full time legal

Job Details

Texas Fair Defense Project is seeking a Managing Attorney of Litigation. This is an exciting opportunity to shape the work at a rapidly-growing organization on the cutting edge of the fight against the carceral state in Texas. The ideal candidate will be an innovative and dedicated attorney who prioritizes working authentically with the people and communities harmed by the criminal legal system and who will work collaboratively with staff, clients, and community partners. They will have experience in civil rights litigation, movement lawyering, and/or public defense; a deep understanding of the intersecting ways the criminal legal system targets people based on race, income, and ability; and an eagerness to find creative ways to challenge and disrupt that system.

About Texas Fair Defense Project

At Texas Fair Defense Project, we believe that lawyers should support movements led by impacted communities, and not lead them. Our work is collaborative, mission-focused, values-driven, and... fast-paced. Most of what we do is in coalition with partners, working closely with clients, community organizations, other legal organizations, and public officials. We prioritize community care and longevity, and actively work to foster a supportive and sustaining organizational culture. As an organization and as individuals, we are committed to antiracism work, which includes ongoing critical examination of our programs, relationships, and approaches.

We fight to end the criminalization of poverty in Texas by:

  • Working with clients to disentangle them from the criminal legal system in matters that threaten freedom and dignity but do not have a currently-recognized constitutional right to appointed counsel, including through Class C misdemeanor representation, expunction assistance, and early probation termination
  • Using policy advocacy, community lawyering, and strategic litigation to shift power to the people impacted by the criminal legal system and push for systemic change
  • Supporting organizers and community organizations in their campaigns fighting the carceral system

Job Responsibilities

Our office is currently functioning remotely due to the global pandemic. Therefore work location will be flexible until our office reopens based on available information from the CDC and local health officials. Once our office reopens, this position will be based in Austin, Texas, with the possibility of working from another location in Texas.

This position reports to the Executive Director and is responsible for the following:

  • Working with TFDP leadership, staff, clients, and community partners to develop and implement a strategic vision for our litigation program
  • Working collaboratively with community partners to make strategic decisions about when litigation is appropriate with the awareness that litigation is no panacea and often not the most effective tool
  • Managing, developing, and maintaining TFDP’s litigation program, including the selection of cases; investigating and developing cases; building litigation teams within TFDP and with partners; engaging in litigation in state and federal court; and overseeing ongoing litigation
  • Supervising at least one staff attorney and managing recruitment efforts for additional staff as funding permits
  • Serving as a resource on legal matters for staff, partners, and clients
  • Planning and reporting on litigation activities, including developing budgets, reporting to TFDP staff and board, and supporting writing and reporting on grants

Required Qualifications

  • J.D. and license to practice law in a U.S. state, preferably Texas or with ability to waive into Texas bar
  • Excellent writing and other communication skills
  • Commitment to racial justice
  • Collaborative and compassionate approach to lawyering
  • Commitment to fostering skills and leadership in staff

Preferred Qualifications

  • At least three years’ experience as a practicing attorney
  • Experience in public defense, movement lawyering, or strategic litigation designed to disrupt and dismantle the criminal legal or other unjust systems
  • Deep knowledge of the criminal legal system and the way it punishes people for poverty

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