Staff Attorney, Benefits and Seniors

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., (SMRLS) is seeking to fill a Staff Attorney position in the Winona Office of its Southeast Region to handle primarily Government Benefits and Seniors Law matters. The SMRLS Southeastern Region, with offices in Albert Lea, Winona, and Rochester, has a staff of 8 attorneys and 12 paralegal, clerical and other staff. Winona is the county seat of Winona County, is on the Mississippi River, is home to two four-year colleges, Minnesota State College Southeast, and numerous arts and music festivals. Winona is located about 80 miles southeast of the Twin Cities.

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, including the St. Paul metropolitan area.  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 55 attorneys and 45 additional staff.  Hundreds of volunteer attorneys help staff provide legal assistance to approximately 10,000 eligible persons each year. 

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 has adopted Practice Standards and Guiding Principles to accomplish its Mission and has established case priorities which govern the types of cases which will be accepted for representation. SMRLS values, welcomes and promotes diversity in all aspects of its work.  SMRLS serves clients from a wide range of backgrounds.  SMRLS has adopted a Racial Justice policy to guide the firm’s work towards racial equality.

RESPONSIBILITIES

 

The attorney will provide legal assistance to clients in administrative proceedings before government agencies. Occasionally administrative agency decisions are appealed to the state district court or to the federal court. The primary area of case work will be Social Security Disability - SSI. Hearings are held in Minneapolis. Other cases will be Unemployment Insurance, Medical Assistance, MFIP and Food Stamps. Be able to work side by side with both highly experienced paralegals and beginning advocates. Be willing to share with other staff and draw from the experience of other experienced staff. Work closely with funding agencies to ensure compliance with funding requirements. The attorney must accept supervision and must be willing to maintain a caseload in compliance with SMRLS’ written practice standards and comply with SMRLS’ policies, practices, and guiding principles in furtherance of SMRLS’ mission. Community education, outreach, intake responsibilities, and active bar participation are also required activities.

QUALIFICATIONS

Must be licensed to practice law in Minnesota or be a candidate for Bar admission. Non-academic experience working in low income communities, or other activities that demonstrate an interest in working with low income clients, will be given great weight.  Demonstrated ability to work effectively with victims of domestic abuse and persons from different cultural backgrounds is essential. Good communication skills; ability to work constructively with others in a team work setting; good judgment; strong organizational capability: ability to learn quickly and to work hard, independently, and under pressure; and ability to handle contested hearings are all required. Fluency in a second language, particularly Spanish or Somali, will be beneficial but is not required.  Basic computer competence required.

SALARY

The salary is $46,956+ DOE.  Very good medical benefits provided.

STARTING DATE

Open until filled.

 SMRLS Is Committed To Diversity In The Workplace.  Women, Minorities, And Persons With Disabilities Are Especially Encouraged To Apply.

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