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. During COVID-19, most of our services are virtual to keep our community safe. NYLAG’s staff of 350 impacted the lives of nearly 113,000 people last year.
NYLAG’s Public Benefits Unit (PBU) has an immediate opening for a Paralegal Case Handler to work on cases for people experiencing financial insecurity and homelessness.
The PBU Public Assistance and SNAP Practice and Shelter Advocacy Initiative represents clients seeking to obtain or maintain benefits and/or shelter from the NYC Department of Social Services, including the Human Resources Administration and the Department of Homeless Services. As Paralegal Case Handler, the primary role is handling cases in which impoverished New Yorkers have been inappropriately denied access to homeless shelters and/or subsistence government benefits, such as public assistance and SNAP benefits. Specific responsibilities include advocating with government agencies to secure benefits and services, representing clients at administrative hearings, and obtaining relief for individual clients through NYLAG’s public benefits class action cases. Other responsibilities include working on administrative matters and cases within PBU priority areas, and serving as the occasional PBU intake specialist when the primary intake specialist is out.
Applicants must be motivated to become familiar with the basics of NYLAG’s practice areas as well as the network of New York City legal services that help New Yorkers with low incomes. Applicants must be prepared to handle a high volume of clients and to interact with a diverse client population in a sensitive and professional manner. Applicants must have excellent client interview skills to assess needs and match clients with appropriate resources within and outside of NYLAG. Applicants should demonstrate a strong commitment to public service and should have excellent written and analytic abilities. The successful candidate will work closely with NYLAG’s experienced attorneys and case handlers and will receive both on-the-job and more formal training. Candidates with fluency in Spanish will be prioritized.
Duties and Responsibilities
This paralegal’s primary responsibilities include:
- Performing intake of individual clients lacking access to critical benefits and shelter
- Maintaining regular communication with community partners in issues regarding public benefits and shelter
- Returning client calls, conducting telephone intake and making referrals, when necessary
- Researching and analyzing regulations, administrative directives and previous Fair Hearing decisions in order to independently handle and advocate for low-income clients
- Representing clients that have been inappropriately denied shelter, Public Assistance, and SNAP benefits at administrative Fair Hearings
- Communicating with the Human Resource Administration and Department of Homeless Services to advocate for clients
- Obtaining relief for individual clients in NYLAG’s class action cases
- Tracking, drafting and generating reports for grant management, as needed
- Interacting with a diverse client population in sensitive and professional manner
- Manage, transcribe and distribute intake calls from clients seeking assistance from NYLAG’s Public Benefits Unit, as well as directing callers with miscellaneous legal issues
- Maintain updated intake-tracking spreadsheet, referral sources, databases, and intake guides
- Track, draft and generate reports for grant management, as needed
- Interact with a diverse client population in sensitive and professional manner
- Other duties as assigned.
- Education/Admittance required: BA/BS or 3 years of relevant experience in direct services required.
- Experience preferred: Priority will be given to those who have experience working for or with New York City legal or social services organizations. Priority will be given to applicants who are fluent in Spanish.
- Preferred (or required) degrees or areas of study
To apply, please send both a resume and a cover letter, preferably in a single PDF. Incomplete applications will not be considered. We will ask for a writing sample and references prior to the interview.
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.
☒ Entry Level
NYLAG is a unionized workplace, and salaries are set pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. The current salary range for this position is between $51,289-$53,298.
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.