POSITION: Site Director & Managing Attorney, South Carolina Second Chance Justice Collaborative
About The Second Chance Justice Collaborative:
The South Carolina Second Chance Justice Collaborative (SCJC) is a partnership launching between Soteria Community Development Corporation and Root & Rebound that will provide access to legal advocacy, education, and policy advocacy to support communities across South Carolina impacted by mass incarceration.
The goals of the SCJC are to advocate for the rights of people who have been harmed and marginalized by mass incarceration, to increase access to justice and opportunity for people with records, and to fight poverty and create second chances in Greenville and more broadly across SC. With approximately 10,000 people released from prison and jail each year in SC, the demand for resources, opportunities, and access to justice will continue to increase as more impacted people need support to restore rights and access opportunities.
The Second Chance Justice Collaborative Partners:
Root & Rebound (R&R) is a national reentry advocacy 501(c)(3) organization that addresses racial, economic, and social inequities within the criminal justice system and the reentry process by restoring and protecting rights, dignity, and opportunities for people directly impacted by the criminal justice system. Our mission is to transfer power and information from the policy and legal communities to the people most impacted by our criminal justice system through public education, direct legal services, and policy advocacy, so that the law serves, rather than harms, low-income communities and communities of color in the U.S.
Soteria Community Development Corporation, based in Greenville, SC, has a mission to advocate for economic and social justice for those individuals and their families impacted by the criminal justice system. Soteria was founded by Jerry Blassingame, a JustLeadershipUSA Leading with Conviction Fellow, and works to create opportunities for previously incarcerated men to reenter society through transitional housing, life skills, and job training.
Location: Based in Greenville, South Carolina (with some travel statewide)
About the South Carolina Site Director & Managing Attorney Role:
With Root & Rebound and Soteria’s support, the Site Director & Managing Attorney will spearhead and direct a new legal initiative to serve individuals who have been involved in the criminal justice system, formerly incarcerated and/or preparing for their reentry, as well as a broader community of stakeholders across South Carolina who believe in expanding second chance opportunities for people with records.
Based out of Soteria’s offices in Greenville, SC, the Site Director & Managing Attorney will be employed by R&R and will be trained, managed, and supported by R&R’s Deputy Director of Programs. The attorney will receive a strong orientation and ongoing training from R&R on its model of education, advocacy, and policy reform. This will include training from the R&R Deputy Director, senior attorneys, and leadership team, and a high level of ongoing learning, professional development opportunities, and support. The Site Director & Managing Attorney will also receive strong on-site support from Soteria’s Executive Director, who has strong local knowledge of South Carolina’s reentry, criminal justice, and policy landscapes.
The Site Director & Managing Attorney will carry out a broad range of advocacy strategies including but not limited to impact litigation, policy reform efforts, direct legal services, legal clinics, legal trainings, public education, reentry legal resource development and other programming across South Carolina. On site, this person will manage the SCJC legal and policy team, direct and execute on strategic programming, and support Soteria’s Executive Director and policy staff in carrying out policy initiatives that increase second chance opportunity and reduce barriers for people with criminal records and people in reentry.
The first year of the attorney’s work will focus on SC landscape assessment; relationship- and partnership- building; writing, designing and disseminating a SC Roadmap to Reentry Legal Guide (akin to what R&R has drafted in other states, for example: www.rootandrebound.org/roadmap-to-reentry-guide); piloting and iterating on various methods of second chance legal work; and working with R&R and Soteria’s Executive Leadership Teams to devise a strategy that considers all legal tools available including impact litigation, legal clinics and direct services, public education and training, and policy advocacy—with the goal of producing a 3-year strategic plan for the SCJC while also launching the work. As our team grows in SC, the Site Director will support in hiring and will manage a junior attorney(s) and/or policy advocate(s) on the SCJC team.
The ideal candidate is a natural leader who is a highly capable self-starter, team-oriented, excited about launching and managing a new initiative, and committed to expanding services, partnerships, and impact across South Carolina. The ideal candidate is enthusiastic to work in a startup environment with dynamic needs, and is a lifelong learner who strives to improve service delivery year after year. The ideal candidate is also excited about building and leveraging relationships across South Carolina to improve the lives of people impacted by mass incarceration and living in poverty.
In addition to being a self-starter, the Site Director & Managing Attorney must be highly communicative, structured, excellent at time management, organized and responsive, and open to regular check-ins via Skype, email, conference calls, text, etc., as well as training and orientation periods in R&R’s Oakland, CA headquarters office. The Site Director & Managing Attorney will also play a critical role in sharing learnings, strategic planning documents, and work plans to help other R&R sites launch across the country in which legal staff are embedded within social services organizations.
Responsibilities & Duties:
- Management & Administration:
- Recruit and manage staff attorneys, law clerks, interns, and volunteers to support the legal program.
- Oversee program administration across South Carolina and carry out administrative tasks such as tracking program activities and outcomes, engaging in/supporting grant reporting, and legal admin as needed, to ensure excellence in program quality, client services, and staffing.
