Detroit, MI

The Detroit Justice Center (DJC) seeks a full-time Staff Attorney to provide direct legal services to Detroit youth with the aim of reducing the likelihood of arrest, court involvement, and incarceration. The Staff Attorney will also create know-your-rights resources and run legal empowerment workshops with youth organizers. This work will be deeply collaborative and will build upon existing and new relationships with youth-serving organizations in the city. Through legal empowerment efforts, the Staff Attorney will help build the organizing capacity of our partner organizations tackling juvenile justice issues.

DJC is founded on the belief that we cannot build cities that work for everyone without remedying the impacts of mass incarceration and transforming our justice system. This mission requires new ways of community lawyering—rooted in defensive and offensive fights for racial justice and economic equity—that build up our poorest residents through direct services and innovative approaches to land use, housing, and employment. The Staff Attorney will join DJC’s Legal Services Practice, which works to remove legal barriers (such as warrants, criminal records, suspended licenses, and fines and fees) that prevent court-involved individuals and other vulnerable residents from participating in Detroit’s economy.

Position Overview

The Staff Attorney will work under the direct supervision of the Legal Director and in collaboration with their fellow attorneys across practice areas. The Staff Attorney will be expected to function autonomously without further substantive legal training. This is a rewarding and exciting position where the successful applicant will engage in innovative community lawyering work, serving clients as part of DJC’s broader mission to promote Just Cities.

Job responsibilities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Conduct intakes, provide legal advice and support, make strong referrals, and take on cases for representation as appropriate;
  • Advise, counsel, and represent clients with legal matters including warrants, suspended licenses, court fines and fees, and juvenile court cases for low-level delinquency charges;
  • Stay up to date on state and federal laws and policies pertaining to juvenile justice, the school-to-prison pipeline, and collateral consequences in the criminal justice system;
  • Produce legal empowerment resources to answer questions youth have about interacting with police and the court system;
  • Co-design and conduct Know-Your-Rights trainings with youth leaders at our partner organizations;
  • Maintain organized client files, case notes, and database systems for caseload as determined with the Legal Director;
  • Identify issues that need a “systems change” solution, and elevate them to DJC leadership;
  • Support PR, development, communications, and storytelling projects as needed;
  • Oversee and supervise legal interns;
  • Conduct administrative tasks as needed.


The successful candidate for this position will have a deep passion for DJC’s mission; a demonstrated commitment to social, racial, economic, and criminal justice; a desire to democratize access to the law by promoting legal education and legal empowerment in marginalized communities; the ability to sustain and develop a broad set of relationships with people from diverse backgrounds; energy and enthusiasm.

  • J.D. degree required;
  • Licensed attorney, active and in good standing, in Michigan;
  • At least 3 years of experience representing clients in criminal and/or civil legal matters;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills;
  • Proactive communicator with strong problem-solving skills. Ability to develop creative solutions, speak up regularly with new ideas, thoughts, concerns, and incorporate feedback and direction;
  • Demonstrated ability and willingness to zealously pursue creative and collaborative legal services and strategies;
  • Excellent time management. Ability to produce high quality work on tight deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to take initiative;
  • Enthusiasm for working at a progressive new organization;
  • Passion for social justice, criminal justice, and community-oriented work required;
  • Excellent professional judgment;
  • Ability to hit the ground working, multi-task, and work independently.

DJC offers salary commensurate with experience plus benefits. DJC is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer. People of color, women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and individuals with past involvement in the justice system or who have loved ones currently or formerly in the justice system are strongly encouraged to apply. 

To Apply: Please send a cover letter, resume, legal writing sample, and at least two references in one Word or PDF file by June 8, 2018 to with the subject: “DJC Staff Attorney—Youth Legal Services.” Please mention in your cover letter where you saw this advertisement. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please refrain from contacting the office to check on the status of your application.