Staff Attorney

Position Purpose

Juvenile Law Center advocates for rights, dignity, equity and opportunity for all youth in the child welfare and justice systems. 

Founded in 1975, Juvenile Law Center is the first non-profit, public interest law firm for children in the country. Through litigation, appellate advocacy and submission of amicus (friend-of-the-court) briefs, policy reform, public education, training, consulting, and strategic communications, we fight for children who come into contact with the child welfare and justice systems. Widely published and internationally recognized as leaders in the field, Juvenile Law Center has substantially shaped the development of law and policy on behalf of youth. We strive to ensure that laws, policies, and practices affecting youth advance racial and economic equity and are rooted in research, consistent with children’s unique developmental characteristics, and reflective of international human rights values. Current issues can be found here

Juvenile Law Center is committed to advancing equity both internally and in our advocacy work. We recognize the urgency and necessity of actively building and supporting diverse leadership at Juvenile Law Center and in the field more broadly. We are committed to actively recruiting and hiring from communities most impacted by our work. Applicants working to advance equity and who identify with these impacted communities are strongly encouraged to apply and self-identify during the application process. 

The staff attorney will work on projects in many of our work areas, collaborating in a highly collegial atmosphere with attorneys, communications, development, and operations staff, and in partnership with colleagues around the state and country. The work will include litigation and policy advocacy, and may include public education, media advocacy, legal and non-legal research and writing, training, technical assistance, coordinating state or national reform efforts including organizing and facilitating meetings, and other duties as assigned. The job will require some travel in Pennsylvania and nationally. Juvenile Law Center’s physical office is closed through January 4, 2021. The position may be filled remotely but is expected to work from our Philadelphia office once we are able to safely reopen.


Essential Functions (include, but not limited to):

  • Think strategically about opportunities to advocate for child welfare and justice systems that are developmentally appropriate, racially equitable, and supportive of youth, families and communities
  • Engage in impact litigation and appellate advocacy to shape the field of youth law, including drafting memoranda, motions, and briefs as well as oral advocacy and trial participation as needed
  • Engage in policy reform efforts, including analyzing statutes and regulations, drafting fact sheets and publications, and convening key stakeholders
  • Provide public education at conferences, convenings, and meetings
  • Provide technical assistance to lawyers, social workers, advocates, and other stakeholders on child welfare and youth justice issues


Essential Skills:

  • Commitment to our mission and vision
  • Strong research, writing, oral communication, and legal skills
  • Highly collaborative, including ability to work effectively with external partners and internal colleagues; ability to build strong rapport and relationships; ability to work collaboratively alongside youth
  • Strong sense of professionalism, including ability to manage multiple deadlines; strong work ethic and commitment to see assignments completed thoroughly and timely; flexibility to pitch in when needed; willingness to learn new skills and improve existing skills
  • Previous experience with at least one of the following: impact litigation, appellate advocacy or policy analysis and advocacy
  • A commitment to racial equity, including: a dedication to expanding analysis and knowledge about the role that racial inequity plays in our society and a commitment to building or deepening commitment to racial justice work.


Additional Skills and Experiences Preferred:

  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically about child welfare and justice systems that are developmentally appropriate, racially equitable, and supportive of youth, families and communities
  • Experience using multiple lawyering strategies, including litigation, appellate advocacy, policy advocacy
  • Demonstrated skills in racial justice advocacy, including: a demonstrated understanding of the role of racial inequity in movement-building, a demonstrated ability to effectively manage across difference, an ability to integrate understanding of racial equity concepts into work projects by addressing structural implications and disproportionate impacts of laws, policies, and practices.
  • Insights into the justice and child welfare systems that bring a new perspective to Juvenile Law Center, which may be based on personal experience in the system, personal experience as a member of a marginalized group, and/or deep knowledge of a relevant body of law

Juvenile Law Center has a commitment to professional development and will actively support candidates in further developing their skills in these areas.


Responsibility Level:

  • The Staff Attorney reports to the Senior and Managing Attorneys in all aspects of Juvenile Law Center’s litigation and policy advocacy strategies and programs.



  • J.D. required
  • At least three years of experience in juvenile and criminal justice, child welfare, or a closely related field



Salary is commensurate with experience. The minimum starting salary for this position is $62,000. Juvenile Law Center offers excellent health care benefits, disability insurance and life insurance. 


To Apply:

Send cover letter describing interests and experience, a resume, list of three references and a writing sample in a single PDF to In your cover letter, please let us know how you heard of this position. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.


Statement on Diversity and Inclusion:

Juvenile Law Center’s mission is to advocate for rights, dignity, equity, and opportunity in the child welfare and justice systems. The diversity of our staff is critical to fulfilling this mission.

Juvenile Law Center is committed to cultivating an inclusive space that affirms and celebrates the backgrounds, learned and lived expertise, whole identities, and individual perspectives of our staff. We are committed to the diversity of our staff as it pertains to race, color, ethnicity, class, sex, marital or parental status, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, size, disability, religion, national origin, and/or child welfare or juvenile or criminal justice involvement, including prior record of arrest, adjudication, or conviction. Applicants of all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to self-identify during the application process.

Juvenile Law Center is an equal opportunity employer.