Summary

Civil Survival Project (CSP) is looking for a formerly incarcerated law student to serve as a summer intern within the CSP’s legal team. The intern will work under the supervision of a CSP attorney to assist formerly incarcerated individuals across Washington State who face legal barriers to successful reentry. This work will include: criminal record vacation, legal financial obligation remission, relief from drug possession convictions under State v Blake, and registration relief for individuals convicted of sex offenses. The intern will work on a variety of projects that include but are not limited to—assess individual eligibility for relief, research and write legal memoranda, engage in communication with individual clients, work on current policy advocacy projects, and assist in the preparation of community training events and mass assistance days.

Organization Description

Civil Survival Project organizes people who have been directly impacted by the criminal legal system to build connections, gain knowledge and increase political participation. CSP provides leadership development, offers legal education and services, and leads legislative advocacy on systemic issues that prevent former justice-involved individuals from fully reintegrating into society. Civil Survival’s work includes:

  • Organizing mass assistance days that provide legal financial obligation relief to hundreds of clients in a single day. During CSP’s mass assistance day in Pierce County, the courts waived over $2.3 million in criminal legal debt.
  • Leading systemic advocacy to make reentry legal relief accessible and automatic. CSP recently led a coalition of organizations to improve Washington’s mandatory legal financial obligations motion, allowing the motion to provide relief to tens of thousands of additional Washingtonians.
  • Hosting weekly GameChanger groups that provide justice-involved individuals a place to learn how to advocate for systemic change, overcome their own reentry barriers, and provide peer support.
  • Supporting bills that expand legal rights for justice-involved individuals. CSP was closely involved in securing the passage of the New Hope Act, which made significant improvements to Washington’s criminal record vacation process.

Job Description

Part of Civil Survival’s mission of empowering directly impacted people and communities is to involve these same individuals in affecting positive change within the criminal legal system. To that end, Civil Survival is looking to help foster a new generation of lawyers who not only care deeply about reforming the criminal legal system but have personally experienced the system’s failures. We at Civil Survival believe that training formerly incarcerated persons in the law will lead to a more equitable and just legal system and will ultimately transform the profession. As such, we have created the DuBois F.I.R.E. (Formerly Incarcerated Reimagining Equity) Internship, named in honor of our founder, Amanda DuBois.

The Intern will assist attorneys in providing legal services across a variety of legal areas, including LFO remission, relief under State v. Blake, criminal record vacation, and registration relief for people convicted of sex offenses. In addition to assisting with direct legal services, the Intern will work on a variety of projects that include, but are not limited to, researching and drafting legal memoranda, working on current policy advocacy projects, assisting in the preparation of community training events and mass assistance days, developing self-help materials, and fostering relationships with community groups and partner organizations.

The ideal candidate is someone who has been formerly incarcerated and embodies Civil Survival’s motto: Educate. Motivate. Liberate. The candidate should be motivated to help those most frequently disadvantaged by the criminal legal system including those with disabilities, people of color, and individuals who face the greatest barriers to self-advocacy. Likewise, the candidate should be excited to directly assist clients with reentry legal aid needs, while also helping to create systems such as mass assistance days, that offer opportunities for widescale relief. The candidate should strive to use their personal experiences to reshape the criminal legal system and inspire others to do the same.

The intern will work as part of a team of eight, which will include four staff attorneys, one paralegal, one senior attorney and one legal and policy director.

People of color, people who identify as queer, trans, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Qualifications

  • Lived experience with/Directly impacted by the criminal legal system.  The primary aim of this internship is to provide the legal tools for systemic change to those who are most intimately familiar with the system’s failures and abuses.
  • Completion of at least two years of law school by the start of the internship.  
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills. 
  • Strong ability to work collaboratively. 
  • Strong interest in criminal legal system reform and addressing the racially disparate impacts of mass incarceration.   
  • Strong organization skills. The intern should be able to manage multiple projects,  ensuring that tasks are completed in a timely manner and lower-priority items do not slip through the cracks.  
  • A deep commitment to growth in a trauma-informed, anti-racist organization. 
  • An understanding and empathy with the stresses experienced by clients who are impacted by poverty, mental illness, disabilities, unstable housing, substance use disorder, domestic strife, and other barriers. Ability to help these clients engage in their own representation through the principles of harm-reduction—meeting clients where they are, in a way that is responsive to their specific needs. 
  • Demonstrated cultural competence and sensitivity in working with diverse clients, communities, and colleagues.

Location

CSP has a fully remote office. Candidates across the United States are encouraged to apply. We will strive to accommodate your preferred state of residency. However, due to local regulations, this may not be possible in some states. In that situation, should you wish to accept the internship, you would need to relocate for the internship period to a state, such as Washington, where we can provide a remote internship. We are unable to evaluate whether an internship can be offered in a specific state until we extend an internship offer.

Compensation

The intern will receive a $10,000 stipend for a twelve-week internship.

Equal Opportunity Employer

CSP is committed to a policy of equal opportunity and fosters an environment free of barriers and discriminatory practices. CSP actively promotes mutual respect, acceptance, teamwork and productivity. CSP is committed to maintaining an organization whose staff, Board and clients are diverse in background, experience, race, color, national origin, gender, age, religious affiliation, marital status, sexual identity, sensory, mental or physical abilities, veteran status, and other qualities that strengthen the program while reinforcing its commitment to basic fairness.

People of color, people who identify as queer, trans, lesbian, gay, or bisexual, and those with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. Individuals needing a reasonable accommodation for the application or interview process should contact Corey Guilmette (he/him pronouns) at corey.guilmette@civilsurvival.org or (206) 641-5334.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis with an initial review occurring on November 14, 2022. Please submit the following materials to Chelsea Dimas (she/her/ella pronouns) at chelsea.dimas@civilsurvival.org:

  • Letter of interest
  • Resumé
  • One legal writing sample, unedited by others
  • Please indicate whether you will be applying for school credit