Attorney Fellowship - Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps (Pittsburgh)

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Job Category: 
Attorney/Paralegal

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Attorney Fellowship
Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps 

About Neighborhood Legal Services Association

The mission of Neighborhood Legal Services Association (NLSA) is to meet the civil legal needs of the poor and vulnerable individuals in our community through effective legal representation and education. NLSA provides an essential service that protects the safety and restores and preserves the dignity of individuals who have nowhere to turn for help.

The Constitution guarantees a right to legal counsel for those charged with a crime. What happens when a citizen faces a civil legal crisis and is lacking funds? What right-to-counsel guarantees does the government provide him or her? The answer is simple:  none. NLSA works to ensure equal justice for everyone. Our support takes many forms. We educate; we give advice; and, if necessary, we provide representation in court. Our clients have reached a point of desperation because at least one of their basic needs of life – safety, shelter, health, food, warmth – is at risk.

NLSA operates a Veterans Justice Project which offers free civil legal services for income-eligible veterans, service members and military families. The goals of NLSA’s Veterans Justice Project are to: 1) Keep veterans in their homes; 2) keep military families together; 3) protect and secure income for veterans, and 4) resolve debt issues. In addition, NLSA coordinates referrals to various pro bono projects which serve veterans.

Position Summary:

NLSA is hosting a one-year fellowship opportunity to provide essential legal services to our nation’s veterans, active military service members, and their families. The selected candidate will be a part of a corps of legal fellows serving in the Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps Veterans Legal Corps Program and will encounter hands-on experience providing direct legal representation to the veteran community in a high-volume, general law practice, while also participating in the Equal Justice Works advocacy training program. The Fellow’s role combines elements of direct legal representation and community outreach and advocacy.

The attorney selected for the Fellowship will be housed at Neighborhood Legal Services Association’s Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Office. Per Equal Justice Works/AmeriCorps guidelines, the selected Fellow’s term of service must begin prior to March 30, 2018 and last for one year.

Fellowship Description:

The Equal Justice Works Veterans Legal Corps (VLC) Fellow will:

  1. Provide high quality direct legal representation to financially eligible veterans and their families. This will involve conducting intake, assembling evidence, conducting interviews, and research.
     
  2. Provide legal services to address the unique needs and challenges faced by veterans, active duty service members, and their families, including issues pertaining to landlord tenant matters, home foreclosures, problems with health and disability benefits, family law matters, consumer and medical debt, drivers’ license reinstatement, and expungement/sealing of criminal records issues.
     
  3. Liaise with community partner agencies, including case management staff at the VA hospitals, VA clinics, and Veterans’ Service Organizations in the Pittsburgh area to create protocols and facilitate referrals.
     
  4. Create/coordinate referrals of veterans to program partners.
     
  5. Conduct community outreach and advocacy activities to identify and address outstanding needs within Pittsburgh’s veterans’ community. Some activities may include:
     
    1. Developing materials to inform multiple audiences of NLSA’s legal services;
       
    2. Deliver “Legal Literacy” presentations at Veteran outreach events on legal topics of broad appeal, and develop educational materials to be shared with NLSA staff;
       
  6. Collaborate with AmeriCorps JD members and law student externs on various projects.

Qualifications

The ideal Fellow will possess a demonstrated commitment to public interest work and a strong desire to assist indigent clients. Further, the ideal candidate will have the following:

  • Excellent writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills;
     
  • Strong oral and negotiation skills, and the ability to work as a team member;
     
  • Prior experience in managing independent projects or assignments;
     
  • Knowledge of veterans’ benefits law and/or experience with veterans and military families; Military service or related-military background, including status as a military dependent are encouraged to apply;
     
  • Diverse economic, social and cultural experiences and a second language are preferred;

Required Qualifications

  • Ability to undergo and pass AmeriCorps-mandated criminal background checks (only convictions for murder and/or presence on sex offender registry are automatic bars to service; other criminal convictions are allowable pursuant to Equal Justice Works review and approval);
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  • Admitted to practice law in Pennsylvania or admitted in another jurisdiction and eligible for admission in Pennsylvania;
     
  • Ability to begin the fellowship no later than March 30, 2018.

Compensation Package

The Fellow will receive an annual living allowance, as well as financial support for housing, student loan repayment, and other permissible reimbursable living expenses. Additionally, Fellows receive an education award, health insurance, and other benefits. Interested applicants should contact NLSA with any follow up questions.

Other Benefits Provided by NLSA:

  • Health and dental insurance provided
  • Position related travel reimbursement and bar dues provided
  • NLSA-sponsored professional development and training assistance

Other Benefits and Professional Opportunities offered by AmeriCorps:

  • Student loan forbearance and interest accrual payment upon successful completion of service
  • Opportunity to attend national trainings focused on leadership, networking, and project development sponsored by Equal Justice Works
  • Childcare assistance (if income-eligible)

TO APPLY: Please send a resume, cover letter, and a list of three (3) references with mailing and/or email addresses and telephone numbers, law school transcript and legal writing sample as soon as possible to:

Phyllis J. Stevens
Assistant Director
Neighborhood Legal Services Association
928 Penn Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
ejw@nlsa.us

NLSA is an equal opportunity employer.  NLSA considers all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religious creed, disability/handicap, ancestry, national origin, age or sex.


January 26, 2018