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Hope Pipeline Project Staff Attorney

POSITION SUMMARY

An attorney, who has specialized training and expertise in education law, children’s civil and human rights, legal representation of children with complex trauma/needs, basic interdisciplinary understanding of legal systems that impact children with disabilities, and restorative justice practices.

Our clients are generally 12-21 years old and many are involved in the juvenile justice  and/or dependency systems or are experiencing homeless. Our legal services program is designed to keep young people out of juvenile court by reconnecting them to education, healthcare, mental health, and other community supports. We work closely with public defenders, juvenile justice-related community-based partners, and the community to positively impact the young person’s life while helping the youth to accomplish their goals and reduce further contact with the courts. The goal of all of our programs is to divert children away from school exclusion, arrest and incarceration, and directly into the supports that have the best chances of getting them back on track in their home community.

The staff attorney may provide representation in the areas of special educational, health care access, dependency, and housing. This includes provision of services and supports under a 504 or Individualized Education Plan as well as addressing discipline such as frequent suspensions, alternative school setting, and risk of expulsion. The staff attorney advocates for the rights of youth who are homeless, LGBQIA+, and who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Person of Color. The staff attorney will advocate in the juvenile justice through a civil/defense collaboration. The staff attorney may collaborate with and refer to other legal services providers to address identified legal need, including but not limited to tenant’s rights, eviction defense, and social security.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Primary job duties include providing holistic civil legal representation to youth who are at risk of or already involved in the juvenile justice. Advocacy involves breaking down legal barriers to education and other community-based services and supports, including but not limited to, safe and stable living situations, mental health care and medical services, and other civil rights issues. Activities include legal advice and/or representation, negotiations, or other dispute resolution processes.

  • Work collaboratively with other agencies, organizations, government entities through a restorative justice framework for the best interest of the child and protection of the child’s civil and educational rights;
  • Identify legal issues and advocate for the child’s best possible outcome in various settings, including 504/IEP meeting, conduct review/manifestation hearings, etc.;
  • Monitor case activity, prioritize representational tasks, and communicate with client;
  • Provide educational know your rights trainings to parents, youth, and community partners;
  • meet with client and parent/guardian;
  • Recommend local service providers, evaluators, and psychologists and other professionals;
  • Provide advocacy in juvenile court in partnership with public defenders to promote alternatives to secure detention, commitment, and prosecution as an adult;
  • collaborate with and referrals to community legal services providers;
  • other advocacy activities, including community training, outreach, and policy work on behalf of our client base.  

QUALIFICATIONS

  • 1-3 years of legal practice experience
  • Member in good standing of the Florida Bar Association or eligible for reciprocity or limited admission to practice pending admission to the Florida State Bar Association
  • Exceptional legal skills, preferably in the relevant areas of law school discipline/special education, public health care, public benefits, re-entry issues, delinquency, child welfare, or other areas of youth related law
  • Knowledge of the education options available and be familiar with IEP issues, disabilities, discipline issues and behavioral supports
  • Knowledge of the operations of the juvenile justice system in Florida
  • Knowledge of the community partners serving youth in the juvenile justice system
  • Skills in computer applications Word, Excel, Power Point, etc.
  • Skills in presentation of information to various entities
  • Exceptional oral and written communication skills
  • Experience working with young people, especially adolescents

EDUCATION

  • Minimum Juris Doctor, eligible to become licensed to practice law in Florida.
  • 2 years’ experience in mental health or related area with special emphasis on services to children. Experience in working with educational or juvenile justice systems.

Salary and benefits commensurate with experience. Position available until filled.

If interested, please email resume and cover letter to Betsy Dobbins, bdobbins@jaxccr.org.

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