Kids First is a nonprofit children’s law center that gives children a voice in divorce and custody conflicts by providing focused legal representation and services for kids. Currently, a staff of eight (including four attorneys and a therapist) serve over 800 children annually in Linn and Johnson counties. Kids First is seeking a full-time attorney who is passionate about providing quality legal representation to children in Polk County.
Kids First is one of the only law centers in the United States with a sole focus on providing legal advocacy for children in family law cases. Kids First follows best practices standards adopted by the ABA and its attorneys are enthusiastic about being part of an innovative model of advocacy.
Position Summary: The first attorneys to launch Kids First Law Center’s satellite office in Polk County will establish the reputation and course of the Des Moines office. Their main responsibility is to provide legal representation for children in high-conflict family law cases. The Des Moines team will also assume primary responsibility for the fundraising and administration of the local office. The team will include a part-time office manager and a volunteer advisory board, but will also have support from the Cedar Rapids office.
Reports to: Executive Director, Jenny Schulz, in the Cedar Rapids office.
Case Responsibilities as Child’s Attorney:
Meet regularly with clients
Consult & collaborate with the child’s teacher, counselor and other professionals
Coach parents to improve communication and conflict-resolution skills
Acquire knowledge of community services and connect family members to needed resources
Develop and implement creative problem-solving and non-litigation strategies to lessen conflict in families
Initiate and participate in alternative dispute resolution practices
Draft pleadings and advocate the child’s position in court proceedings
Identify potential funding sources and write grant proposals
Engage in public speaking opportunities
Network with the community, potential donors, and attorneys
Work collaboratively with a local volunteer advisory board
Qualifications: Kids First attorneys build a rapport with children and meet with them regularly, are comfortable interviewing children about sometimes difficult topics, and understand and advocate the child’s position. Attorneys should have excellent oral and written communication skills. They must be able to work constructively in high-conflict situations and help parents who reach an impasse by reframing conflict and focusing on resolution. Working at Kids First also means being a team player in one organization housed in two offices. Because the first attorneys in Des Moines will be the “face of Kids First,” candidates should have exemplary moral character. Ideal qualifications include a demonstrated interest in child advocacy or family law and public interest work. Applicants must be licensed to practice law in Iowa. Family law and litigation experience are preferred.
Application Process: Applicants should send a cover letter, resume, references, and law school transcript (if in practice less than 5 years) to:
Kids First Law Center is a unique nonprofit children’s law center based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Kids First’s mission is to give children a voice in divorce and custody conflicts by providing focused legal representation and services for kids. Kids First’s staff of eight (including four attorneys and a therapist) serve over 800 children annually. Kids First attorneys provide holistic legal represent...ation for children in high-conflict family law cases. Child advocates reduce the conflict kids are exposed to, strengthen family relationships, connect families to needed services, and make children's voices heard. The court appoints Kids First when parental conflict threatens a child's well-being. Attorneys remain involved with each child until the case is concluded, often a year or longer. During that time, the Kids First attorneys meet regularly with child clients, consult with teachers, link families to community resources, collaborate with other professionals such as counselors, facilitate dispute resolution by parents, work to keep children out of the conflict, and advocate the child’s position.