Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY) has multiple immediate openings for staff attorneys for an expanded eviction prevention program that will be active throughout the LawNY service area. LawNY is a not-for-profit law firm providing civil legal services to low-income clients in a 14-county area of western New York. LawNY’s mission is to increase access to justice through excellent legal representation, advocacy and service. LawNY is committed to equitable inclusion across race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, sex, religion, economic circumstances, ethnicity, national origin and culture.
Recently, LawNY was awarded eviction prevention grants by both the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance. As a result, LawNY is hiring new staff attorneys to provide eviction defense services in all seven of the LawNY offices. LawNY also anticipates opening two additional offices in the coming months.
The staff attorneys will provide direct legal representation primarily in landlord-tenant matters as part of this newly expanded program which aims in part to better reach residents of rural communities that are typically underserved. The program will enable those at-risk of homelessness to maintain their housing by preventing eviction through the provision of legal representation and advocacy.
LawNY’s offices are located throughout the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier region of New York, an area abounding with recreational and cultural activities. The present LawNY offices are located in Bath, Elmira, Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown, Olean and Rochester. Coupled with very reasonable housing costs, the area offers a high quality of life. Staff are offered a hybrid workplace - even some court appearances remain virtual - and flexible schedules within a standard 35-hour work week. LawNY values and promotes a collaborative environment and a healthy work life balance. LawNY strives to transcend the construct of race and be an anti-racist law firm. Staff are encouraged to bring their whole selves to work each day and to celebrate every aspect of who they are.
Responsibilities: These are the most significant responsibilities and primary functions of the position.
- Assistance and legal advocacy related to helping low-income people maintain their housing, housing subsidies and income supports.
- Providing representation in administrative hearing forums and the court system to challenge evictions, public housing and housing subsidy terminations, wrongful public benefit determinations and illegal housing practices.
- Client interviews and investigation.
- Representing clients zealously within the bounds of the Rules of Professional Conduct.
- Data collection and file maintenance in keeping with LawNY guidelines and grant requirements.
- Outreach activities include connecting with and providing client groups with relevant legal information and available resources including LawNY programs.
- Relationship-building with court staff, community groups, and other stakeholders.
The applicant must have the caring, patience, and emotional maturity to help low-income people overcome crisis situations. Due to COVID-19, many LawNY staff are working remotely all or part of the week. LawNY maintains an extensive safe operations plan and seeks to ensure the safety of both our staff and our clients. All staff are still required to fulfill their professional obligations, including direct in-person contact with clients and in-person appearances in court or administrative agencies multiple times a week.
Requirements: Admission or eligibility for admission on motion to the New York State bar. Recent law school graduates who are pending admission to the bar may be eligible to practice pursuant to the LawNY practice order.
Qualifications: These are the traits, attributes, attitudes and skills that speak to the candidate’s ability to succeed in the position. While no one candidate will possess all of these, the ideal candidate will have many of the following qualifications. LawNY encourages each candidate to think about their own personal knowledge, skills and experience, as well professional skills and experience, in relation to the list of qualifications.
- Understands the specific experiences of historically marginalized racial groups in the U.S., particularly Black, Indigenous, and Latinx groups.
- Embraces and actively promotes an inclusive and equitable work environment.
- Able to serve as an advocate for individuals of all ethnicities, genders, ages, and backgrounds.
- Prior experience with low-income and other oppressed communities and clients.
- Strong problem-solving abilities, time management, and organizational skills.
- Ability to work under deadlines and manage multiple tasks.
- Ability to empathize and sensitively respond to people in crisis situations.
- Excellent use of Google Drive/GSuite, Word, and Excel; database programs a plus.
- Proficiency in Spanish is an advantage but is not required.
- Passion for social justice and commitment to the mission of LawNY.
Salary: Salary is dependent on experience and based on a pay scale with annual increments. The salary for a Staff Attorney with five years of legal services experience is $64,000 per year.
Benefits: We provide a superlative package of fringe benefits including:
- 94% employer paid health insurance, with significant HSA contributions to offset high deduction plans
- 100% employer paid dental and disability insurance
- $50,000 automatic life insurance
- Remote Work Policy: New staff are able to work from home up to 3 days per week during their 6 month probationary period with manager approval. This increases to 5 days per week once successfully finished with probationary period with manager approval.
- LawNY is committed to providing a work-life balance to their employees. We encourage and support a 35 hour work week to ensure our employees have this balance.
Leave: We also provide a very generous leave package including, in the first year of employment, four weeks of vacation,12 sick days and 5 personal days. New parents receive 20 days of paid new parent leave.
LawNY staff may qualify for public interest law school loan forgiveness programs.
HOW TO APPLY: To apply, submit your cover letter, resume, and three references through LawNY’s BambooHR platform, click here. In your application, please indicate whether you wish to be considered for a staff attorney position in any LawNY office, or whether you have a preference for one or more locations.
Applications will be reviewed until all of the positions are filled.
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY) is an equal-opportunity employer. LawNY® strongly encourages applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities and persons from other underrepresented groups whose background may contribute to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected and safe. LawNY welcomes applications regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other consideration protected by law.