- Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts
This non-supervisory, professional position is responsible for the dual role of identifying and recommending strategies for the Judicial Branch to address the growing numbers of people without lawyers coming to courts of review across Illinois and supporting the growth of Illinois JusticeCorps, an AmeriCorps program which places college and law student volunteers in courthouses to assist people without lawyers to navigate the judicial system.
As part of his/her Appellate Resources work, this staff attorney will assist self-represented litigants in the effective and efficient processing of civil appeals while educating self-represented litigants on court statutes, rules, policies and procedures within legal limitations to ensure that court cases are handled properly and expeditiously.
In furtherance of his/her JusticeCorps work, this staff attorney will facilitate better communication between program staff and court stakeholders including judges, clerks, and court administrators. Better collaboration with the Court could also create new opportunities to collect and analyze program data, and to evaluate program efficacy.
This position will work closely with all Illinois courts, external stakeholders and the Illinois Supreme Court's Commission on Access to Justice and its Appellate and Illinois JusticeCorps Committees.
Appellate Resources Specialist (50%)
- Identifies and analyzes best practices in Illinois and nationally of court-based programs and services that promote meaningful access to the courts of review for self-represented litigants;
- Answers questions, explains procedures, makes referrals, presents options and reviews documents for procedural correctness without offering legal advice;
- Collects data and prepares statistical and informational reports measuring the numbers of self-represented litigants in civil appeals;
- Engages in community outreach initiatives to strengthen and identify resources for self-represented litigants in civil appeals;
- Communicates and builds relationships with collaborative partners, including the Illinois Appellate Lawyers Association, to improve resources and referrals for self-represented litigants in civil appeals and develop pro bono workshops;
- Assists in the design of training programs for judges, justices, circuit and appellate clerks and court staff to help them manage the needs of self-represented litigants with appeals in a consistent, appropriate manner;
- Acts as a resource to appellate justices, appellate clerks and Illinois JusticeCorps circuit court partners in addressing self-represented litigation issues;
- Explores the development of appellate self-help desks and resources in each of the appellate districts;
- In consultation with the Assistant Director, manages AOIC website appellate self-help content; and
- In consultation with the Assistant Director and other AOIC staff, serves as a liaison to the Appellate Court Administrative Committee.
JusticeCorps Officer (40%)
- Identifies, develops, evaluates and promotes programs, policies and training to enhance the capacity of Illinois JusticeCorps volunteers to serve self-represented litigants;
- Collects data and prepares statistical and informational reports measuring the impact and outcomes of Illinois JusticeCorps;
- Communicates and builds relationships with collaborative partners and key stakeholders including legal aid and pro bono programs, judicial and non-judicial branch collaborative partners (including judges, court staff, court clerks) and key stakeholders (including The Chicago Bar Foundation, the Illinois Bar Foundation, other national, state and local bar associations, other legal organizations and others providing services to Illinois' low income and vulnerable populations); and
- Engages in community outreach initiatives to strengthen and identify resources for self-represented litigants in civil appeals and Illinois JusticeCorps.
Other Duties and Responsibilities (10%)
- In consultation with the Assistant Director, serves as a liaison to the Illinois Supreme Court's Commission on Access to Justice (ATJ) and its various subcommittees.
- Functions as a liaison, as needed, for self-represented litigation advisory committees and national organizations.
- Performs other duties as assigned.
- Knowledge of the principles and practices of appellate legal practice and court operations.
- Skills in program development, implementation, and evaluation.
- Ability to collect data and prepare statistical and informational reports.
- Proficiency with Microsoft Office products, including PowerPoint, Excel and Access.
- Knowledge of the principles and techniques of short-term and long-range project management.
- Strong written and oral communication skills.
- Strong organizational and interpersonal skills.
- Use of independent judgment within established practice and procedural guidelines.
- Ability to coordinate with councils, committees, state agencies and other organizations.
- Must have a valid Illinois drivers' license and demonstrate proof of automobile insurance to operate a personal vehicle on state business, as well as maintain a safe driving record.
EXPERIENCE AND EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
Minimum: J.D. with a minimum of two (2) to four (4) years' experience.
Preferred: Civil legal aid experience, significant pro bono experience, familiarity with appellate process and procedures and AmeriCorps, court administration or public administration—with project management experience.
- Ability to sit for extended time periods.
- Professional office working environment requiring telephone usage and ability to process written documents.
- Travel within Illinois required.
- EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER