Georgia Advocacy Office is an equal opportunity employer committed to having a diverse workforce.
We are currently accepting applications for the position of Director of Legal and Advocacy Services. We will accept applications until the position is filled.
Director of Legal and Advocacy Services
The Georgia Advocacy Office (“GAO”) is an independent, private non-profit organization that is the designated protection and advocacy system for people with disabilities in Georgia. Protection and advocacy (P&A) systems are mandated under federal law to protect people with disabilities from abuse and neglect and to advocate for the human and legal rights of people with disabilities. GAO employs a broad range of advocacy strategies from supporting self-advocacy to legal advocacy to fulfill this mandate.
The Director of Legal and Advocacy Services is a member of GAO’s Management Team and works with the Executive Director and the Program Directors in supervising and managing GAO’s advocacy services and in setting organizational priorities and objectives. The position has two primary components: (1) Serves as chief legal counsel for GAO and (2) supervises all legal advocacy. The responsibilities of the position include supervision of staff, direct representation, and administrative management. The position reports to the Executive Director.
Major Tasks, Responsibilities and Key Accountabilities
1. Coordinate, oversee and supervise GAO’s legal advocacy. Provide ongoing direct supervision to GAO staff attorneys, including providing case work supervision, performance appraisals and professional development.
2. Provide ongoing mentoring, consultation, and support as needed to GAO programs and staff.
3. Work with the Executive Director to facilitate and coordinate cross program communication and work in order to facilitate the provision of effective advocacy services.
4. Collaborate with the Executive Director and all program directors to develop long-term organizational priorities and objectives and to develop strategies for systemic advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities.
5. In conjunction with the Executive Director and Comptroller, ensure compliance with all applicable federal laws governing the activities of protection and advocacy systems and any other federal or state laws that may apply to GAO activities.
6. Develop and execute legal strategies that are consistent with and fulfill GAO’s mission and priorities.
7. Work with the Executive Director to develop and manage GAO’s external relationships with various public and private organizations. Actively participate in various initiatives, partnerships, and groups to address priority systemic issues. Work with federal partners and other advocacy organizations to develop legislative and policy strategies.
8. Serve as GAO’s liaison to state legislators; monitor legislation impacting people with disabilities; inform and educate legislators; work with other disability advocates and allies on legislative issues.
9. Supervise the use and defense of GAO’s access authority under federal law governing protection and advocacy systems; prosecute legal claims to preserve GAO’s federal access authority.
10. Supervise all co-counsel and other external relationships with attorneys and law firms.
11. Provide individual counsel and legal advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities and mental illness as needed.
12. Participate in internal agency task groups to develop strategies, policies, and reports.
13. Make public presentations as needed.
14. Develop and provide training for lawyers, judges, advocates and lay persons as needed.
15. Provide regular reports to the Executive Director and the Board of Directors regarding the legal and legislative activities of the organization.
16. Provide support as needed to the Chief Operating Officer in reviewing external correspondence.
17. Provide support as needed to Resource Advocacy with complex intake matters.
18. Assist with annual reporting to federal agencies
19. Perform related tasks consistent with skills, abilities, and general responsibilities as may be assigned by the Executive Director.
Knowledge, Skills, Abilities and Competencies
1. Knowledge of state and federal laws and regulations relating to civil rights and human service programs, specifically as they correlate with advocating for individuals with disabilities and mental illness.
2. Sound reasoning and writing skills to effectively analyze complex issues, make decisions about the proper course of action to take and to advocate effectively and persuasively for and with an individual with a disability or mental illness.
3. Oral and written communication skills to effectively and professionally communicate with individuals over the telephone, in writing and in person, including but not limited to, individuals with developmental disabilities, employers, attorneys, governmental agencies, benefits planning programs, assistance programs, and outreach programs, employment networks, advocacy organizations, and other service providers/entities.
4. Interpersonal skills to maintain productive working relationships with all staff members and to work in an interdisciplinary team with other professionals.
5. Oral presentation skills to successfully present in both litigation as well as educational settings.
6. Organizational skills to manage and successfully complete multiple priorities and tasks, and to meet self-imposed and externally set deadlines.
1. Sense of identification with people with disabilities.
2. Licensed Attorney admitted to the State Bar of Georgia. Minimum of five years of experience in (1) supervision and management of direct advocacy services, and (2) complex, systemic litigation on behalf of people with disabilities; must have significant litigation experience in federal and state courts including motion practice, depositions and other discovery, use of expert witnesses, and preparation of pre-trial orders.
3. Working familiarity with federal and state disability statutes.
4. Knowledge and strong commitment to the improvement of quality of life and protection of rights for people with disabilities in the state of Georgia.
5. Reliable transportation, insurance and valid driver’s license.
6. Compliance with all written policies of the organization.
7. Ability to pass a background check.
1. Background in social role valorization and related training.
2. Knowledge of federal statutes governing protection and advocacy systems.
3. Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications including Word, Outlook, Excel, web-based report creation, generic database management.
Salary commensurate with experience.
PLEASE SUBMIT a cover letter and resume to:
Or mail to:
Legal and Advocacy Director Search
Georgia Advocacy Office
One West Court Square, Suite 625
Decatur, GA 30030
We will accept resumes until the position is filled. FAXED RESUMES AND RESUMES WITHOUT A COVER LETTER WILL NOT BE CONSIDERED.
Hours are 9:00am until 5:00pm, Monday through Friday, with travel and occasional overnight stay within the state. Information about the Georgia Advocacy Office can be found at www.thegao.org and http://bit.ly/fbthegao.org. Georgia Advocacy Office is an equal opportunity employer committed to having a diverse workforce. Persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply. We are a busy office and a truly rewarding place to work.