Staff Attorney

Decatur, Georgia
Dec 13, 2018
Jan 12, 2019
Job Function
Advocacy / Lobbying, Legal
Position Type
Full Time
Degree Level
Willingness to Travel
up to 25%
Experience Level

The Georgia Advocacy Office (“GAO”) is a federally funded, 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.

This position serves as Attorney for the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program of the GAO pursuant to 42 U.S.C. §10801 et seq. The priorities of GAO's PAIMI program are (1) to protect individuals with mental illness from, and to pursue a remedy for, incidents of abuse and/or neglect; (2) to respond to allegations of discrimination and legal rights violations of individuals with mental illness; and (3) to promote the integration and self-determination of persons with mental illness in their communities.

The PAIMI Attorney will engage in individual and systemic legal advocacy on behalf of individuals with mental illness who are subject to abuse or neglect, or who are institutionalized or at risk of institutionalization. The ideal candidate will have demonstrated a deep sense of identification with people with disabilities, particularly people experiencing psychiatric disabilities. This position reports to the PAIMI Director and the Legal Director.

Major Tasks and Responsibilities

  1. Represent individuals experiencing psychiatric disabilities in individual and systemic legal actions in the state and federal courts.
  2. Support the PAIMI team in providing legal support for individuals who experience psychiatric disabilities.
  3. Investigate complaints or requests for advocacy from people with mental illness.
  4. Investigate abuse and neglect in institutional and community-based settings.
  5. Provide individual advocacy to people with mental illness. This includes meeting with the person, identifying issues, determining a course of action, developing appropriate legal advocacy strategies, and encouraging self-advocacy, when appropriate.
  6. Consult with professionals such as attorneys, physicians, psychologists, therapists, educators, and others to identify options and barriers for individuals.
  7. Perform related tasks consistent with skills, abilities, and general responsibilities as required.


  1. Effective and professional communication skills, including demonstrated writing skills.
  2. Interpersonal skills to maintain productive working relationships with all staff and to work in interdisciplinary teams with other professionals.
  3. Organizational skills to successfully complete multiple priorities and tasks and meet self-imposed and externally-set deadlines.

Minimum Qualifications

  1. A sense of identification with people with disabilities, particularly people with mental illness, and a dedicated commitment to the rights of people with disabilities.
  2. A Juris Doctorate degree and a license to practice law in Georgia.
  3. Litigation experience.
  4. Ability and willingness to litigate on behalf of individuals with psychiatric disabilities.
  5. A strong commitment to the improvement of quality of life and protection of rights for people with disabilities in Georgia.
  6. Ability and willingness to travel throughout the state of Georgia.
  7. Ability to pass a background check.

Preferred Qualifications

  1. Background in Social Role Valorization (SRV) and related training.
  2. Specialized knowledge in disability or related field.
  3. Experience advocating with and for persons with disabilities.
  4. Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications including Word, Outlook, Excel, web-based report creation, and generic database management.
  5. Experience litigating in federal court.
  6. Experience in civil rights practice areas.
  7. Reliable transportation, insurance, and valid driver’s license or access to transportation.
  8. Experience providing training to diverse groups of people.

Salary range $50K-$75K or commensurate with experience. GAO provides excellent benefits, such as health insurance, 403B plan, and paid vacation and holidays. We are located in downtown Decatur, Georgia, a vibrant community minutes from downtown Atlanta. GAO is an equal opportunity employer committed to having a diverse workforce. Applicants with disabilities and members of other minority groups are encouraged to apply. 

To apply, please submit a cover letter explaining your qualifications for the position, a resume, and a list of references by Saturday, January 12, 2019, by email to:

or by mail to:

PAIMI Attorney Search

Georgia Advocacy Office

One West Court Square, Suite 625

Decatur, GA 30030

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