Who We Are: Family Violence Appellate Project was founded in California by two UC Berkeley Law students spurred into action after learning that abusive parents are often awarded child custody in domestic violence cases. FVAP was the first-ever non-profit organization in California dedicated to providing free appellate representation to domestic violence survivors with the goal of creating a robust, influential body of case law to change how family courts throughout California respond to domestic violence survivors and their children. And now, FVAP is expanding into Washington state!
FVAP’s clientele is diverse, and we aim to serve individuals and advocates throughout the state, including rural, suburban, and urban populations from the most marginalized communities. We are committed to gender and racial justice and are dedicated to shaping Washington law to prioritize the safety of survivors and children by representing clients in Washington Appellate Courts, submitting amicus curiae briefs in cases of statewide importance, requesting publication of important gender-based, intimate partner, and family violence cases, and engaging in legislative and systems change advocacy efforts. We are also committed to supporting the statewide network of gender-based violence and legal aid service providers by providing training, technical assistance, and written informational materials, and by facilitating information exchange among statewide stakeholders supporting survivors.
The Washington office is small (currently just one attorney) but mighty. Since March 2021, we have already begun screening multiple appeal referrals, joined motions to publish and amicus briefs, and participated in legislative advocacy. Simultaneously, we are adapting policies and procedures, creating written materials and trainings, and providing technical assistance across the state. We are looking for a Fellow to share the work of building the Washington office and shaping our programs.
Who You Are: You are an entrepreneurial recent law school graduate, interested in perhaps starting your own law practice one day. You are excited by the idea of working side-by-side (often virtually) with the Senior Managing Attorney in Washington to build the FVAP program in Washington from the ground up. You are hard-working, creative, personable, and willing to pitch in on both small tasks like answering the phone, and big tasks like drafting amicus briefs. You enjoy research and writing and thinking about the big picture. You also enjoy interacting with and building relationships with community stakeholders.
Ideally, you also have experience working with survivors of gender-based violence and/or in family law. The ideal Fellow will bring skills and experiences enabling you to serve diverse populations adeptly in the context of gender-based violence and appellate litigation.
Start-Up Skill Building and Responsibilities: Every new program, law firm, or business has certain fundamental infrastructure tenets. Included are strategic planning, networking and marketing, creating systems and policies, client cultivation and management, and “the work” itself. In this Fellowship, you will be focusing on:
- building relationships with partner organizations, law firms, and community-based advocacy organizations while centering the needs of the most marginalized survivors; some travel may be required post-COVID as this is a state-wide program;
- strategizing around the specific civil legal needs of Washington survivors of gender-based violence by assessing gaps and supporting current work already being done, and again, centering priorities around the intersection of gender-based violence, racism, anti-blackness, xenophobia, disability, LGBTQI+ identity, and economic status;
- assessing the need for written materials and trainings for attorneys and non-attorneys, and if necessary, adapting and drafting Washington-law specific resources;
- creating a case referral “pipeline” and process in Washington;
- assisting with adaptation and development of office protocols, forms, procedures, and tracking of data;
- screening of appellate case referrals, including legal analysis of trial court records and appellate legal standards, and exercising independent judgment to make recommendations on whether to accept a case;
- supporting active casework; tracking multiple deadlines; organizing case files; administrative tasks like monitoring phone and email; running conflicts checks; corresponding and communicating with clients, co-counsel, and community partners; and
- learning to balance and prioritize all of the above.
- J.D. from an accredited university and plans to sit for the Washington Bar Examination in July 2021;
- Ability to analyze and apply Washington domestic violence law, family law, and appellate procedure;
- Excellent communication, writing, editing, and organizational skills;
- 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;
- Willingness to pitch in and help out as needed; and
- Eagerness to help clients in need and gain hands-on experience with trial court records, appellate procedure, and domestic violence issues.
- Knowledge of, or strong interest in, domestic violence law and/or family law, either through law school course work or work experience;
- Experience working with clients in crisis and low-income clients;
- Interest in starting a family law or other legal practice supporting survivor clients; and
- Experiences that will enable the fellow to provide appellate advocacy, technical assistance, and outreach to a diverse client population and community of domestic violence service providers.
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. Driving or other travel may be required. Currently, all work is being performed remotely through approximately September 30, 2021. After that time, we are hopeful that COVID-19 conditions would make it safe for FVAP to reopen and have the option to return to the office. If that is the case, then the Fellow will be located in our office in Bellevue Washington, at least one day/week when the Senior Managing Attorney is also there, who will be providing daily supervision.
Fellowship Time Frame: This is a temporary, one-year Fellowship, which should begin in late summer or early fall 2021.
Compensation & Benefits: The Fellow will be paid a salary of $64,000 for the year. FVAP will reimburse 90% of health, dental, and vision insurance expenses on the Fellow’s individual plan. FVAP offers 13 paid holidays/year; 40 hours paid sick leave, plus additional accrued sick leave; and paid attorney bar dues and continuing legal education. Temporary employees do not accrue paid time off (PTO) until they have been continuously employed by FVAP on a full-time basis for eight months, at which time the Fellow will begin to accrue PTO at a rate of 2.3 hours/week.
To Apply: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and reviewed as received (beginning July 21, 2021), until the position is filled. The ideal start date is September 1, 2021.
Please email a cover letter, resume, transcript, writing sample, and three references to:
Evangeline Stratton, Senior Managing Attorney, Washington
Your email should make clear in the subject line that you are applying to be a 2021-22 Washington Start-Up Fellow. Your cover letter should speak to: 1) why you are interested in working at FVAP; 2) how you fit the description of the ideal Fellow; 3) how your background or experiences, educational or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our work and perform the required duties and any preferred qualifications, and; 4) how your background or experiences, educational or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our commitment to racial justice, diversity and cultural responsiveness amongst our team of staff and interns. 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 people with disabilities, survivors of domestic violence and other forms of intimate partner, family, and gender-based abuse, 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!