Legal Director, Family Court Practice

Brooklyn, NY
Full Time
Practice Areas: Litigation Exp.: 5+ Years
Position Summary: The Legal Director, Family Court Practice will oversee JCCA’s in-house family court practice, which will support JCCA’s child welfare programs in achieving permanency for young people in out of home care and provide advice on other legal issues affecting clients of JCCA and their families. The Legal Director, Family Court Practice will counsel program staff, help prepare staff to testify in court proceedings, attend court proceedings, review and interpret court orders, file petitions, engage in motion practice, assist staff to determine whether to seek interim appellate relief, and respond to various legal inquiries. The Legal Director, Family Court Practice will consult with outside family court counsel, as necessary, and with counsel for other parties. The Legal Director, Family Court Practice will also lead education and training of staff and management regarding legal practice in family court, updates on changes in the law, best practices in family court proceedings and preparation for participation in family court proceedings.

  • Draft and file Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) petitions, conduct discovery, hearings, TPR trials, depositions, oral arguments and court conferences as necessary.
  • Oversee the service of process on birth parents and the diligent search process. Prepare and oversee the drafting, filing and execution of surrenders.
  • Oversee the tracking of TPRs.
  • Work in close coordination with staff in the JCCA adoption unit to expedite the adoption process.
  • Oversee the review of documents prepared in connection with adoptions and the tracking of the adoption process.
  • Communicate with adoption attorneys to achieve timely finalization of adoptions.
  • Review family court orders, counsel program staff on compliance requirement to review and determine necessity of appeal or further motion practice, as necessary.
  • Represent JCCA by attending court hearings as indicated.
  • Collaborate and consult with ACS Family Court Legal Services, lawyers for JCCA’s clients and other external legal representatives to promote permanency for young people in care and to ensure that the interests of JCCA are being met.
  • Train staff on court procedures, testimony, etc., including preparation for testimony in permanency hearings and TPR proceedings
  • Attend family team conferences as indicated.
  • Review and advise staff regarding compliance with Family Court orders.
  • Conduct and oversee appellate work and engage in motion practice, as necessary.
  • Consult with program staff regarding permanency, with a particular focus on matters that pose legal challenges.
  • Review and advise on court reports, as indicated.
  • Manage and oversee JCCA’s Family Court legal practice, including supervision of staff and oversight of outside counsel, as necessary.
  • Consult and provide guidance regarding internal policies and procedures.
  • Attend departmental meetings, agency meetings, and external trainings.
  • Promptly respond to legal inquiries.
  • Ensure appropriate documentation and reporting on TPRs and adoption proceedings.
  • Implement and maintain a legal tracking system for court dates and due dates for legal documents.
  • Maintain timely compliance with court dates, including court appearances, filing dates and all other court-mandated requirements on behalf of JCCA’s clients.
  • Remain informed and communicate to relevant staff developments in family court practice.
  • Represent JCCA at external meetings, as necessary.
  • Other responsibilities as assigned.

  • JD Degree, admitted to New York State Bar and member in good standing.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • At least five years’ practice experience in New York State Family Court.
  • Litigation experience.
  • Client counseling experience.
  • Demonstrated interest in working with and on behalf of disadvantaged clients.
  • Excellent organizational skills.
  • Must have a commitment to work from a strength based and/or youth development and trauma-informed perspective.

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