Staff Attorney for Economic Justice Unit
Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc., (SMRLS) is seeking to fill a Staff Attorney position in its St. Paul office in its Economic Justice Unit.
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 bipartisan Legislature, the Minnesota Supreme Court and other Minnesota Legal Services Coalition programs in providing access to justice. SMRLS has an experienced, dynamic staff of 60 attorneys and 45 additional staff. Hundreds of volunteer attorneys help staff provide legal assistance to over 10,000 eligible people 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 enables clients to: enforce their legal rights; maintain freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness and abuse; and empower them and ensure equal opportunities so that they can help themselves and become economically self-reliant, to the extent their individual abilities and circumstances permit. SMRLS has adopted practice standards, guiding principles, and racial justice policies to accomplish its mission.
The attorney will provide legal advice and representation to eligible clients with various types of legal problems compromising financial stability. The Economic Justice unit at SMRLS represents clients with terminations, denials, and overpayments of government benefits, as well as disqualifications from and errors in calculating benefits. Typical cases involve family or non-family cash assistance, food support, health care benefits, unemployment benefits, childcare assistance, and disability benefits. The unit also represents clients seeking criminal expungements when criminal histories are detrimentally affecting housing or employment opportunities. Additionally, Economic Justice team members handle disqualification cases affecting employment, public utility terminations, and issues involving emergency shelter.
The attorney will investigate facts, conduct legal research and writing, prepare clients for hearings, and represent clients in administrative hearings. The attorney may appear in state or federal district court or state appellate courts. Some local travel to courts, hearing offices, and other SMRLS offices will be required. The attorney will be a member of the Economic Justice team at SMRLS and will work and consult regularly with other unit members.
Assignments may change over time based on client and firm needs. The attorney must be willing to maintain a caseload in compliance with SMRLS’ written practice standards and to comply with SMRLS’ policies, practices, and guiding principles in furtherance of SMRLS’ mission. Community education, outreach, and active bar participation are also required.
QUALIFICATIONS: Must be licensed to practice law in Minnesota or be a candidate for Bar admission. Demonstrated ability to work effectively with low-income clients, victims of domestic violence, people for whom English is not a first language, and people of different cultural and ethnic backgrounds is essential. Excellent communication skills, ability to work positively and constructively with others in a teamwork setting, good judgment, and the ability to work hard, independently, efficiently, and under pressure are necessary. Applicants must be flexible and willing to take on additional duties as assigned by SMRLS. Fluency in a second language is beneficial but not required. Basic computer competence is necessary.
SALARY: The salary is $50,008+ DOE, pursuant to scale. Good medical and dental benefits provided.
STARTING DATE: As soon as possible after the position is filled.
TO APPLY: Email or mail a cover letter, resume and three references to:
55 East 5th St, Ste 800
St Paul MN 55101
Position is open until filled.
SMRLS IS COMMITTED TO DIVERSITY IN THE WORKPLACE. WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES ARE ESPECIALLY ENCOURAGED TO APPLY.