Paralegal - SW Region

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., (SMRLS) is seeking to fill a fulltime paralegal position in its Southwest Region with offices in Mankato and Worthington. Preferably, this position will be based in the Mankato office, but SMRLS will consider applicants preferring to be based in the Worthington office. The paralegal will primarily provide support to attorneys on Family Law cases, under the supervision of an attorney.

The SMRLS Southwest Region assists low income persons in the 17 counties of southern Minnesota west of Interstate 35 extending to the South Dakota border. There are currently 12 attorney positions in the two offices, including two attorneys working on its Intake Hotline, along with 7 paralegal, clerical and supporting staff.

SMRLS is a non-profit law firm which receives federal, state, local, public, and private funding to provide free legal help to low income and elderly people who reside in 33 counties of southern Minnesota. As Minnesota’s oldest legal aid program (founded in 1909), SMRLS has established a tradition of partnership with the private bar, a bi-partisan Legislature, the Minnesota Supreme Court and other Minnesota Legal Services Coalition programs in providing access to justice. SMRLS has an experienced, dynamic staff of 50+ attorneys, 39 additional staff and 600 volunteer attorneys to provide legal assistance to over 200,000 eligible persons.

SMRLS is a client-centered organization which is committed to its Mission of providing a full range of high quality legal services, in a respectful manner which enable clients to: enforce their legal rights; maintain freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness and abuse; and empower persons and ensure equal opportunity, thus, helping persons to help themselves and become economically self-reliant, to the extent their individual abilities and circumstances permit. SMRLS values, welcomes and promotes diversity in all aspects of its work. SMRLS has adopted Practice Standards, Guiding Principles and a Racial Justice Policy to accomplish its Mission.

Mankato is located on the Minnesota River, about 90 miles southwest of the Twin Cities and has a state university. It is the regional hub for an estimated 260,000 persons in southern Minnesota. Worthington is located on Interstate 90 in the southwest corner of the state, approximately 100 miles southwest of Mankato. The Worthington community of approximately 13,000 persons is located on Lake Okabena and is the site of a community college.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The paralegal will provide support to the regional attorneys and other staff providing legal assistance to eligible clients residing in SMRLS Southwest Region area. The position will primarily handle Family Law matters, but may also help in other areas of law. Duties include the drafting of pleadings; the preparation of affidavits; drafting and responding to discovery; using spreadsheets and other applications for child support, spousal maintenance, and property and debt allocations; client and witness interviewing and preparation; assisting with trial preparation, including the preparation of exhibits and trial notebooks; and other duties.

Assignments may change over time based upon client and firm needs. The paralegal must be willing to fully comply with SMRLS’ written practice standards, guiding principles, federal regulations, and other SMRLS Board policies in furtherance of SMRLS’ Mission. Some community education, outreach and intake responsibilities are also expected. Some local travel is required. SMRLS’ paralegals are covered by a Collective Bargaining Agreement and the successful candidate will be required to join the Union.

QUALIFICATIONS: Demonstrated ability to work effectively with victims of domestic violence and persons from different cultural backgrounds is essential. Good communication skills; ability to work constructively with others in a team work setting; good judgment; ability to learn quickly and to work hard, independently, efficiently, and under pressure are required. Spanish or Somali language skills preferred, as well as other non-English languages commonly spoken in the client community. Word and Excel proficiency strongly preferred. Prior Family Law experience or other work in a legal setting, non-academic experience working in low income communities, or other activities that demonstrate an interest in working with low income clients, are preferred and will be given great weight. An AA degree/paralegal certification is preferred. Computer competence required.

SALARY: The salary is $31,662 + DOE (additional $3,000 language bonus, if applicable). Good medical and other fringe benefits provided.

STARTING DATE: Open until filled.
Apply online at https://www.smrls.org/about-us/job-opportunities/ and submit resume, cover letter, three references and a writing sample. Or apply by email to:

Meghan Maes, Lead Attorney
SMRLS
12 Civic Center Plaza, Ste 3000
Mankato, MN 56001
Meghan.maes@smrls.com

SMRLS IS COMMITTED TO DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE. WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES ARE ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.

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