

Professional Development

  • Work with supervisor to set annual goals to direct professional development.
  • Exchange positive and constructive feedback with supervisor.
  • Formulate plans to achieve annual goals and incorporate feedback from supervisory staff to improve or enhance performance by utilizing strengths and addressing challenges.
  • Participate in quarterly and annual goals reviews.

 

Caregiver Intakes, Referrals, and Brief Advice or Service

  • Support and handle caregiver intakes as assigned to determine whether a potential client has a family law legal issue where CLC can assist.
  • Enter intake information into case management system and conduct intakes according to program guidelines.
  • Provide caregivers with brief advice, brief service, and/or referrals as assigned.
  • Conduct legal research and/or identify other community resources as needed.
  • Develop or update outreach and education materials as assigned to improve the efficacy and timeliness of legal service delivery to client community.

 

Volunteer Support

  • Participate in hiring, onboarding, and supervision of loaned investigator position and law clerk and intern staff as requested.
  • Develop and conduct pro bono volunteer attorney trainings as assigned.
  • Develop or update pro bono volunteer training materials as assigned.
  • With experience, develop skills and capacity to mentor external pro bono volunteer attorneys handling caregiver and custody guardian ad litem cases.

 

Evaluation and Data Management Activities

  • Ensure timely and accurate input of case and intake information into case management system and adhere to applicable policies and protocols to support learning and positive outcomes for clients.
  • Maintain accurate, timely data entry for non-case-related activities including but not limited to trainings and volunteer mentoring.

 

Learning and Systemic Advocacy

  • Attend and participate in all Pro Bono Program team meetings, CLC attorney and staff meetings, and other internal committees and working groups as requested by the Pro Bono Director.
  • Provide support to CLC’s Policy Team in areas of expertise to address the systemic needs of CLC’s client community.
  • Participate or attend external committees as needed and requested by the Pro Bono Director.

 

Skills/Abilities

  • A demonstrated commitment to social, economic, and racial justice. 
  • Cultural humility as shown through demonstrated openness to self-reflection and commitment to understanding and respecting other cultural experiences and points of view and viewing individuals as the experts on their culture and experience.
  • Strong legal analysis, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Ability to be self-reflective and give and receive constructive and corrective feedback.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills.
  • Exceptional interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Intellectual aptitude and curiosity.
  • Some experience mentoring or teaching a plus.

Education and Experience

  • JD and DC Bar membership or immediate eligibility to waive in required.
  • Experience in legal services or other community lawyering.  Experience that will be considered includes job experience, law school clinics, clerkships, and internships.

Salary and Benefits

The salary for this position ranges from $54,500 to $65,658 annually for applicants with 0-5 years’ relevant experience.  Children’s Law Center offers a generous benefits package that includes medical, dental, vision, and short- and long-term disability insurance; employer-provided retirement contributions; flexible spending plans; and vacation, sick, holiday, family and medical leave.  Additionally, the DC Bar Foundation’s Loan Repayment Assistance Program provides renewable one-year, interest-free, forgivable loans up to $12,000 per year for qualified Children’s Law Center attorneys.  For more information, see https:/dcbarfoundation.org/lrap/.

Application Instructions: 

To apply, please submit the following materials in one PDF file: cover letter, resume, writing sample and 3 professional references.  Please do not submit application materials as a .zip attachment if submitting by email.  Applications may be submitted via mail, fax, or email to: 

 

Children’s Law Center

Attn: Family Law Staff Attorney

501 3rd Street NW

8th Floor

Washington, D.C. 20001 

Jobs@ChildrensLawCenter.org

No telephone calls please.

 

Children’s Law Center is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We are committed to equal employment opportunities for all applicants and existing employees.  We evaluate qualified applicants without regard to ancestry, age, color, disability, genetic information, gender identity, gender expression, marital status, military or veteran status, national origin, race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, and any other basis protected by federal, state, or local law, ordinance, or regulation. We invite you to visit us here to learn more about our company and our career opportunities (www.childrenslawcenter.org/join-us).

Children’s Law Center is committed to fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. If you believe that you need accommodation to search for, or apply for, one of our positions please send an email to Jobs@ChildrensLawCenter.org. In your email, please include the accommodation you are requesting and the job title you are applying for. It may take up to three business days to receive a response to your request.