ABOUT THE WASHINGTON LAWYERS’ COMMITTEE FOR CIVIL RIGHTS AND URBAN AFFAIRS
The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs works to create legal, economic, and social equity through litigation, client and public education, and public policy advocacy with a primary focus on racial justice. For the last 50 years, the Committee has been on the cutting edge of civil rights advocacy in the region bringing precedent setting litigation to address discrimination. Our work focuses on injustices in housing, employment, the criminal legal system, education, public accommodations, and civil rights of immigrants. We partner with individuals and communities facing discrimination and with the legal community to achieve justice. The Committee’s staff is unionized with the National Organization of Legal Service Workers Local #2320, UAW. This position is within the bargaining unit. For more information on the Washington Lawyers’ Committee, please go to www.washlaw.org.
ABOUT OUR CRIMINAL LEGAL SYSTEM REFORM PRACTICE
This paralegal in this position works as part of the Committee’s Criminal Legal System Reform team focusing on prisoners’ rights and policing abuse:
Reducing the impact of an unfair criminal system. The criminal system is a prime driver of inequality in the United States. We’re fighting at all levels, using structural litigation, non-litigation advocacy and direct services, to reduce the impact of our discriminatory criminal system.
Addressing the conditions of incarceration. Persons confined to prisons, jails, immigration detention and other criminal system institutions are confronted with unique and particularly cruel forms of state power. As long as mass incarceration is a fact, the need for prisoners’ rights advocacy will be essential. Work in this area is a substantial part of the position’s responsibilities.
Reducing unnecessary and discriminatory contact with the criminal system and its effects. Race bias is deeply embedded in each criminal system component, including in police departments, prosecutor offices, courts, prisons, the laws themselves, and the effects of collateral consequences. These effects are significant whether they result in long-term incarceration, crushing court-imposed financial obligations (debtors’ prisons) or barriers to employment, education or housing after a period of incarceration.
The paralegals are part of a team of paralegals who provide administrative support to the Committee’s civil rights and racial justice advocacy. Paralegals work under the direct supervision of Committee attorneys and are not engaged in the practice of law. Each paralegal has a primary assignment to one or more of the Committee’s substantive law areas.
Job responsibilities will vary by practice area and by case, but generally include:
- Investigate claims of discrimination and requests for legal assistance.
- Conduct client and witness interviews, participate in investigations and in case development, and provide support for litigation.
- Provide administrative support to finalize documents for filing in court and/or administrative agencies; handle electronic filing; secure electronic documents in Committee cases.
- Draft, finalize, and send appropriate correspondence in Committee matters, including managing the production of mass mailings.
- Keep all information in assigned matters current in the case management system, and support attorneys in doing the same; manage the Committee’s document retention policy with respect to closed matters and materials received from prospective clients; prepare and maintain settlement reports.
- Provide support to attorneys and advocates in community outreach efforts, and participate in same.
- Provide back-up coverage to Committee’s phone lines and reception when office is open.
- Timely provide requested information needed for press releases, newsletters, grant applications, donor and volunteer outreach, and grant reports, as requested by program, communications, or development staff.
- Ensure case accessibility for clients (securing interpretation, translation, Optical Character Recognition (OCR) compatibility, and any transportation or related issues)
- Participate in the coordination of the work of interns.
Preferred Experience and Skills:
The ideal candidate will possess the following skills and qualifications:
- Passion for civil rights and racial justice advocacy.
- Experience working with communities from a diverse set of socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, strongly preferred.
- Demonstrated awareness and sensitivity to the needs and concerns of individuals from diverse cultures, backgrounds and orientations;
- Able to contribute to the creation of a diverse, equitable and inclusive culture that encourages and celebrates differences;
- Bilingual ability in Spanish language (preferred)
Applicants with lived experience in communities historically under-resourced and marginalized due to race, class, gender, disability, etc. are encouraged to apply.
Based upon Washington Lawyers’ Committee pay scale, attached. Credit given for prior relevant experience. Generous leave and employer-funded benefits.
Attached is the job posting that includes the full description and salary scale. See here.
HOW TO APPLY
Please email a letter detailing your interest, a resume, and brief writing sample to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please place “[your name] – Paralegal in our Criminal Legal System Reform practice” in the subject line.
Applications will be considered on a rolling basis and the position will remain open until filled. The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs is an equal opportunity employer. Diversity is an essential component of the Committee, and we encourage all qualified persons to apply. Applicants are accorded an equal opportunity for selection without regard to actual or perceived race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression.
This position is a hybrid position with a three core days required to physically be in the office located in Washington, D.C. and up to two days of telework. We will be participating in-person when it is necessary to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients and the most effective advocacy.