Mar 15, 2024

Attorney, Housing & Consumer Justice

$62,000 - $80,000 yearly
  • Legal Aid Justice Center
  • Hybrid (237 North Sycamore Street, Petersburg, VA, USA)
Full-Time Advocacy/Lobbying Legal

Job Description


About the Legal Aid Justice Center:


The Legal Aid Justice Center is a nationally recognized, non-profit organization that partners with communities and clients to fight for racial, social, and economic justice. We understand that the harms our clients endure are inextricably linked to overarching systems of injustice. Together we are dismantling those systems through a combination of community organizing, litigation, policy advocacy, public relations, and individual legal services.  

Very recently, we helped lead the fight to reform Virginia’s unemployment insurance system including advocacy that resulted in the distribution of over $1 billion in illegally withheld payments to over 160,000 Virginians. During the pandemic, we helped hundreds of families avoid eviction through a combination of legal representation and help accessing rent relief funds. Our staff are on the front lines of some of the most important anti-poverty fights happening today.  

Founded in 1967, LAJC has offices in Charlottesville, Richmond, Petersburg, and Falls Church and provides services under six key program areas: Civil Rights & Racial Justice, Economic Justice, Youth Justice, Health Justice, Immigrant Justice, and Worker Justice. For more information, visit www.justice4all.org. 


About the Housing and Consumer Justice Program:

Formerly a part of LAJC’s Economic Justice Program (EJP), the new Housing and Consumer Justice Program will continue its long tradition of deep tenant organizing, systemic litigation and policy advocacy in consumer and housing cases, as well as its eviction defense work through individual representation. We partner with directly impacted communities to achieve racial justice, social justice, and economic justice for all by dismantling systems that create and perpetuate poverty, homelessness, and vicious cycles of debt.

Our housing and consumer organizers and attorneys collaborate closely to design and implement campaigns that keep people and families safely housed without the constant fear of eviction, so they can thrive in their communities. Recent wins include supporting the establishment of a tenants’ council which won fair billing for electrical services, the passage of an ambitious affordable housing policy in the City of Charlottesville that included the abolition of single-family zoning, and obtaining almost $4 million in rent relief for tenants during the pandemic. In addition, LAJC is leading a Fourth Circuit appeal in a critical housing discrimination lawsuit seeking to secure protections under the Fair Housing Act for immigrants (Reyes v. Waples Mobile Home Park).  We actively advocate for tenants in public housing redevelopment campaigns in Richmond and Charlottesville, and we support tenants in becoming their own advocates in their communities. Finally, we represent a plaintiff in a class action under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act against one of the biggest eviction mill law firms in the Commonwealth.

 

About the position:

You will be an attorney in LAJC's Housing and Consumer Justice Program (HCJP) focused on housing in the Petersburg area. This position will maintain a general practice handling a variety of legal matters presented by individual clients within the greater Petersburg community, including Hopewell, Colonial Heights, and surrounding counties. This position could also incorporate cross-program legal matters as needed, such as education matters (e.g., enrollment, special education, and school discipline issues), health and public benefits work (e.g., reduction or termination of social security/Medicaid/SNAP benefits), or other urgent matters as they arise. 

Our housing and consumer team advances racial justice in housing, combats mass eviction, and engages in community advocacy to fight for tenants' right to safe, clean, equitable, and affordable housing and the ability to remain in their communities of choice. The Attorney will work closely with organizers, tenants, community-based organizations, statewide partners, and other LAJC advocates to identify and track systemic housing issues affecting our client communities in the Richmond area. 

HCJP attorneys pursue these goals through a combination of individual representation, community outreach and education, impact litigation, and state and local policy advocacy. 


Job Duties:

  • Provide individual representation and advice to low-income tenants in Petersburg and the surrounding counties in administrative hearings, state court, and federal court. 
  • Identify patterns and practices that are barriers to Petersburg residents’ ability to stay in or obtain housing, and combat these barriers through combination of impact litigation, policy advocacy, and/or organizing campaigns in consultation with HCJP organizers.
  • Engage in community meetings such as City Council meetings, Redevelopment and Housing Authority Board meetings, tenants' association meetings, or other community gatherings designed to learn, advocate for, and support client rights. 
  • Participate in strategic planning, and following LAJC’s interdisciplinary model, work collaboratively with organizers and policy and communications directors to integrate legal, organizing, policy, and communications strategies.
  • Attend community meetings as needed or requested by community groups and in conjunction with Petersburg housing organizers. 
  • Conduct education and outreach regarding tenants’ rights.  This may include doing Know Your Rights trainings for tenants, individual outreach to tenants facing eviction, attending community events to provide tenants’ rights materials, etc. 
  • Review proposed state and local housing policies and advocate for or against such policies to meet client communities’ needs, often in conjunction with community partners.
  • Provide support to administrative team relevant to housing matters as needed. 
  • Contribute to organizational health through working groups, hiring committees, and other collaborative spaces building internal infrastructure of the organization.
  • Racial equity: Promote racial equity across all dimensions, including within LAJC, by doing the following:
    • Helping to recruit, retain, and support both staff and leadership that reflect the racial composition of our community.
    • Cultivating respect for the work of and expanding resources for non-attorney staff that are disproportionately people of color.
    • Creating spaces for staff to discuss issues of racial, gender, and all other issues of marginalization.
    • Pushing for institutional and cultural changes by management, the board, and staff to further promote racial equity.

Hiring Organization

Legal Aid Justice Center

Qualifications

 

Required:

 

  • Strong commitment to social, economic, and racial justice. 
  • At least 1 year of relevant experience working on housing issues.
  • Membership in the Virginia State Bar, or eligibility and willingness to become a member of the VSB promptly – either by passing the bar exam in July 2023, or meeting requirements to “waive” into bar membership without taking the bar exam. (Note: this position may be eligible for the newly enacted Virginia Supreme Court rule allowing for any attorney working exclusively for a legal aid organization to practice without examination as long as they are in good standing in another state). 
  • Experience working with and/or representing tenant communities.
  • Professional or lived experience advocating in low-income communities.
  • Commitment to movement lawyering (building the power and leadership of directly impacted people and taking direction from them).
  • Outstanding oral advocacy, research writing, and leadership skills.
  • Ability to work effectively within a team. 
  • Ability to communicate effectively across lines of identity. 
  • Willingness to occasionally travel statewide. 
  • Willingness to seek out and learn from feedback.


Preferred Qualifications
:

 

  • Expertise in Virginia landlord tenant law. 
  • Experience with high-volume caseload or impact litigation/impact advocacy.
  • Experience with community lawyering approaches and/or organizing around housing issues. 
  • At least 3 years of relevant experience working on housing issues. 

 

Location: This role will be based in our Petersburg office. Occasional travel between offices will be required. Although a regular presence in the office is required, LAJC offers a remote work policy to support employees in co-creating schedules and arrangements that allow us all to do our best work.


Salary: The salary scale for this position is $62,000 - $80,000 based on the LAJC salary scale. Placement on the range will be based on factors such as years of relevant experience, budget, and internal equity. To allow for salary growth within the position over time, the anticipated hiring range for this position is between the beginning to the middle of the range ($62,000 - $71,000). 


Vaccination Requirement: The Legal Aid Justice Center requires all employees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved medical or religious exemption as a qualification of employment. Proof of vaccination or accommodation request must be provided within one day of employment.

The Legal Aid Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer, committed to inclusive hiring and dedicated to diversity in our work and staff. We strongly encourage candidates of all identities, experiences, and communities to apply. The Legal Aid Justice Center is committed to strengthening the voices of our low-income clients, working in collaboration with community partners, and rooting out the inequities that keep people in poverty. We strive to take on the issues that have broad impact on our client communities and to be responsive to client input. Recognizing the particular impact of racism on our clients and staff, we devote special attention to dismantling racial injustice. All applicants must be dedicated to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. In reviewing applications, we look for evidence that applicants have experience and/or thoughtfulness in working with traditionally marginalized populations. 

Industry/Service Area

Consulting/Advising, Crime/Legal, Housing/Shelter

Level

Entry-level

Benefits

Benefits: Our mission is compelling, and our team members are passionate about their work, and so we recognize the need to provide generous benefits and encourage rest and a healthy work environment. For example, we provide: 

  • Generous paid time off every year, including 3 to 6 weeks of vacation, 12 days of health leave, 6 weeks parental leave, and 14 holidays (not including bonus holidays/rest days allocated as needed) 
  • 100% employer paid health, dental, and vision insurance, plus excellent family insurance with annual max of $2,400 premium contribution to LAJC-sponsored health plan. 
  • 403(b) retirement plan with 4% employer contribution (no required match) 
  • Strong commitment to professional development 
  • Relocation package 

Application Instructions

Application Deadline: April 13, 2024. We accept applications on a rolling basis and encourage candidates to apply as soon as possible. 

Application Instructions: Complete the online application which may require a cover letter, resume, relevant writing sample, and contact information for three references. You can direct the cover letter to the hiring manager, Lauren King at Laurenking@Justice4all.org. Please note, we will not contact references without advance consent from candidates. 


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