Guardian ad litem Staff Attorney | Children's Law Center

Guardian ad litem 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 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 home until the organization returns to the office.

Job Summary

This position is part of our Guardian ad litem program. Attorneys in our Guardian ad litem program represent children who are the subject of abuse and neglect cases in DC’s Family Court.  Staff attorneys work closely with CLC social workers, investigators and special education attorneys to advocate, formally and informally, to advance the best interests of clients with regard to their safety, permanency, physical and mental health and education.   

CLC is committed to providing high quality representation. To achieve this goal, new attorneys participate in an intensive training and Onboarding process before representing clients and receive close supervision during their first year of practice.  In addition, CLC maintains reasonable caseloads (max of 35) and provides ongoing training opportunities for all attorneys.  Staff are required to input time, case notes and case documents into our case management system as the file of record for the clients and to assist with supervision, professional development, case planning as well as CLC’s outcome evaluation work.

GAL Staff attorneys manage a case load of approximately 35 cases.  Staff attorneys advocate, formally and informally, to advance the best interests of clients, maintain notes in the case management system, and keep their supervisor informed of all significant developments in their cases.

In addition to their duties in representing their clients, attorneys work with multidisciplinary teams consisting of an investigator, social worker, and special education attorney.  CLC endeavors to maintain a collaborative and collegial workplace where staff attorneys assist colleagues on their cases and provide emergency and holiday coverage when possible to assist in maintaining that environment.

Duties/Responsibilities

Case Handling: Advocacy

  • Provide high-quality direct legal representation.
    • Independent investigation.
    • Client-centered advocacy.
    • Creative and zealous advocacy
    • Regular client contact and information sharing.
    • Attend all court dates and timely file all appropriate pleadings for clients.
    • Timely and accurately document casework in case management system.

 

Case Handling: CLC Obligations

  • Ensure timely and accurate input of case information into case management system and adhere to applicable policies and protocols, including case planning notes, litigation protocol, timekeeping policy, client visitation and contact protocol, case closure form, and supervision standards in order to achieve positive outcomes for client families.
  • Attend and actively participate in regular supervision to brainstorm case strategies, keep the supervisor informed, and ensure quality of representation.
  • Refer cases to SW team or ED team for collaboration for assistance with service identification, caregiver assessment, external teaming issues, etc.
  • May provide assignments, training and/or supervision to law clerks (not mandatory).

 

Participate in and contribute to Learning, Systemic Advocacy and Appellate Practice

  • Provide support to Children’s Law Center Policy Team in areas of expertise to address the systemic needs of the Children’s Law Center client community.
    • Direct case stories, trend issues or client data are used to provide background and advocacy for legislative or interagency initiatives as well as used in testimony on behalf of clients in DC Council.
  • Identify and elevate cases to the Appellate Team in accordance with the Targeted Appellate Strategy Issue List (TASIL).
    • TASIL issues are precedent or court rules that CLC has identified need further clarification, challenge or adjustment.
  • Participate in all required trainings, meetings, and other CLC events including but not limited to:
    • Litigation Meetings
    • Supervision
    • Case Rounds
    • Attorney Meetings
    • Thursday Training
    • GAL Staff Meetings

 

Professional Development

  • Use Core Competencies to set annual goals and review them quarterly to for professional development.
    • Core Competencies include:
      • Use of supervision for shared thinking,
      • An understanding of cultural humility /implicit bias. 
      • Independent judgement and decision making. 
      • Teaming ability.
      • Work Life Balance.
      • Demonstrated Expertise.
      • Demonstrated ability to work independently.
      • Time Management and Prioritization.
      • Ability to be self-reflective and give/receive constructive and corrective feedback.

 

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 own culture and experience.
  • A combination of strong legal skills, self-reflection, and leadership skills.
  • Strong litigation, legal analysis, research, writing, and oral advocacy skills.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work independently and collaboratively.
  • Strong independent judgement and decision-making skills.
  • Strong interpersonal, communication, and relationship-building skills.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills, and demonstration of work/life balance.
  • Bilingual English/Spanish communication skills strongly preferred.
  • Experience in legal services, child welfare law or other community lawyering a plus.

 

Education and Experience

  • JD and DC Bar membership or immediate eligibility to waive into the DC Bar required.
  • Valid Driver’s license required.

 

Salary and Benefits

The salary for this position ranges from $54,500- $65, 658 annually for applicants with 1-5 years’ 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. Children’s Law Center is a 501(c)(3) organization.  Employees with federal student loan debt can apply for Public Service Loan Forgiveness.  For more information, go to https://myfedloan.org/borrowers/special-programs/pslf

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 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: GAL Staff Attorney Hiring Committee

501 3rd Street NW

8th Floor

Washington, D.C. 20001 

202.467.4949 (fax)

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 organization 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.