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Staff Attorney – Criminal Defense

Job Titles: Staff Attorney – Criminal Defense

Report to: Managing Attorney - Defense

Hours: Full-time, Hybrid office/remote

Salary: $61,000 to $81,000, depending on experience

Deadline: Position open until filled

ABOUT US

For 36 years, Georgia Justice Project (GJP) has served individuals, families, and communities impacted by the criminal legal system. GJP approaches social change in multiple ways: by providing direct legal and social services – including holistic criminal defense, early termination of probation, criminal record clearing, and other reentry legal services; by advocating for policy change in Georgia, resulting in 22 changes to Georgia law so far; by reducing harm in the criminal legal system through restorative justice facilitation; and by educating officials and community members on criminal justice and reentry issues. This work advances GJP’s goals of lowering the number of Georgians under correctional control, reducing barriers to reentry, improving public safety by addressing the underlying causes of crime, and challenging systemic racism as expressed through the criminal legal system. You can read more at www.GJP.org. 

ROLE OVERVIEW

GJP is looking for an experienced attorney to join our defense team as a Staff Attorney. The attorney will provide representation in pending criminal cases in Fulton and DeKalb counties, assist with providing legal services at the Metro Reentry Facility; and work with GJP’s leadership team and managing attorney to develop and implement a new Warrant Resolution Clinic in metro Atlanta.

GJP’s holistic defense representation is at the core of who we are. GJP provides zealous representation to people with pending criminal cases who cannot afford an attorney. Defense attorneys maintain a small caseload and devote substantial resources and time to each client and case. Each client is assigned a social worker who is an essential part of the team. The goal is to access comprehensive services and address issues the client may face – from mental health services or substance use treatment to finding housing or securing employment. We continue to work with our clients if they are under sentence and visit them if they receive a prison sentence, help maintain contact with their family, advocate for parole, and assist with reentry planning. The defense team also represents individuals around the state with early termination of probation and works with the Department of Community Supervision to ensure effective implementation of SB 105, which GJP drafted. (30-40% of time)

GJP has been involved with the Metro Reentry Facility (MRF), a men’s prison in metro-Atlanta, since it opened. GJP assesses the legal needs of the men at MRF to identify and address legal barriers to reentry – including holds and detainers for outstanding warrants and violations of probation and driver’s license suspensions. (10-20% of time)

A focus for this new staff attorney position will be representing individuals and working with community partners to create and staff a “Warrant Clinic” in Fulton County. The Clinic will be a part of the newly created Center for Diversion and Services. A joint effort between the City of Atlanta, Fulton County and various community partners, the Center will provide alternatives to placing people in the County jail and City detention center who suffer from behavioral health issues, substance use disorder, and/or extreme poverty. The Center will be housed in the repurposed Atlanta City Detention Center and allow law enforcement and first responders to transport individuals to a facility where they can receive basic services instead of confinement in jail or an emergency room stay. The Clinic will assist individuals who have a probation violation, bench warrant or failure to appear (FTA) notice to remove obstacles to participating in diversion. The Staff Attorney will work with partners to provide legal services for the existing jail population. Once the Center is established the GJP team will resolve outstanding legal matters at the Clinic to increase the number of individuals that can be diverted to receive services. (50% of time)

Defense attorneys participate in other initiatives such as education and training, resentencing, and supporting self-advocacy for justice-involved people and their families. The defense team also helps identify potential legislative fixes to address issues our clients face.

The ideal candidate will have:

· A minimum of 3 years of criminal defense experience; trial experience as first chair

· A desire to provide the highest quality representation for each client, regardless of the severity of the charges

· A commitment to an aggressive research and motions practice

· The ability to tell each client’s unique story

· Working familiarity with holistic representation and a multidisciplinary team

· A deep commitment to engaging with clients respectfully to seek out the best resolution

· A desire to work collaboratively with a team to keep multiple projects and goals moving forward

QUALIFICATIONS:

· Licensed Attorney with the State Bar of Georgia

· A demonstrated commitment to social and racial justice and an understanding of how poverty and race factor into the criminal legal system

· Ability to engage respectfully with diverse groups of people

· Strong negotiation skills

· Experience working with student interns and volunteers

· Willingness to perform some administrative tasks (GJP has a small support staff and we all pitch in to help where needed)

· Ability to work occasional evenings or Saturdays for special events or projects, occasional travel

· Driver’s license (required)

TO APPLY

Interested candidates should send a cover letter addressed to GJP’s Managing Defense Attorney Rachel Holmes, resume, and brief writing sample (no more than five pages) combined as a single PDF document to careers@GJP.org. Subject line text and name of the single pdf must be, “2022 Defense Atty – Last Name.” For example, if your last name is Jones, “2022 Defense Atty – Jones” would be the name of the pdf attachment and the text in the subject line.

GJP offers a comprehensive benefits package, including employer paid premiums for medical, dental, vision and life insurance, immediate 3% match and vesting in the retirement plan, and generous PTO. Salary range is $61,000 to $81,000, depending on experience.

GJP is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a diverse staff and welcomes qualified applicants of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses. GJP particularly encourages people who are formerly incarcerated or justice-involved to apply.

GJP requires all employees be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19 as a condition of employment, subject to accommodation. If you are hired, we will require you to prove you have received the COVID-19 vaccine or have a valid documented religious or medical reason not to be vaccinated. This paragraph informs you of the company's expectations before you begin work at GJP and you should not reveal information about your COVID-19 vaccination status prior to receiving an offer of employment.

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