Georgia Justice Project (GJP) is a 35-year-old non-profit located in Atlanta’s historic Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. Our work spans three areas: Holistic Criminal Defense and Probation Representation; Advocacy and Education; and Reentry Lawyering including Criminal Records. You can read more about our work at www.GJP.org. GJP is funded primarily through private donations and currently has 26 staff members including lawyers, social workers, legal assistants, and development and administrative staff. GJP is hiring an additional attorney to join our reentry and criminal records team.
Criminal Records/Reentry Work
Background: In 2006, GJP started representing individuals displaced when Atlanta’s housing projects were torn down who were unable to obtain a housing voucher due to their criminal history. Since then, our work around barriers to reentry has expanded exponentially. We now represent hundreds of individuals each year with record restriction (expungement), sealing, corrections, pardons, and other matters related to their criminal history.
We are the state experts on criminal records and have drafted a comprehensive manual on criminal records in Georgia. Our reentry and criminal records team frequently makes presentations to impacted individuals, volunteers, and stakeholders around the state, and, over the last few years, GJP has helped plan and provide technical assistance for record restriction summits throughout Georgia. Our reentry work has expanded to include housing discrimination, occupational licensing issues, driver’s license suspensions, child support advocacy, and other civil legal work related to barriers to reentry. Over the last few years, we have also worked to assess and address the civil legal needs of men incarcerated at the Metro Reentry Facility.
SB288: In 2020, GJP successfully advocated for a significant expansion of expungement eligibility to allow restriction and sealing of misdemeanor convictions and pardoned felony convictions. SB 288 went into effect January 1, 2021 making over one million Georgians eligible to clear their criminal history. As a result, demand for our services has greatly increased – and it was already high. It is an exciting time at GJP as we develop plans to increase the impact of our work.
Urgent Need: The Criminal Records/Reentry Attorney will spend the majority of their time (80%) on the representation of and consultation with individuals who want to modify and seal their criminal records. Some consultations will take place at record restriction summits around the state (occasional travel) and at expungement desks that we are in the process of developing and implementing. For the remainder of the time (20%), the attorney will provide legal assistance with other civil reentry barriers, assist with developing and updating materials, make presentations to various stakeholders on reentry issues, and working with the team to develop plans to increase the impact of our reentry work, including looking for ways to use technology to increase access to record clearing.
The ideal candidate will have two years of client-facing legal experience; be well-organized; have experience communicating with diverse partners such as community groups, volunteers, prosecutors, and judges; have an interest in learning about and practicing in diverse areas of the law related to barriers to reentry; and be excited about bringing record clearing events, resources, and education to underserved communities around the state. Knowledge of and interest in using technology to provide legal services to underserved communities would be a bonus.
- Licensed Attorney with the State Bar of Georgia (required, applicants must be currently admitted in Georgia)
- A demonstrated commitment to social and racial justice and an understanding of how poverty and race factor into the criminal legal system
- Ability to advocate assertively and effectively for low-income individuals
- Ability to engage respectfully with diverse groups of people
- Strong attention to detail
- Excellent written communication and research skills
- Experience with or willingness to work with student interns, volunteers, and volunteer lawyers.
- Willingness to perform administrative tasks (GJP has a small support staff – most staff are engaged in program delivery and client services)
- Enthusiasm and energy for the difficult work of challenging and reforming the criminal legal system
- The ability to effectively manage the multiple priorities and fast pace of a non-profit workplace.
- Ability to work occasional evenings or Saturdays for special events or projects; occasional travel
- Driver’s license (required)
- Familiarity/expertise in Office 365 and Salesforce (or other client database) preferred.
Interested candidates should send a cover letter addressed to GJP’s legal director Brenda Smeeton, resume, and brief writing sample (no more than five pages) combined as a single PDF document to careers@GJP.org. Subject line must state, “Attorney Position-Reentry”. Compensation commensurate with experience and the non-profit environment. We hope to fill this position quickly and encourage applicants to submit their materials as soon as possible. Rolling resume review begins Monday, May 3.
Georgia Justice Project is an equal opportunity employer, committed to building a diverse staff and welcomes qualified applicants of all races, colors, religions, national origins, sexes, gender identities, sexual orientations, and disability statuses. GJP encourages people who are formerly incarcerated or justice-involved to apply.