The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is a leader in the fight against hate and bigotry in the United States. SPLC seeks a Senior Staff Attorney for its Children’s Rights team in Jackson, Mississippi. The Senior Staff Attorney will engage in children’s rights-related litigation and other forms of public advocacy related to the school to prison pipeline, educational equity, and children’s services (focusing on mental health care). This may include, but will not be limited to: addressing disproportionality and discrimination in school discipline, referrals to alternative school, expulsion, and school-based arrest; curbing seclusion and restraint; pushing back against school-imposed fines and citations; addressing a variety of equity issues (school funding, deregulation, privatization, vouchers, segregation/re-segregation); and improving children’s access to Medicaid and other vital health services. The Mississippi Children’s Rights team is committed to ensuring that all schools in the state have the resources necessary to educate all children, no matter the child’s race, sex, national origin, religion, disability status, or poverty status.
• Under supervision of Senior Supervising Attorney, oversees all aspects of litigation, including developing cases and legal theories, discovery, motion practice, trials, appeals, and consent decree/settlement monitoring;
• Researches legal and policy issues related to education and children’s mental health;
• Drafts briefs, motions, memos, and other documents in support of litigation and policy work;
• Mentors and manages staff attorneys, law fellows, advocates, interns, and support staff;
• Communicates regularly with SPLC’s clients, co-counsel, and partner organizations;
• When requested, represents SPLC in various forums, including before community groups, legislators, and state agencies;
• Develops new cases in consultation with Deputy Legal Director, Senior Supervising Attorney, and Staff Attorneys;
• Responds to requests for legal assistance; and
• Performs other tasks as assigned by Senior Supervising Attorney or Deputy Legal Director.
Education and Related Work Experience:
• Juris Doctorate degree;
• Strong academic background;
• At least five (5) years of relevant legal experience;
• Excellent research and writing skills;
• Admission to the Mississippi Bar or willingness to sit for the next Bar Exam; and
• Travel required (within Mississippi and nationally).
• Public policy analysis skills, including an ability to synthesize and summarize large amounts of information and to focus quickly on the essence of an issue;
• Demonstrated experience assisting with or conducting briefings with internal and external partners and other stakeholders, when necessary;
• Demonstrated knowledge of at least two of the following areas: the school to prison pipeline (e.g., classroom management, exclusionary discipline, restraint, corporal punishment, alternative schools, school-based law enforcement); educational equity (e.g., school funding, education models differing from traditional public schools, desegregation); and/or children’s mental health (e.g., EPSDT/Medicaid Act, Olmstead/integration mandate policy, home and community-based services).
Knowledge, skills and abilities:
• Excellent communication skills, including research and writing, interpersonal, and public communication skills;
• Ability to work with people from a wide array of backgrounds and perspectives;
• Ability to have fun and produce quality work in a high-energy, fast-paced work environment;
• Excellent and consistent attention to detail;
• Ability to prioritize responsibilities and meet deadlines;
• Self-driven with a desire to learn and improve continuously;
• Commitment to social justice.
Along with a resume, please submit a writing sample of 5 pages, a cover letter, three references, and unofficial transcript.
Other Special Considerations:
This job is performed under general office conditions, and is not subject to any strenuous physical demands or dangerous conditions.
The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the employee in this position. These statements are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of a person in this position.
An Equal-Opportunity Employer with a Commitment to Diversity
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we consider applicants equally of race, gender, gender identity, color, sexual orientation, religion, marital status, disability, political affiliation, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction.