Family Violence Appellate Project was founded in 2012 as the only organization in California dedicated to appealing cases on behalf of survivors of domestic violence. Since then, we’ve been extremely successful in prosecuting and defending appeals in California, winning 81% of appeals we bring and 91% of appeals we defend. In recognition of the need to increase the capacity of attorneys and domestic violence advocates to assist domestic violence survivors with appeals in the State of Washington, FVAP will be expanding to open an office in Washington!
At FVAP, we are committed to social justice and are dedicated to shaping the law to prioritize the safety and well-being of survivors and their children. Rooted in the strategies that have succeeded in California, we will bring and adapt those strategies to the needs of survivors and the field in Washington, including representing clients at the appellate level, submitting amicus curiae briefs in cases of statewide importance, monitoring unpublished cases daily and requesting publication of important domestic violence cases, and engaging in legislative and systems change advocacy efforts. We are also committed to supporting the needs identified by the statewide network of domestic violence and legal aid service providers, such as by providing trainings, technical assistance, and written informational materials, and by facilitating information exchange among stakeholders supporting survivors statewide. You can learn more about our work at www.fvaplaw.org.
FVAP is seeking a full-time Senior Managing Attorney to start and build our office in Washington. At FVAP, we value diverse experiences and backgrounds. FVAP’s clientele is extremely diverse, and we will serve individuals and advocates throughout California and Washington states, including rural, suburban, and urban populations. The ideal candidate will bring skills and experiences enabling the candidate to serve these diverse populations adeptly in the context of domestic violence and appellate litigation. Any candidate must be willing to pitch in whenever necessary and, in particular, to help establish the organization in Washington. The immediate supervisor is the Executive Director. If you are interested in being part of this exciting social justice movement and resource for domestic violence survivors and advocates, as well as helping to establish and grow our office in Washington State, this is the place for you!
Skills & Abilities: A successful attorney has exceptionally strong critical thinking, legal, analytical, and writing skills and is able to perform professionally in a fast-paced environment. This will necessitate multi-tasking, prioritizing tasks, and changing focus when circumstances demand. You are able to communicate effectively with many different stakeholders, including FVAP’s team members, law student clerks, volunteer law firm attorneys, experienced domestic violence advocates and other community members who are not attorneys, and prospective clients from all different backgrounds. As the first-ever employee in Washington, your ability to build a strong network with other community stakeholders involved in family law and domestic violence, as well potential funders, will be key. You are able and willing to supervise and manage people at all levels, including law student clerks and senior law firm partners who act as our co-counsel. You are detail-oriented and capable of managing a full slate of cases and tracking and complying with dozens of litigation and other deadlines at once. You are willing to roll up your sleeves and do what is needed to establish a new office.
Essential Duties and Responsibilities:
Duties include the following (other duties may be assigned):
- Taking lead responsibility for building FVAP’s first-ever Washington office, which, in addition to legal work, will include community building, working with the Executive Director and administrative team to build the local infrastructure, and supporting the development team’s relationship-building for fundraising purposes;
- Assessing and understanding the legal landscape to determine areas of the law where appellate case law or other strategies would benefit survivors and their children;
- Analyzing trial court records and the legal issues in each case and making a recommendation on whether FVAP should accept the case for appeal;
- Taking a leadership role in appellate case selection and strategy;
- Successfully managing a full, active docket of appellate cases in the Washington Court of Appeals, including supervising and assisting FVAP’s pro bono attorneys in private practice who are working on appeals, editing and possibly drafting portions of appellate briefs with the pro bono team, and preparing attorneys for oral argument;
- Editing and possibly drafting appellate motions and portions of briefs, case publication requests, and other legal documents;
- Assessing the needs of survivors, advocates, trial attorneys, and the field for trainings, technical assistance, written informational materials and templates, and/or administrative or legislative advocacy.
- Leading FVAP’s work to help support those needs, which may include creating and delivering trainings; providing technical assistance to attorneys, other services providers, and pro se litigants on legal and procedural issues related to trial-level or appellate cases; creating written informational materials and legal templates; and participating in administrative and/or legislative systems change efforts.
