Staff Attorney, Community Justice

Job Type

Full Time



Application Deadline



67 East Madison Street
Suite 2000
United States


Organizational Overview: The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law provides national leadership in advancing laws and policies that secure justice to improve the lives and opportunities of people living in poverty. The Shriver Center brings together lawyers, community leaders, and allies from across the country as the nation’s leading advocate for people living in poverty. We work toward a future where people living in poverty have income security, equal opportunity, and a voice in what happens in their communities.

The Shriver Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization with a staff of 50 based primarily in Chicago. In 2017, the Shriver Center marked its 50th anniversary and adopted a strategic plan focused on growth and organizational excellence. In the past few years, the Shriver Center’s operational budget has increased significantly, from $4.3 million in 2014 to $7.5 million in 2018. Accompanying this growth, the Shriver Center’s focus has expanded the scope and reach of its work, attaining increasing national prominence.

Commitment to Race Equity: We put race front and center in our work. We recognize that inclusion of diverse voices, perspectives, and experiences is essential to understanding and addressing complex issues in our advocacy and within our organization. To that end, we focus on issues that deeply affect the lives and social mobility of people living in poverty: economic justice, housing justice, healthcare justice, and community justice. We lead, equip, and mobilize multi-state networks to advance an anti-poverty and racial justice agenda. Through training and leadership development programs designed to foster innovation and collaboration, we strengthen core competencies of advocates across the country.

Position Overview: The Staff Attorney helps the Shriver Center accomplish its mission by advancing the Shriver Center’s advocacy efforts locally, nationally, and in Illinois. The position will involve a concentration on reforming the criminal legal systems for both adults and juveniles in the Shriver Center’s Community Justice portfolio, including eliminating mass incarceration, child welfare reform, criminal records, diversion from the criminal justice system, collateral consequences, and the school to prison “pipeline,” but will also involve other issues in the Shriver Center’s comprehensive anti-poverty agenda. The Staff Attorney engages in advocacy of all kinds (legislative, administrative, litigation, public education, coalition-building, etc.).


  • Collaborate and build relationships with community-based advocates 
  • Advocate for laws and policies that promote access to employment, education, housing, and income for people with criminal records and that decrease the accumulation of debt arising from contact with the criminal legal system.
  • Advocate for laws and policies that decrease the likelihood of people of color encountering the criminal legal system
  • Increase the availability of legal representation for individuals with criminal records by recruiting and training attorneys to handle criminal record-related cases.
  • Advocate for laws and policies that divert people from the criminal legal system and child welfare system, and strategies involving school policies, racial justice, sentencing reform, changes in policing, among others.
  • Participate in the staffing and coordination of the Shriver Center efforts to coordinate community justice work across multiple states through the Legal Impact Network or other networks.
  • Participate as assigned in other advocacy work at the Shriver Center.
  • Contribute to raising funds for advocacy activities, including assisting with grant proposals, attending site-visits, and identifying new funding sources.
  • Continue to learn about issues and potential or systemic solutions through contact with clients, direct service providers, and community organizations, and to develop strategies for accomplishing positive changes for our clients.
  • Contribute to the strategic thinking of all the Shriver Center’s anti-poverty efforts and produce articles for the Shriver Center’s publications.
  • Supervise support staff, volunteers and law student interns as needed.
  • Participate as needed in various administrative tasks and committees of the Shriver Center.
  • Travel to Springfield, IL and national conferences and meetings as needed.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • J.D., licensed to practice law in Illinois, and three or more years of experience practicing law.
  • Experience preferred in advocacy involving the criminal justice and child welfare issues described above.
  • Excellent research, analysis, and writing skills.
  • Experience in or demonstrated commitment to public interest law and advocacy on behalf of individuals and families living in poverty.
  • Ability to complete work successfully both independently and as part of a team.
  • Ability to develop and lead new and existing projects.
  • Ability to participate in evening and weekend community and client meetings.
  • Ability to travel for work-related meeting and conferences.

Salary/Benefits: This full-time exempt position offers a competitive annual salary and a comprehensive benefits package.

Visit for more information about the Shriver Center.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Send a cover letter and resumé to Patrice James at