At Partners for Justice, our mission is to improve the lives of low-income people by empowering and supporting them to maintain homes, livelihoods, family bonds, property, and access to the social safety net.
We do this by placing college graduates as non-attorney Advocates within mission-aligned legal organizations, where they help clients navigate legal systems, government institutions, and other bureaucracies.
As part of our first cohort of 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 pilot sites: Wilmington, DE and Oakland, CA. You will work hand-in-hand with public defenders and our network of community partners to support the needs of public defenders’ clients, clients referred by our partnered civil legal providers, and other community members. 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:
Learning about the problems your clients are facing and working with them to come up with creative solutions
Depending on your clients’ needs, assisting them with issues like clearing past criminal convictions, preparing for child services interventions, accessing public benefits, maintaining work licenses, and finding and maintaining housing
Developing and implementing strategies to raise awareness within the local community about the services you and your PFJ cohort can provide
Escalating cases to a civil attorney partner when required, and collaborating with your clients’ attorneys to ensure your clients have seamless access to all the support they need
Recording your activities and achievements to help PFJ improve our services
Learning to tell your clients’ story in a way that is compelling and gets results
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 multi-week training session in New York City 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 advocates currently practicing in New York to see them in action.
Once you begin your placement at one of our host Public Defender's offices, 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 weekly 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, public defenders, 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
- 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 deep understanding of the practical workings of the legal system and government institutions
- A salary competitive with other non-profit organizations and benefits typical of Public Defender's office employees in your host jurisdiction