Volunteer Bilingual (English/Spanish) Summer Advocate, Saint Paul, Minnesota or elsewhere in southern Minnesota

 

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. (SMRLS) is seeking a Volunteer Bilingual (English/Spanish) Summer Advocate to assist its Agricultural Worker Project (AWP). 

SMRLS provides free, high-quality legal help in critical civil matters to low-income people in southern Minnesota, as well as to eligible agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. For more than 100 years, SMRLS has helped individuals and families secure and protect their basic needs, maintaining freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness, and abuse.  SMRLS has an experienced, dynamic staff of 60 attorneys and 45 additional staff and values, welcomes, and promotes diversity in all aspects of its work. 

AWP provides free civil legal services to agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota and focuses its work on improving their working and living conditions through legal representation and education.  It handles cases related to wage theft, workplace health and safety violations, inadequate employer-provided housing, and employment discrimination and retaliation, among other legal matters that specifically impact agricultural workers.  Additionally, AWP informs agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota regarding their legal rights through extensive outreach and presentations to agricultural worker communities.

AWP’s summer advocates play a vital role in increasing the program’s outreach capacity during its busiest season.  Summer advocates have the opportunity to learn firsthand about, and to contribute to the effective resolution of, the legal problems of agricultural workers under the supervision and guidance of AWP’s dedicated attorneys and paralegals.

Responsibilities

  • Perform outreach, mainly in the evenings, to agricultural workers in Minnesota with other AWP advocates in order to provide information regarding legal rights and AWP’s services and to conduct intake interviews
  • Draft reports related to outreach
  • Answer/return phone calls, conduct intake interviews by phone, and provide referrals as necessary
  • Conduct legal research and draft memos, if a law student
  • Draft letters in an effort to resolve legal disputes, if a law student
  • Other duties as based on interest, education, and skill set

 Qualifications

  • Fluent in spoken and written English and Spanish
  • Demonstrated interest in serving the needs of low-income communities, preferably agricultural workers specifically
  • Comfort working with individuals from varying economic, cultural, educational, etc. backgrounds
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Ability to remain calm and act professionally under pressure
  • Computer proficiency
  • Students who have completed their first year of law school are preferred but those not in law school are also encouraged to apply
  • Possession of a current driver’s license and vehicle is preferred but not required

Position Open

Immediately

Compensation

This is currently a volunteer position; however, SMRLS has applied for a grant to compensate the position and it will be funded if the grant is awarded.  Outreach-related travel expenses will be reimbursed regardless of the outcome of the grant application.  

Time commitment

Flexible although 15-20 hours/week is preferred.  Willingness to conduct outreach approximately 1 – 2 evenings per week is required.

 SMRLS is committed to diversity in the work place.  Women, minorities, and

 persons with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.

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