EQUAL ACCESS TO JUSTICE JOB OPENING 

POSITION TITLE: Executive Director, Equal Access to Justice, Inc. (EAJ)

REPORTS TO: EAJ Board of Directors

TYPE OF JOB: Part-time (30 hrs. weekly)

ORGANIZATION OVERVIEW
EAJ is a not-for-profit organization serving as a significant source of unrestricted revenue for New Mexico Legal Aid, the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty, DNA People’s Legal Services and Law Access New Mexico.  These are the four civil legal aid providers serving the largest area of the state and offering the greatest variety of legal help to the most people in New Mexico.  EAJ raises funds primarily from members of the State Bar of New Mexico.

POSITION DESCRIPTION
The position requires past experience in non-profit leadership or C-level management and the demonstrated ability to raise $500,000+ annually.  This position further requires a person who is passionate about the need for equal access to justice in New Mexico, and who has the ability to communicate that passion to our funding community.

The Executive Director manages EAJ’s annual campaign and other fundraising efforts, including special events.  Further, the Executive Director raises and promotes EAJ’s profile in New Mexico and communicates with the public and our supporters about the need for equal access to justice in our community.  The Executive Director facilitates EAJ’s fundraising and public awareness goals by working with the Board of Directors and with the members of the New Mexico legal community and staff at the State Bar of New Mexico, as appropriate.  EAJ’s annual fundraising goal is $500,000.00.

DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS AND EXPERIENCE:

  1. Two years or more experience in non-profit management.
  2. Demonstrated experience in organizing and leading an annual direct-solicitation fundraising campaign exceeding $500,000.
  3. Demonstrated strong written and verbal communications skills, including demonstrated ability to clearly articulate organizational goals and purpose.
  4. Strong organizational skills, including demonstrable broad experience and proficiency with fundraising and organizational technology, including Google Docs, Office, Quickbooks, donor management software, and social media.
  5. Demonstrated community outreach and building skills.
  6. Demonstrated ability to organize, inform, and build the Board of Directors.

POSITION DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

The Executive Director of EAJ will be responsible for:

  1. Fundraising:
    1. Organizing and leading an annual campaign of direct solicitation.
    2. Identifying new donors, cultivating existing donors and soliciting gifts from individual attorneys, law firms and other law-related entities.
    3. Developing new ways to recognize and steward donors to strengthen their commitment and ensure their continued and increased giving.
    4. Diversifying funding sources by researching, evaluating, and pursuing untapped resources that do not compete with giving to the individual member organizations.
    5. Preparing fundraising materials, letters, marketing materials, etc.
    6. Recruiting and coordinating volunteers, including the Board of Directors, to participate in the campaign and make personal solicitations.
    7. Managing the administrative aspects of fundraising, including the processing of gifts, acknowledging donors, and maintaining donor information and appropriate records.
    8. Planning, organizing, and producing special events.
    9. Other duties as required.
  1. Administration, Executive Leadership, and Community Outreach:
    1. In consultation with the EAJ Board, developing and implementing an annual plan to strengthen and build the organization and its fundraising capacity.
    2. Managing the organization’s finances, daily operations and business matters.
    3. Managing Board recruitment, cultivation, involvement in fundraising, communications, meetings and leadership.
    4. Organizing and facilitating regular meetings of the Board.
    5. Engaging with the legal community in New Mexico, the State Bar of New Mexico staff, the system of civil legal services, and community and business leaders in order to build relationships and cultivate support for EAJ with individuals and entities.
    6. Other duties as required.

Apply in confidence by emailing a cover letter and resume specifying how you meet each of the position requirements to conradm51@gmail.com. Please put your name and EAJ Application in the subject line.

EAJ is an equal opportunity employer.

 

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Right to Lawyer Can Be Empty Promise for Poor

By Ethan Bronner 

new.york.times.logoADEL, Ga. –  Billy Jerome Presley spent 17 months in a Georgia jail because he did not have $2,700 for a child support payment. He had no prior jail record but also no lawyer. In Baltimore last fall, Carl Hymes, 21, was arrested on charges of shining a laser into the eyes of a police officer. Bail was set at $75,000. He had no arrest record but also no lawyer. In West Orange, N.J., last summer, Walter Bloss, 89, was served with an eviction notice from the rent-controlled apartment he had lived in for 43 years after a dispute with his landlord. He had gone to court without a lawyer.

Fifty years ago, on March 18, 1963, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that those accused of a crime have a constitutional right to a lawyer whether or not they can afford one. But as legal officials observe the anniversary of what is widely considered one of the most significant judicial declarations of equality under law, many say that the promise inherent in the Gideon ruling remains unfulfilled because so many legal needs still go unmet.

Civil matters -including legal issues like home foreclosure, job loss, spousal abuse and parental custody -were not covered by the decision. Today, many states and counties do not offer lawyers to the poor in major civil disputes, and in some criminal ones as well. Those states that do are finding that more people than ever are qualifying for such help, making it impossible to keep up with the need. The result is that even at a time when many law school graduates are without work, many Americans are without lawyers.

The Legal Services Corporation, the Congressionally financed organization that provides lawyers to the poor in civil matters, says there are more than 60 million Americans – 35 percent more than in 2005 -who qualify for its services. But it calculates that 80 percent of the legal needs of the poor go unmet. In state after state, according to a survey of trial judges, more people are now representing themselves in court and they are failing to present necessary evidence, committing procedural errors and poorly examining witnesses, all while new lawyers remain unemployed.

“Some of our most essential rights -those involving our families, our homes, our livelihoods – are the least protected,” Chief Justice Wallace B. Jefferson of the Texas Supreme Court, said in a recent speech at New York University. He noted that a family of four earning $30,000 annually does not qualify for legal aid in many states.

James J. Sandman, president of the Legal Services Corporation, said, “Most Americans don’t realize that you can have your home taken away, your children taken away and you can be a victim of domestic violence but you have no constitutional right to a lawyer to protect you.”

According to the World Justice Project, a nonprofit group promoting the rule of law that got its start through the American Bar Association, the United States ranks 66th out of 98 countries in access to and affordability of civil legal services.

“In most countries, equality before the law means equality between those of high and low income,” remarked Earl Johnson Jr., a retired justice of the California Court of Appeal. “In this country for some reason we are concerned more with individuals versus government.”

With law school graduates hurting for work, it may appear that there is a glut of lawyers. But many experts say that is a misunderstanding.

“We don’t have an excess of lawyers,” said Martin Guggenheim, a law professor at New York University. “What we have is a miserable fit. In many areas like family and housing law, there is simply no private bar to go to. You couldn’t find a lawyer to help you even if you had the money because there isn’t a dime to be made in those cases.”

Even in situations where an individual is up against a state prosecutor and jail may result, not every jurisdiction provides lawyers to the defendants. In Georgia, those charged with failing to pay child support face a prosecutor and jail but are not supplied with a lawyer.

Mr. Presley lost his job in the recession and fell way behind on support payments for his four children. In 2011, he was jailed after a court proceeding without a lawyer in which he said he could not pay what he owed. He was brought back to court, shackled, every month or two.

Each time, he said he still could not pay. Each time, he was sent back.

A year later, he contacted a public defender who handles only criminal cases but who sent his case to the Southern Center for Human Rights. Atteeyah Hollie, a lawyer there, got him released that same day, helped him find work and set up a payment plan.

An important service lawyers can provide defendants like Mr. Presley is knowledge of what courts want -receipts of medical treatment, evidence of a job search, bank account statements. On their own, many people misstep when facing a judge.

In Adel, Ga., a town of 5,000, child support court meets monthly. On a recent morning, a dozen men in shackles and jail uniforms faced Chuck Reddick, a state prosecutor, on their second or third round in court.

“In most cases, they simply can’t pay,” said John P. Daughtrey, who was sheriff here until losing an election in November. “An attorney could explain to the judge why jail is not the solution and how to fix it. As a sheriff, I want criminals in my jail, not a debtor’s prison.”

Mr. Reddick and Judge Carson Dane Perkins of Cook County Superior Court in Adel both said they would welcome lawyers for defendants because it would make the process clearer and smoother.

“If we could extend the right to a lawyer to civil procedures where you face a loss of liberty, that would be good,” Judge Perkins said. “Lawyers can get affidavits from employers and help make cases for those who can’t pay.”

The Southern Center for Human Rights has filed a class-action suit seeking a guarantee of a lawyer for such cases in Georgia. Sarah Geraghty, a lawyer there, said the center had received thousands of calls from Georgians facing child support hearings. Among them was Russell Davis, a Navy veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder who was jailed three times and lost his apartment and car while in jail.

Georgia also offers a case study on the mismatch between lawyers and clients at a time when each needs the other. According to the Legal Services Corporation, 70 percent of the state’s lawyers are in the Atlanta area, while 70 percent of the poor live outside it. There are six counties without a lawyer and dozens with only two or three.

Mr. Bloss, who faced eviction in New Jersey, went to legal services, which won for him the right to stay in his apartment while his case is under appeal.

In Baltimore, where Mr. Hymes was accused of shining a laser at a police officer and assigned bail of $75,000, first bail hearings do not include a lawyer. Tens of thousands are brought through Central Booking every year, facing a commissioner through a glass partition, who determines whether to release the detainee on his own recognizance or assign bail and at what level.

“For the poor, bail is a jail sentence,” said Douglas L. Colbert, a law professor at the University of Maryland. A study he conducted on 4,000 bail cases of nonviolent offenders found that two and a half times as many detainees were released on their own recognizance and bail was set at a far more affordable level if a lawyer was at the hearing.

Mr. Hymes was relatively lucky. When he eventually faced a judge with the help of a public defender, bail was slashed to $200 cash. It took his family a few weeks to pay. A student of Mr. Colbert’s, Iten Naguib, acted as an intermediary.

“If there had been an attorney involved at the initial stages,” Ms. Naguib said, “Mr. Hymes would likely have been released much earlier.”

 

Posted in News

How You Can Help

When a New Mexican living in poverty has nowhere else to turn, Equal Access to Justice and your donations make legal help possible. If you would like to volunteer, make a donation, or learn more about the four services providers, please click below:
 
Equal Access To Justice

Mailing address:
PO Box 25941
Albuquerque, NM 87125

Phone:
505.768.6130