Founded in 1990, NYLAG is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. Our services include comprehensive, free civil legal services, financial empowerment, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community partnerships. NYLAG exists because wealth should not determine who has access to justice. We aim to disrupt systemic racism by serving individuals and families whose legal and financial crises are often rooted in racial inequality. NYLAG goes to where the need is, providing services in more than 150 community sites (e.g. courts, hospitals, libraries) and on our Mobile Legal Help Center. We can provide many services virtually, based on an individual client’s preference. NYLAG’s staff of 350 impacted the lives of nearly 113,000 people last year.
NYLAG is seeking a full-time project director for its Legal Clinic for Pro Se Litigants in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY). This Clinic provides limited-scope, free, individual legal assistance to pro se litigants in federal court on a range of subject areas. The most common subject areas that the Clinic addresses include law enforcement misconduct, challenges to prison conditions, employment discrimination, intellectual property, social security appeals, and mortgage foreclosure.
Direct legal assistance provided by the clinic to an individual client could include support with any aspect of a case, from initial assessment of jurisdiction/forum and complaint-drafting through discovery, motion practice (including summary judgment), settlement, meditation, and pretrial conferences, hearings, and other appearances.
The project director must be a skilled leader and manager in overseeing the clinic team, consisting of attorneys, paralegals, and over 20 long-term and short-term volunteers and student interns. The position is ideal for someone interested in supporting the growth of attorneys, fostering individuals’ strengths, and creating a team of complimentary skill sets to further the Clinic’s goals. The Clinic’s primary office is at 40 Foley Square in Manhattan.
Duties and Responsibilities
Duties and Responsibilities include the following:
- Leading the planning, development and implementation of the Clinic’s new and current initiatives, including, for example, its relatively new practice of representing individuals who are incarcerated.
- Overseeing daily operations of the Clinic, including intake procedures, case evaluation, and scope of representation
- Supervising the clinic team which consists of NYLAG attorneys and paralegals, volunteers, and law students.
- Providing direct legal assistance to litigants.
- Working closely with Court staff to ensure that the Clinic’s goals are being met and pro se litigants are being best-served.
- Collaborate closely with NYLAG’s Pro Bono & Volunteer Unit to recruit pro bono counsel and volunteers. Continue to build and elevate the profile and visibility of the clinic and maintain relationships with law firm partners.
- Support the professional growth of clinic staff through trainings and other opportunities.
- Tracking cases and case data for grant reporting and program improvement purposes.
- Providing updates on clinic expenditures and operations to the Court, including but not limited to in connection with periodic budget requests.
- Liaising with other federal pro se civil litigation clinics and participating in meetings, trainings, and coalitions with stakeholders as needed
- Keeping apprised of developments in the law relevant to federal civil pro se litigants.
- Collaborate with NYLAG colleagues in development and finance to manage grants and funding for the Clinic project and to serve as an internal resource.
Applicants are encouraged to apply even if they do not meet all of the following qualifications:
- Member in good standing of the New York Bar, required.
- At least eight years’ experience practicing law, or comparable experience, required.
- Demonstrated commitment to and interest in improving access to the courts and judicial system for people who do not have a lawyer.
- Demonstrated commitment to advancing equity, internally (as a team leader) and externally (in the courts and on behalf of clients).
- Demonstrated program/project management skills, including efficiently leveraging resources to have the most impact for individuals and the program as a whole.
- Creative, proactive problem-solving skills and ability to pivot and reprioritize based on immediate need.
- Experience supervising lawyers, paralegals, or other staff in legal work.
- A high-level of comfort with and knowledge of federal court practice, preferably as a result of substantial federal court experience.
- Experience practicing law across a range of subject matter areas, particularly involving employment, civil rights or criminal matters.
- Excellent people and client counseling skills, preferably with experience in a high-volume legal services context.
- Demonstrated patience, empathy, persistence, and openness in delivering client services.
- Excellent communication skills.
- Highly organized and ability to juggle multiple priorities.
NYLAG’s Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
NYLAG is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, veterans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, and those with lived experiences in the communities we serve are strongly encouraged to apply.
Salary Range: The salary range for this position is $104,503 - $122,468.
Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, 401k, life insurance, long term disability, commuter benefits, flexible spending accounts (FSA) for Medical and Dependent care.
Application Instructions: Please save resume and cover letter on one pdf.
Covid Vaccination Policy:Please note, to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees and clients, NYLAG requires all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a medical or religious exemption is approved.
NYLAG is committed to a hybrid work policy for staff whose work does not require their full-time presence in the office. NYLAG’s current policy is that most staff are required to work in NYLAG’s offices or do other in-person work at least two days each week. This policy is subject to change.