The Public Defender Association (PDA) is looking for a Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion (LEAD) Staff Attorney to provide legal services to LEAD clients. In addition to providing direct legal services, the LEAD Staff Attorney will closely coordinate with client case managers and create systems to provide more efficient legal services delivery, such as legal guides and trainings for case managers and legal clinics for LEAD clients.
The ideal candidate will be excited about a widely varied legal practice, assisting LEAD clients across all areas of legal need. Although broad legal experience, especially in family law, is preferred, the most important characteristics applicants can possess are the ability to independently and efficiently learn new legal practice areas and strong legal research and writing skills. PDA seeks an attorney motivated to help those most frequently disadvantaged by existing justice and social service systems, including those with disabilities and people of color. The most successful applicants will excel in providing legal services to individuals who have difficulty consistently engaging in their own representation.
The Public Defender Association advocates for justice system reform and develops alternatives that shift from a punishment paradigm to a system that supports individual and community health. Grounding reform in a public health and safety framework, PDA develops new strategies and implements models that improve on conventional responses to crime and public order issues. In collaboration with community and government partners, PDA uses policy advocacy, organizing, litigation, and public education to achieve its goals.
The LEAD Staff Attorney would principally work with the Policy & Legal Department, one of PDA’s four primary project areas:
- Civil Survival: Civil Survival organizes people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation.
- Collective Justice: Collective Justice aims to reduce harm caused by violence and mass incarceration by building effective, trauma-informed healing responses that reflect healing justice principles.
- Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion: PDA houses the project management team for the LEAD program. LEAD is a community-based diversion approach with the goals of improving public safety and public order, and reducing unnecessary justice system involvement of people who participate in the program.
- Policy & Legal Department: PDA’s policy and legal department promotes responses to public health and safety challenges that address the needs and goals of communities most disproportionately impacted by the criminal justice system. Current focus areas include police accountability, drug user health, and ending criminal-legal monetary sanctions.
The Staff Attorney will offer trauma-informed legal services to clients in the LEAD program. The attorney will offer representation across the wide range of LEAD participants’ legal needs (family law, criminal defense, housing, etc.). LEAD clients face a variety of challenges, including homelessness, mental illness, and substance use, that can complicate their ability to engage with legal services. Legal services will be provided through the principles of harm-reduction—meeting clients where they are, in a way that is responsive to their specific needs.
The attorney will work closely with client case managers at Evergreen Treatment Services to ensure that the legal representation plan closely aligns with the client’s broader social service goals. In addition to providing direct legal services, the LEAD staff attorney will create and implement systems to provide more efficient legal services delivery. This will include creating legal guides and trainings for case managers and leading legal clinics for LEAD clients.
As time permits, the attorney will also engage in other legal and policy advocacy, outside of the LEAD program. Current legal & policy focus areas include police accountability, drug user health, and ending criminal-legal monetary sanctions. Advocacy will utilize a variety of tactics, including direct representation, community organizing, appellate advocacy, and lobbying.
The LEAD Staff Attorney will primarily work with two other attorneys—Prachi Dave and Corey Guilmette. The attorney will work closely with and help supervise PDA’s legal interns. As time permits, the attorney may provide legal counsel to PDA’s other project areas.
- Member, in good-standing, of the Washington State Bar Association, or ability to gain admission in 2020.
- The most important skill an applicant can possess is the ability to independently and efficiently learn new legal practice areas and offer representation with a high level of competence.
- Strong legal research and writing skills are required and will be critical to the attorney’s success in this position. Strong policy advocacy writing skills are preferred.
- Family law experience is highly preferred.
- Although no applicant will have experience in all expected areas of practice, greater experience with the following areas will be preferred: landlord-tenant, criminal (warrants, criminal defense, sex offender registration relief, record vacation/sealing), legal financial obligations, employment, and immigration.
- Experience and skill working with individuals with mental illness, substance use disorder, and other disabilities is required. The successful applicant will excel in providing legal services to individuals who have difficulty consistently engaging in their own representation.
- Ability to balance the needs of multiple clients with time-sensitive legal needs, while also maintaining strong communication with clients with less pressing needs is required.
- Strong ability to work collaboratively, both with colleagues and with client case managers is required. The successful applicant will have strong conflict management skills and be able to tactfully engage with external partners
- Policy advocacy and organizing skills are preferred.
- Familiarity and strong relationships with local policymakers, community leaders, and marginalized communities are preferred.
Salary range is $68,336-$115,506, depending on experience. Within the position salary range, salary increases 6% annually. An additional annual cost of living increase is provided at the discretion of the Board of Directors. Benefits include:
- 401k match of up to 4% of salary, beginning after six months of employment;
- Annual, 2% of salary, profit sharing contribution to 401k, provided in most years;
- Generous medical and dental benefits for employees and family members;
- 12 days vacation, accrued annually, increasing to 24 days vacation, accrued annually. The LEAD Staff Attorney will start with 15 days vacation already accrued;
- 12 personal days, accrued annually;
- Unlimited ORCA card; and
- Monthly $50 employer cell phone contribution.
This is a Fair Labor Standards Act exempt, at-will position; continuation in the position depends on both performance and funding.
Equal Opportunity Employer
PDA is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and fosters an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices. PDA actively promotes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity. PDA is committed to maintaining an organization whose staff, Board and clients are diverse in background, experience, race, color, national origin, gender, age, religious affiliation, marital status, sexual identity, sensory, mental or physical abilities, veteran status, and other qualities that strengthen the program while reinforcing its commitment to basic fairness. People of color, those directly impacted by the criminal justice system, people who identify as queer, trans, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals needing a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process should contact Corey Guilmette at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 641-5334.
How to Apply
Submit the following to Corey Guilmette at email@example.com by June 5, 2020 at 11:59 pm:
- Letter of interest
- Two legal writing samples, unedited by others
- Names and contact information for three references