- Oversee strong data tracking and evaluation.
- Maintain high levels of communication with the R&R HQ Office in Oakland, CA.
- Research & Planning (strong focus in Year 1 of launching the SCJC):
- In partnership with R&R’s National Legal Education & Resource Coordinator, contribute substantive research and writing the first-ever South Carolina Roadmap to Reentry Legal Guide, as well as additional self-help materials, and educational materials for partnering stakeholders and directly impacted individuals.
- Map the landscape of stakeholders and services providers to connect our clients and system-involved individuals with community support.
- Build relationships with statewide partners including reentry and social service providers, faith-based communities, government and elected officials, media, employers, schools, and with lawyers and law students (including in the civil legal aid, criminal defense and prosecution, pro bono, and law school communities) to advance the goals of the Second Chance Justice Collaborative.
- Work closely with R&R and Soteria’s Executive Leadership Teams to devise a strategy that considers all legal tools available including impact litigation, legal clinics and direct services, public education and training, and policy advocacy—with the goal of producing a 3-year strategic plan for the SCJC while also launching the work.
- Community Legal Clinics, Individual Legal Services, and Representation (as appropriate):
- Working on-site at Soteria CDC as reentry barrier removal and legal navigation specialist for Soteria CDC’s participants and housing residents.
- Building on the landscape assessment groundwork of R&R and Soteria’s staff, continue to assess key stakeholders and identify needs and gaps in reentry and civil legal services.
- Develop and lead the execution of scalable reentry legal services for system-involved people across SC, working in partnership with other legal organizations and pro bono lawyers and law students across the state, including community legal clinics for people with records and their family members, and a statewide reentry legal hotline.
- Together with the Deputy and Executive Directors, proactively seek out and creatively implement a strategic impact litigation strategy that advances key civil liberties.
- Coordinate and lead statewide know-your-rights and legal trainings on key reentry topics for system-involved individuals both at Soteria CDC and within the broader community.
- Recruit and create a panel of pro bono attorneys to assist with legal clinics and take on direct representation.
- Legal administrative tasks as needed.
- Public Education:
- Lead statewide know-your-rights trainings on key reentry topics for system-involved individuals and their family, including Fair Chance hiring, Education, Housing, Expungement, and other areas of law.
- Represent R&R and the Collaborative at community events and public forums, and serve as an ambassador for reentry advocacy issues more broadly.
- Policy Reform and Impact Litigation:
- Develop both impact litigation and legislative strategies with R&R and Soteria’s Executive Leadership teams, and drive systems change and policy reform through both avenues.
- Elevate the issues and barriers that system-involved South Carolinians experience to create structural and policy change that advance second chance opportunities and social justice, and utilize a community lawyering/grassroots approach that creates space for people with records to fully participate in policy-making, political and civic processes.
- Work with and support Soteria CDC’s Executive Director in policy reform initiatives that support the goals of the Second Chance Justice Collaborative by providing legal expertise, client outreach and storybanking, and other contributions as appropriate.
- Development & Communications:
- Support fundraising efforts in South Carolina that will sustain and grow the program, including grant-writing support, meetings with local institutional partners, foundations, government agencies, and individual donors.
- Drive and support PR, Development, Communications, and Storytelling projects about R&R’s work and collaboration with Soteria in South Carolina.
- Participate in the grant application and grant reporting process, providing on-the-ground knowledge and information, as needed by R&R’s Development Team.
- Support PR, Development, Communications, and Storytelling projects as needed.
- Licensed to practice law in the state of South Carolina, active and in good standing.
- 7+ years of practicing law.
- Experience working directly with clients and in court representation. Direct experience working with people with records and/or in reentry preferred.
- Knowledge of criminal justice system and collateral consequences of a criminal record.
- Demonstrated commitment to racial equity and social justice.
- Eagerness to take initiative, solve intricate problems, work on multiple projects simultaneously, and prioritize and organize in a deadline-driven environment.
- Positive, professional, and humble attitude.
- Strong work ethic, resilience, and determination.
- Proactive communicator and team builder.
- Flexible and able to prioritize work effectively with excellent time-management.
- Creative, enthusiastic, and willing to learn and try new things.
- Eagerness to travel as needed, and to spend time at R&R’s HQ office in Oakland for training/orientation.
- Driver’s license required.
Compensation & Benefits: This position will begin as a full-time position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, with a minimum starting salary of $70,000, and employment benefits that include medical, vision, and dental care, plus 15 days PTO and additional holiday closures.
Application Instructions: To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter, two short writing samples (max. 5 pages), and at least three references (explaining your professional relationship and including their contact information) in an email with “South Carolina Site Director & Managing Attorney” in the email subject line to Katherine Katcher (Executive Director) at email@example.com. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.
Root & Rebound is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including formerly incarcerated and/or system-involved individuals, people of color, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender variant individuals.