Director of Appeals – Family Justice Law Center


Director of Appeals – Family Justice Law Center

The Family Justice Law Center (FJLC), a part of the Urban Justice Center, seeks applicants for the full-time position of Director of Appeals. FJLC pursues impact litigation, including affirmative civil rights actions and strategic state court appeals, to challenge and change the practices of the child welfare system that devastate vulnerable families. FJLC is located in the Urban Justice Center’s office in New York, NY. At this time, some work may be done remotely at the discretion of the Executive Director of FJLC and some in-person work will be required. The Director of Appeals will be responsible primarily for leading FJLC’s strategic state court appeal efforts and will report directly to the Executive Director of FJLC.

Responsibilities include: 

  • Leadings all aspects of FJLC’s state appellate strategy, including drafting briefs and motions, developing and conducting trainings, counseling and working with clients, and partaking in oral arguments. 
  • Developing and implementing appellate and other litigation strategies for protecting families’ rights. 
  • Managing pro bono partnerships, including with law firms and public-interest organizations. 
  • Advising and working on federal court affirmative cases. 
  • Supervising and mentoring junior lawyers. 
  • Traveling as required for litigation and related activities. 
  • Speaking about the work of FJLC to diverse audiences. 
  • Engaging in special projects and other duties as assigned by the Executive Director. 
  • Collaborating with other public-interest and non-profit organizations on projects of mutual concern. 
  • A commitment to the mission of FJLC. 

Location: New York, NY. 

Deadline Date: Applications will be considered until the position is filled. 

Schedule: Full-time. 

Salary and Benefits 

Salary will be commensurate with experience and qualifications, with a range of $90,000 – $130,000. Benefits include 401(k) match, exceptional medical and dental insurance, paid vacation days, paid personal days, paid sick days, paid holidays, and an additional paid week off between Christmas and New Year’s Day. 

Experience & Qualifications 

  • J.D. degree. 
  • Must be a member of the New York Bar or take immediate steps to apply for membership (either through examination or reciprocity) after accepting the position. 
  • At least eight years’ experience in appellate litigation. 
  • At least one year’s experience in federal court litigation, which may include a clerkship. 
  • Superb analytic, research, and writing skills. 
  • Commitment to helping to build a new civil rights organization. 
  • Familiarity with family defense rights is preferred; commitment to the integrity and preservation of families struggling with poverty and racial injustice is essential. 
  • Clerkship preferred. 
  • Experience drafting amicus briefs preferred. 
  • Experience drafting op-eds and other non-legal advocacy pieces preferred. 
  • Experience designing and conducting legal trainings preferred. 
  • Experience collaborating on advocacy efforts with people directly impacted by the family regulation system strongly preferred. 

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access

The Family Justice Law Center, a part of the Urban Justice Center, is committed to cultivating a workspace where all people thrive. The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer and encourages applications from all qualified individuals regardless of race, sex, gender identity or expression, age, disability, religion, creed, national origin, citizenship, marital status, sexual orientation, veteran status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status, record of arrest or conviction or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. 

We believe our clients and our mission will be served by centering those who have been directly impacted. Candidates with direct experience, or members of communities routinely targeted, are strongly encouraged to apply. 

Application Process 

  • Applicants should submit the following documents: 
  • Brief statement (in a cover letter or otherwise) explaining the applicant’s interest in the position; 
  • Resume; 
  • Law School transcript; 
  • List of at least three references, including contact information; and 
  • A recent appellate brief. Please do not send an excerpt. The applicant should be the primary author and the work should not have been significantly revised by someone else. 

Please submit your application materials in a single electronic file to with the subject line “Director of Appeals – [Name].” 

About the Family Justice Law Center 

The Family Justice Law Center, a part of the Urban Justice Center’s Social Justice Accelerator program, will use strategic litigation to seek justice for families mistreated by the child welfare system, frequently referred to as the family regulation system. It will challenge systemic abuses of government power that lead to the illegal separation of children from their families. It will seek redress for harms while promoting change to help families survive and thrive. 

The Family Justice Law Center launched in March 2022. 

To learn more visit 

Press coverage of the announcement: WNYC, Gothamist, Law360, New York Law Journal, The Imprint, and The74 (reposted in Yahoo! News). 

Additional press coverage of the Family Justice Law Center: The New York Times, NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt, ProPublica/NBC News, Mother Jones, and NY1’s Inside City Hall. 

About the Urban Justice Center 

The Urban Justice Center (UJC) serves New York City’s most vulnerable residents through a combination of direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education and political organizing. UJC assists clients on numerous levels, from one-on-one legal advice in soup kitchens, to helping individuals access housing and government assistance, to filing class action lawsuits to bring about systemic change. Visit for more information about UJC and its work. 


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