The Northwest Justice Project (NJP) offers a unique leadership opportunity in a mission driven organization serving the legal aid needs of low-income people and communities in the South Puget Sound region of Washington State. Olympia is Washington’s State Capitol and the area includes diverse industries, affords rich cultural and recreational opportunities, and offers significant opportunity for professional growth and development within a larger statewide legal aid program. NJP is a not-for-profit law firm that provides free civil legal services to address barriers and promote justice for low-income persons throughout the state. NJP pursues its mission of Combatting Injustice • Strengthening Communities • Protecting Human Dignity through legal advice and representation, community partnerships, and education to empower clients and combat injustice in all its forms.
NJP is seeking qualified candidates to serve as Managing Attorney for its regional service office located in Olympia. NJP’s Olympia office serves Thurston, Mason and Lewis counties.
Northwest Justice Project’s Managing Attorneys play a critical role in the statewide delivery of civil legal assistance to low-income communities across Washington State. The Managing Attorney is responsible for the overall management of regional offices and specialized units comprising Northwest Justice Project’s (NJP) statewide law firm and supports carrying out the program’s vision, mission, Strategic Plan and other initiatives and goals.
The Managing Attorney reports to the Senior Managing Attorney of their assigned region. The Managing
Attorney represents the office/unit as part of the larger NJP leadership team.
The Managing Attorney provides direct supervision and management of office/unit legal and support
staff of the assigned office/unit.
The Managing Attorney manages the law practice office/unit that make up NJP’s comprehensive legal aid delivery system and works with the statewide team of Managing Attorneys as a critical part of the larger NJP leadership team. Specifically, the Managing Attorney responsibilities include:
- Operating their assigned office/unit to ensure that staff act in pursuit of NJP’s mission and vision and consistent with NJP policies and procedures.
- Providing direct supervision of advocate and support staff, implementation of program policy and compliance requirements, and development and maintenance of local, client, community and public relations.
- Engaging with client communities and groups to identify and facilitate local/regional response to client legal needs, including direct service to clients and engagement in systemic advocacy.
- Serving as the face of NJP within the service area (including with local stakeholders, governmental contacts, and media), including serving as liaison between the local community and NJP’s Executive Director as needed.
- Ensuring NJP provides the training and resources necessary to support the office and its work.
- Serving as an advocate for local staff, client and community needs in the development and implementation of NJP’s statewide strategic plans, goals and initiatives.
The Managing Attorney makes attorney hiring recommendations, hires non-attorney staff, and provides ongoing coaching and support to their assigned office/unit staff; takes corrective action to address any performance issues; and, in consultation with the Senior Managing Attorney, Human Resources Director, and Senior Management as appropriate under the circumstances, recommends and implements disciplinary decisions, including termination of employment. The Managing Attorney has final authority over the work assignments and performance of non-exempt office staff, Assistant Managing Attorneys or Lead Attorneys as relevant to the office/unit.
The Managing Attorney is expected to provide direct client representation as appropriate within the framework of their duties, including as needed, serving as lead counsel or co-counsel on cases to train new advocates or to expand the substantive expertise of advocates and/or provide needed support on systemically important or sensitive cases.
Supervision of Advocate and Support Staff
Communicates clear performance expectations for all office/unit staff as well as providing necessary support to enable staff to meet expectations.
- Works collaboratively to provide basic tools required to perform duties, including identification and support of training needs.
- Performance management: Provides regular, ongoing supervision and informal coaching in addition to participating in NJP’s defined performance appraisal process.
- Works collaboratively with support staff to identify opportunities for skill development, leadership opportunities, staff recognition and rewarding achievement.
- Takes appropriate steps to improve any deficiencies in performance.
- Makes final hiring decisions
Oversight of Case Management:
- Case assignment/review
- Supervision of client services/quality control;
- Compliance requirements.
- Training Needs: Engages with each advocate to identify and support training needs.
- Performance management: Provides regular, individualized, ongoing coaching and conducts NJP’s defined performance appraisal process.
- Identifies opportunities for skill and career development, leadership opportunities, staff recognition and rewarding achievement.
- Makes promotion recommendations regarding Lead Attorneys and/or Assistant Managing Attorneys as relevant within their office/unit.
In consultation with the Deputy Director and/or Director of Advocacy as appropriate, serves as resource for advocates to problem solve including, but not limited to:
- Ethical issues;
- Regulatory Compliance;
- Quality concerns/malpractice/risk management;
- Conflict resolution
Development, maintenance of local community, public relations and community engagement:
- Develops and implements office/unit community engagement plan that is practicable, achievable and inclusive of the local community, and specifically seeks out marginalized or traditionally underserved populations.
- Develops and maintains relationships within the region’s communities, key partners and stakeholders, e.g. regional planning, VLP’s, social services, governmental and other entities.
- Identifies, promotes and provides logistical support for funding opportunities or initiatives to support local office/unit or other advocacy needs, e.g. grant proposals, special project needs, fellowship opportunities, private donors, etc.
Direct service to clients and engagement in systemic advocacy and with client communities
- Demonstrates leadership on systemic and affirmative litigation and advocacy
- Participates in advocacy support activities, i.e. task forces, Strategic Advocacy Focus development and work groups
- Handles reduced caseload commensurate with managing responsibilities;
Maintain reasonable advocacy project-based workload.
Case Review, Acceptance and Priority Setting
- Manages system for case acceptance, assignment and implementation of NJP’s caseload guidance to ensure high quality legal services and professional development of all staff.
- Makes office/unit caseload capacity and related decision-making, including temporary intake closures, as needed to ensure competent case handling capacity within office/unit.
- Facilitates the office/unit’s regional case service priority setting process to ensure compliance with program policy and grant requirements, identify the most pressing legal needs in the community to guide planning, development and facilitation of office strategic response to client needs.
Program Policy and General Compliance
Managing Attorney is expected to lead their office/unit in a manner which is consistent with/in furtherance of:
- NJP Strategic Plan and other strategic goals and initiatives
- NJP Hiring Practices;
- Program process related to performance review of office/unit staff;
- Administrative and Accounting Procedures, including Timekeeping and Grant Compliance;
- NJP’s Race Equity and Justice Initiatives;
- Personnel Policies;
- Collective Bargaining Agreement;
- NJP Program Policies;
- Caseload guidelines;
- Other program policies and procedures as from time to time established and/or revised by NJP.
- Leads office or unit it to ensure high quality services, to create a cohesive work environment, to maintain good morale and to address support needs within an office or unit.
- Participates in development of and implements NJP’s Strategic Plan and other initiatives.
- Communicates staff concerns to Senior Managing Attorney, Human Resources staff or other appropriate members of the Senior Management team
- Communicates impacts of program policy to Senior Management and related staff needs, accomplishments of team efforts and other staff recognition, etc.
- Advises the Senior Management as to office/unit policy initiatives, advocates for office/unit team and for local clients and community needs, recognizes and rewards innovative solutions to client and community needs and report as appropriate
- Participates in and contributes to meetings with Senior Managing Attorney and Senior Management team
Equity and Inclusion
NJP has an organizational commitment to fight racism and to incorporate equity and inclusion in both the work we do and work environment we create. All staff are expected to uphold this commitment and approach their role with a desire to learn and grow in this area. The Managing Attorney is expected to act as a leader in these efforts with a willingness to identify, address and combat personal and organizational shortcomings.
Salary Range: Specific salary will be based upon relevant experience.
- Minimum five years’ legal experience with strong litigation skills required
- Prior experience successfully managing or supervising others in a professional environment preferred
- Experience in a formal or informal leadership role helpful
- History of successfully mentoring other attorneys and/or law students required
- Leadership of, involvement in, or demonstrated ability to identify and successfully pursue strategic, systemic and affirmative advocacy
- Commitment to advancing racial equity and experience with incorporating racial equity principles into advocacy and leadership
- Appreciation of the differing strengths, skills and styles of those supervised
- Good judgment, ability to handle stress, initiative, and willingness to work as a team
- Possess strong oral and written communication skills
- Demonstrated exceptional relevant work experience as well as a commitment to serving low-income persons
- Willing and able to engage with the communities to be served
- Washington State Bar Association membership in good standing or active license in another state with the ability to obtain WSBA membership by motion is required
- Language proficiency in a language spoken by our client communities, especially Spanish, is a plus.
If unable to meet all criteria, NJP will consider the full breadth of experience in order to determine if an applicant is deemed qualified.
Submit a letter of interest, current resume and writing sample to Victoria Hester at firstname.lastname@example.org. Cover letter and email subject line should clearly reference “Managing Attorney – Olympia”. Cover letter should directly address reason for interest in the position and outline experience mentoring others.
Application Deadline: May 22, 2020
NJP is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and fosters an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices. NJP actively promotes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity. NJP is committed to maintaining an organization whose staff, Board and clients are diverse in background, experience, race, color, national origin, gender, age, religious reference, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, sensory, mental or physical abilities, veteran status, and other qualities that strengthen the program while reinforcing its commitment to basic fairness. People of color, people who identify as transgender, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals needing a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process or for more information about the project should contact Victoria Hester at (206) 707-0998.