At Partners for Justice, our mission is to disrupt the cycle of poverty and criminal justice involvement, preventing incarceration and reducing its devastating impacts on low-income people. We place college graduates as non-attorney Advocates within legal organizations, where they help clients navigate the criminal justice system and other legal systems and government institutions. Ultimately, Advocates support clients to maintain homes, livelihoods, family bonds, property, and access to the social safety net.
As a member of an early cohort of PFJ Advocates, you will be an integral part of shaping a groundbreaking service offering and the PFJ experience for future Advocates.
We are seeking fantastic college seniors or recent graduates who are tireless problem solvers with a strong commitment to social justice. You will make a two-year commitment to serve as an Advocate in one of our host organizations. You will work hand-in-hand with attorneys and our network of community partners to support the needs of clients experiencing the criminal justice system. Download the Advocate job description here.
what you'll work on
Every day is different as an Advocate, whether you're working directly with a client, building awareness of your services in the community, or collaborating with a community partner. Advocate responsibilities include:
Learn about the problems your clients are facing and work with them to come up with creative solutions
Partner closely with attorneys to provide relevant information and documents for clients’ criminal case and other legal issues; ensure seamless coordination across interdisciplinary legal teams
Depending on your clients’ needs and attorney direction, assist clients with issues like clearing past criminal convictions, preparing for child services interventions, accessing public benefits, maintaining work licenses, finding and maintaining housing, and obtaining mental health or substance abuse treatment
Develop partnerships with local government agencies and community organizations, and maintain deep knowledge of their services so that you can appropriately refer and advocate for clients
Maintain detailed knowledge of court processes and requirements so you can help your clients navigate these institutions
Advocate for clients with service providers, attorneys, judges, landlords, employers, and others (as appropriate); tell your clients’ stories in a compelling way that gets results
Collect data about your activities and achievements and report this data to PFJ
support you'll receive
While PFJ Advocates work proactively and independently to address their clients' needs, you will also have support and coaching to equip you with the knowledge and skills you need, and to help you develop over your time with PFJ.
All Advocates participate in an intensive training “boot camp” prior to beginning their service. You will learn how to assess a client's needs, how to use advocacy best practices, and how to practice advocacy in your host jurisdiction. You will also shadow current Advocates to see them in action.
Once you begin your placement at one of our host organizations, you will be supervised by an attorney in the office who can help guide your work. You will also have access to a network of community partners, including civil attorneys who can advise you on specific client issues.
In addition, you will have regular calls with PFJ's national office, both one-on-one and with other members of your cohort. PFJ's national staff will also regularly visit each host office to meet with Advocates, attorneys, and community partners. These calls and meetings are an opportunity to share your experiences with your peers, get support in thinking through tough situations, and learn from each other.
what you'll get out of your experience
Serving as a PFJ Advocate will give you the skills and knowledge to launch your career wherever you choose to go next! From your PFJ experience, you'll take away:
Satisfaction in having made a concrete difference in individual lives and the overall community where you serve
Real-world exposure to how the criminal justice system and other government institutions operate
Absolute confidence in your ability to face down new challenges and navigate them successfully in a variety of contexts
Skills in negotiation, mediation, persuasion and storytelling
A salary and benefits package competitive with entry-level positions at other non-profit organizations and government agencies in your jurisdiction