Staff Attorney, Early Childhood

Job Type

Full Time


Details: This full-time exempt position offers a competitive public interest salary.




67 East Madison Street
Suite 2000
United States


Organizational Description: 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. 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, health care 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 Description: The Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law (Shriver Center) is seeking an Early Childhood Staff Attorney to support the Shriver Center’s efforts to pursue a policy and systemic agenda to improve the quality of life and the chances for upward mobility of America’s youngest children, with a special focus on children ages 0-3 in Illinois. The project will help to expand successful programs for this age group to fully and equitably meet the needs of all children, with particular emphasis on underserved populations and communities. In pursuing the agenda, the Staff Attorney will develop and apply strategies to best serve the purpose, such as policy and administrative advocacy and litigation, and will apply a racial equity lens to the problem and the potential solutions. The Staff Attorney will actively work with directly impacted parents of young children and their community partners to develop these solutions. The Staff Attorney will be able to draw on the expertise and skills of the Shriver Center's other subject matter experts, as well as its communications and training experts, and will bring an early childhood lens to their work across a range of issues. The Staff Attorney will be expected to develop relationships and alliances with community-based leaders and the existing early childhood advocacy and practitioner communities in Illinois, while also learning from and sharing best practices with advocates across the country through the Shriver Center’s various advocacy networks.


  • Develop an agenda in Illinois to promote the interests, quality of life, and life chances of the youngest children, with an emphasis on the 0-3 age group and underserved populations and communities;
  • Devise and pursue strategies and tactics to achieve success with the agenda including, if and where appropriate, litigation, legislative advocacy, media, and organizing;
  • Examine the racial justice aspects of early childhood policies and implementation and deploy this analysis in the advocacy;
  • Collaborate with other Shriver Center experts on the early childhood agenda and bring the early childhood lens to their work across a range of issues;
  • Develop relationships with community leaders and early childhood practitioners, advocates, experts and policymakers;
  • Provide expertise for the Shriver Center's multi-state networks, sharing success stories and strategies with advocates in other states, consulting with them, and helping to build a national movement for progress on early childhood policy and systems;
  • Participate in or lead advocacy on early childhood issues in all branches of the national government where appropriate and useful, including amicus briefs, alliances in Washington DC, relationships with the Illinois delegation to Congress and within the federal bureaucracy, including conducting lobbying when appropriate;
  • Work with the Shriver Center’s communications team to advance media and message efforts;
  • Collect data and information as needed to evaluate program success and implement appropriate program adjustments;
  • Contribute to the strategic thinking of all of the Shriver Center’s anti-poverty efforts, and produce articles for the Shriver Center’s publications, blogs and other communications;
  • Provide support in raising funds for advocacy activities, including assisting with grant proposals, attending site-visits, and identifying new funding sources;
  • Work with development staff to complete progress reports and financial reports required by funders;
  • Participate as needed in various administrative tasks and committees of the Shriver Center;
  • Travel to Springfield, Illinois and national conferences and meetings as needed;
  • Tracks time and expenses and provides reports on program performance and accomplishments and assists in program evaluation and modification as needed to achieve organizational goals; and
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • J.D., licensed to practice law in Illinois;
  • At least 5 years of experience in policy advocacy, organizing and litigation;
  • Track record of success in ambitious advocacy projects on behalf of people living in poverty;
  • Strong interest or experience in the area of early childhood advocacy;
  • Ability to motivate diverse groups of people and work well as a team member;
  • Self-direction and self-motivation, creative in problem solving, and the ability to work collaboratively and independently;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and advancing racial equity;
  • Experience working across lines of differences and working with and in communities of color on advocacy issues preferred;
  • Excellent research, analysis, and writing skills;
  • Strong public speaking skills;
  • 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; and
  • Multilingual skills are a plus, but not required. 

Visit for more information about the Shriver Center.


This position offers a comprehensive benefits package.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required


How To Apply

Send a cover letter, résumé, writing sample, and references to: Kate Walz via email as a single pdf attachment to All follow-up questions should be directed to the same email address.