- Analyzing social science literature in the field of domestic violence;
- Supervising law student interns and volunteer attorneys, including giving written feedback on their work;
- Performing outreach and fostering connections with stakeholders in all regions of Washington;
- Representing FVAP in the community to service providers, community partners, pro bono law firms, and others;
- Advancing FVAP’s Theory of Change and commitment to cultural responsiveness;
- When the time is right, leading hiring efforts for support staff and/or additional legal staff for the Washington office, and acting as supervisor for those positions;
- Assisting with administrative and fundraising tasks as needed, including grant reports; answering phones; helping with walk-in prospective clients; checking and responding to office mail, email, fax, and voice mail; assisting with preparation of materials for board meetings; keeping client databases current; attending fundraising events; and other office tasks.
- Some travel may be required.
Physical and Environmental Conditions: Performance of duties and tasks uses standard office equipment, including telephone equipment and computers. Work is performed inside with exposure to heating and air-conditioning. Occasional driving or other travel may be required. During the Covid-19 pandemic, all FVAP employees are working from home through at least March 31, 2021. We expect to return to the office when it is safe to do so. After return to an office, the attorney may be able to work remotely some days, subject to organizational needs.
Required Qualifications and Experience:
- J.D. from accredited university and licensed, active member of Washington Bar;
- Prior appellate experience;
- Ability to produce polished appellate legal briefs with little direction or intervention;
- At least 2 years of experience in domestic violence and/or family law trial court practice, or another similar type of trial court practice;
- Nuanced understanding of civil trial court practice and procedures;
- Exceptionally strong ability to analyze and apply Washington domestic violence law, family law, and appellate procedure;
- An understanding of the dynamics of, and the legal, social, and personal issues raised by, domestic violence;
- Experiences that will enable you to provide superb appellate advocacy, technical assistance, and outreach to a diverse client population and diverse communities of domestic violence service providers;
- Ability to establish a strong network and promote FVAP’s goodwill with community stakeholders, including, but not limited to, attorney and non-attorney advocates, pro bono attorneys at private law firms, and potential funders;
- Excellent communication, writing, editing, and organizational skills;
- Willingness and interest in effectively supporting and supervising others;
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team;
- Ability to adapt to and work in the fast-paced environment of a small nonprofit;
- Energy and interest in building a new office from the ground up;
- Willingness to pitch in and help out as needed; and
- A commitment to working on behalf of survivors of domestic violence and their children.
Preferred Qualifications and Experience:
- Experience handling at least 5 appeals;
- 5+ years of experience in domestic violence and/or family law trial court practice, or another similar type of trial court practice;
- Working knowledge of Washington housing law;
- Past supervisory experience;
- Experience working with clients in crisis and low-income clients;
- Experience presenting trainings or speaking in front of a crowd;
- Bilingual in Spanish or another language a plus; and
- Diversity of personal and professional experience.
Classification: This position is exempt, full-time, and at-will.
Compensation: Starting salary depends on relevant experience and will be commensurate with comparable nonprofit salaries in King County, Washington. The salary range is between $81,000-$106,000. FVAP offers a generous benefits package, including subsidized health, dental, vision, life, and AD&D insurance; 401(k) retirement plan with 3% employer match after 1 year; FSA plan for commuting, parking, health, and dependent care expenses; Employee Assistance Plan and travel assistance; 3 weeks paid time off/year, with longevity increases; 13 paid holidays/year; 40 hours paid sick leave, plus additional accrued sick leave; and paid attorney bar dues and continuing education.
Location: FVAP’s new Washington office will be located in Bellevue, Washington, within the offices of Eastside Legal Assistance Program.
To Apply: The position will be open until filled. Resumes will be reviewed on a rolling basis beginning January 21, 2021. Candidates are encouraged to apply early in the process. The ideal start date is late February or March 2021.
To apply, please email a cover letter, resume, writing sample, and three professional references to:
Erin Smith, Executive Director
Family Violence Appellate Project, 449 15th Street, Suite 104, Oakland, CA 94612
Your cover letter should speak to: 1) why you are interested in working at FVAP; 2) how your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to help establish and grow a new office and perform the required and any preferred qualifications, and; 3) how your background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our commitment to diversity and cultural responsiveness amongst our staff. Feel free to think broadly about your response to these questions, applying various aspects of your life and personal experiences.
To promote social justice and best serve our clients, FVAP is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to maintaining a diverse staff and providing culturally responsive services. Individuals of all races, ethnicities, national origins, religions, ages, sexes, sexual orientations, and gender identities, as well as disabled persons, survivors of domestic violence, candidates from traditionally underrepresented communities and historically oppressed groups, bilingual and bicultural candidates, and those who are the first in their family to complete college or graduate school, are encouraged to apply.
Thank you for your interest in FVAP!