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Director, Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project
The City Bar Justice Center (CBJC) seeks an attorney committed to expanding access to justice to join us as Director of CBJC’s Federal Pro Se Legal Assistance Project (FedPro), an innovative initiative providing free, limited-scope legal assistance to non-incarcerated, pro se individuals litigating cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) in downtown Brooklyn. CBJC provides high-quality, free civil legal services to nearly 25,000 New Yorkers each year who lack the resources to hire private counsel. With a staff of about 30 – roughly one-third of whom are attorney project directors with deep expertise in their respective fields – CBJC also relies on expansive partnerships with law firms, corporate legal departments, the courts, the City Bar, and other stakeholders. In 2020-21, roughly 2,000 pro bono attorneys donated services to support legal services clinics and client matter work drawn from CBJC’s dozen civil legal services projects.
The FedPro Director’s areas of responsibility include, but are not limited to:
- Overseeing and ensuring the delivery of high-quality legal services at different stages of federal litigation to pro se litigants, including by providing: information and brief advice on the applicability of federal law to claims at issue, and on federal court procedure and individual judges’ rules; brief advice on case strategy and discovery practice; explaining court orders and rulings, mediation practice, and settlement offers; and drafting, reviewing, and editing pro se discovery and motion practice documents.
- Meeting with litigants served by FedPro either by appointment or during scheduled walk-in consultation hours at FedPro’s EDNY courthouse office in Brooklyn (note: FedPro does not represent litigants in court);
- Recruiting and supervising pro bono volunteers and interns to provide FedPro-sponsored pro se services;
- Managing and ensuring the quality of FedPro’s overall scope and services, including by supervising a CBJC administrative support team member; collecting case data and creating periodic reports for both CBJC and the Court; where appropriate, coordinating referrals for litigants who may need access to other social service or legal services organizations; and executing improvements so FedPro may better meet its objectives.
EXPERIENCE, SKILLS & REQUIREMENTS:
- Must be New York bar member in good standing with at least five years of litigation experience, including litigating novel or complex issues and/or employment, civil rights, or criminal matters.
- Strongly prefer candidates with some combination of: a federal clerkship; at least 2 years of federal court practice; and/or experience delivering high-volume client services or clinical legal services.
- Detail-oriented self-starter with superb legal judgment and a capacity to multi-task who is creative, thoughtful, and tech savvy; has experience building a program and/or leading teams; can support CBJC’s institutional commitment to the EDNY Court; and can demonstrate a commitment to pro bono, serving those who struggle with a lack of resources, and advancing racial equity.
- Excellent writing and editing, oral communication, and organizational/project management skills; ability to work both independently and with others, and to effectively supervise other attorneys, interns, and assistants.
- Excellent people and client counseling skills, including effectively interacting with members of the public in a respectful and sensitive way, many of whom suspect institutions and the legal profession, and some of whom struggle with mental illness.
- Proficient with Microsoft Office 365 and ability to effectively learn and use legal database and other platforms.
- Spanish language skills are a plus.
The City Bar Justice Center is currently working largely remotely but expects a gradual return of staff to the City Bar building in midtown Manhattan as the public health situation improves. Candidates for this position will be expected to begin working out of FedPro’s EDNY courthouse office before CBJC’s main offices fully reopen to all staff, and generally will be expected to physically staff FedPro’s courthouse office for most of a standard workweek post-pandemic (with the balance of time at CBJC’s main offices for supervision, team and committee meetings, and the like).
Candidates must be authorized to work in the United States. We are not able to sponsor visas for this position.
Salary for this position is based on experience and competitive for the public interest legal services sector. The New York City Bar Association provides a competitive benefits package, including generous paid time off, choice of medical plans, dental, vision, 401K, life insurance, commuter benefits, Employee Assistance Program, and employee discounts, among others.
To apply: Please send a cover letter explaining your interest, a resume, and three professional business references via email by June 30, 2021 to firstname.lastname@example.org with CBJC FedPro Director in the subject line. Position is open on or about August 1, 2021.
The City Bar Justice Center is a proud equal opportunity and affirmative action employer, and we particularly encourage applications from candidates belonging to communities historically under-represented in the legal profession. It is our policy to ensure equal opportunity in employment without discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, creed, age, national origin, alienage or citizenship status, gender (including gender identity and sexual harassment), sexual orientation, disability, pregnancy, credit history, salary history, caregiver status, marital status, partnership status, or status as a victim of domestic violence, stalking and sex offenses, religion, sex, genetic information, military or veteran status, unemployment status or any other characteristic as protected by law. With regard to the Americans with Disabilities Act and other related laws, the Organization will endeavor to make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities.