Contract Staff Attorney: Expunction Project

Texas Fair Defense Project is seeking a contract staff attorney for our direct legal services program. The staff attorney will work with and report to our Managing Attorney of Client Services to expand access to expunctions and driver’s license recovery for people who cannot afford to hire an attorney in Central and greater Texas,l playing an essential role in expanding access to TFDP’s legal services which help people out of poverty and criminal legal system involvement. The staff attorney will also work with our policy and litigation team to address their clients’ legal issues through systemic reform.

 

The ideal candidate will have experience representing low-income people and dedication to uplifting the agency and dignity of their clients. They should also be a self-starter who is organized, resourceful, diligent, and committed to seeing through projects that will benefit our clients. 

Job Responsibilities 

The staff attorney is based in Austin, Texas, reports to the client services managing attorney and is responsible for the following:

  • Represent clients in their expunction and driver’s license recovery cases, including contested cases and appeals

  • Help people obtain expunctions and driver’s licenses through an assisted pro se model and develop assisted pro se expunction materials

  • Work with partners to hold legal clinics for expunctions and driver’s license recovery

  • Work with pro bono team to assign cases and provide case management support to volunteer attorneys, including developing and maintaining volunteer attorney materials and resources 

  • Assist in staffing and preparing materials for legal clinics

  • Partner with social service providers, governmental agencies and other nonprofits to identify needs for services and opportunities for direct, assisted pro se, or pro bono representation

  • Assist in policy advocacy in TFDP’s issue areas, including by working with clients who are interested in participating in advocacy.

Qualifications

We are seeking candidates who are organized, attentive and enthusiastic about engaging volunteers and assisting clients. 

 

You should have:

  • A J.D. with eligibility to practice in Texas or willingness to take Texas bar exam

  • Experience providing excellent legal services to low-income people

  • Commitment to client-centered representation with an eye toward strategy for systemic change

  • A track record of maintaining strong working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders

  • A demonstrated interest in social justice

 

This is a grant-funded contract position, either part-time on an hourly basis or full-time for 18 months with benefits and paid leave, depending on best fit for organization and candidate. TFDP is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system, and people from other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. 


To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and a list of three references to jobs@fairdefense.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and accepted until July 31, 2020.

Fellowship Applicant: Open Courts Project

Texas Fair Defense Project is seeking applicants for a fellowship project focusing on open courts in Texas. The applicant selected for the fellowship will partner with TFDP to develop an application for the 2021-2023 Equal Justice Works fellowship and other similar fellowship programs.

 

This fellowship project seeks to guarantee public access to criminal court hearings in Texas, specifically at “magistration,” the hearing where an initial bail determination is made. Magistration is also when people arrested for nonpayment of fines and fees are given the hearing at which the judge decides whether or not to commit them to jail to pay off their debt with “jail credit.” Despite a constitutional mandate to make court hearings available to the public, in the vast majority of Texas courts, the public is not permitted to view or access magistration. 

 

As a result, it is very difficult for TFDP or others to know exactly what happens in these hearings, making it virtually impossible to hold jurisdictions accountable when they violate arrestees’ constitutional rights. This fellowship project would address these problems through advocacy and litigation in jurisdictions that block public access to magistration. By shining a light on what happens at magistration hearings, TFDP will be able to prove and challenge other constitutional violations that occur during these hearings.

Job Responsibilities 

The fellow will be based in Austin, Texas, reports to the Managing Attorney for Policy and New Initiatives, and would be responsible for the following:

  • Identifying best practices for public access to courts in a variety of settings, including ranging from very rural to large urban settings;

  • Outreach to communities impacted by an inability to access criminal court proceedings, especially initial bail-setting hearings;

  • Collaborating with county, city, state, and judicial leadership across Texas to ensure constitutional and statutory rights to open courts are being met; 

  • Developing policy and litigation strategy to vindicate open courts rights in unconstitutionally closed settings; and

  • Other duties as appropriate.

Qualifications

We are seeking candidates who are organized, attentive and enthusiastic about making the criminal legal system more accountable to the public.  

 

You should have:

  • A J.D. with eligibility to practice in Texas or willingness to take Texas bar exam (by Fall 2021);

  • Experience providing excellent legal services to low-income people;

  • Commitment to client-centered representation with an eye toward strategy for systemic change;

  • A track record of maintaining strong working relationships with a diverse group of stakeholders; and

  • A demonstrated interest in social justice.

 

Salary commensurate with experience and may vary according to particular fellowship plan parameters. TFDP provides all fellows medical and dental benefits, paid vacation, sick and family leave. TFDP is an equal opportunity employer. People of color, people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system, and people from other underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply. This position is contingent on fellowship funding with a possibility for renewal.

 

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and a list of three references to jobs@fairdefense.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and accepted until August 1, 2020, or until the position is filled.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Twitter Social Icon