Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. (LAW) is seeking one (1) full-time staff attorney in the Intake and Brief Services Unit. This attorney position supports the entire firm. The position may be based in any of our six existing Legal Action offices or may work remotely from home. (Telecommunications equipment will be provided for remote work.) Applicants should state whether they prefer to work remotely from their home, from a LAW office, or a hybrid arrangement with some time both at home and in the office. In all situations, the applicant must reside within LAW’s service area.
The Staff Attorney – Intake and Brief Services Unit will serve as a first point of contact for people who seek legal services from LAW. The attorney will respond to calls that come to our firmwide intake line and will conduct intakes for certain legal problems that have been identified as a priority by Legal Action of Wisconsin. The attorney will also respond to requests for services that are submitted online. In addition to conducting and routing intakes to advocates across the firm, the attorney will provide information, referral, advice and brief service on certain case types.
LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN
We are a large and vibrant non-profit law firm funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Victim of Crime Act funding, the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund, and many other sources. Each year, we provide free legal aid to about 11,000 – 14,000 low-income persons in Wisconsin’s southern 39 counties with offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, and La Crosse. In addition, the firm operates a statewide farmworker project and a statewide legal aid to human trafficking victims project. Most of our work is in the areas of housing, public benefits, removing barriers to employment, consumer, family law, and victim rights. Legal Action attorneys specialize in specific areas of law, though they may be called upon to work in multiple areas. They provide high-quality and aggressive representation, maintain a direct service caseload of individual clients, and contribute to the firm’s work to engage in law reform litigation and other impact work.
Legal Action believes that equal justice under law can only be achieved through the collaboration of a diverse staff. We strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and people with life experiences or educational backgrounds that add to the firm’s diversity and our capacity to provide high-quality legal aid.
Suitable training will be provided, but the attorney is expected to demonstrate a sense of reasoning and resources that are necessary to perform these duties and responsibilities:
• Assist applicants in applying for legal services from LAW. Requests for services will be received over the phone and online.
• Screen applicants for potential conflicts of interest.
• Apply LAW’s grant eligibility criteria to the applicant and determine financial eligibility.
• Apply LAW’s case acceptance criteria to route applications to the appropriate practice groups to review for extended representation.
• Gather relevant case documents as needed, including by text, email, screen sharing.
• Utilize LAW’s case management system and all its required components.
• Provide information, referral, advice and/or brief service to clients whose applications are not accepted for review for extended representation.
• Close cases when appropriate.
• Contribute to the development of commonly used forms and informational handouts to assist applicants.
• Provide support and supervision to Paralegal - Intake and Brief Services Unit staff.
• All Legal Action staff attorneys are responsible for providing high-quality and aggressive legal services, including representation of clients in individual service cases and to undertake impact work (that which has impact on groups of low-income persons or the systems that have the most effect on the low-income community), and for performing all duties associated with such legal services and representation as outlined in the firm’s attorney performance standards.
• Stay current with new developments in the areas of law that pertain to the low-income community.
• Share responsibility for the development and maintenance of good working relationships with community groups and with state and local bar associations and others.
• Provide training and other assistance to volunteers who participate in Legal Action's Volunteer Lawyer Project.
• Serve on at least one of our Priority Committees: Housing; Employment; Consumer; Public Benefits; and Family law. These priority committees are comprised of Legal Action attorneys practicing in those areas of law. They meet quarterly to discuss trends in the law and practicing in that area of law and to strategize the firm's work.
• Participate in all firmwide and unit wide staff meetings and trainings. Some meetings and trainings will be held in-person and some will be held remotely. When meetings, trainings, and other events are held in-person, the attorney must attend in-person rather than remotely.
• Other duties as assigned.
• Juris Doctorate Degree
• Admission to the Wisconsin Bar or arrangement to take the Bar exam is required upon hire. (Legal Action provides paid study time for Bar Exam preparation.)
• Legal Action requires a personal commitment to civil legal aid and to providing quality and aggressive representation to low-income people.
• Cultural competence and respect for differences in race, ethnicity, age, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, religion, ability, and socio-economic circumstances.
• Proven ability to communicate both orally and in writing in a clear, concise, and effective manner.
• Experience or willingness to learn to work with empathy with vulnerable persons, individuals who are experiencing poverty, and persons experiencing trauma.
• Ability to work harmoniously and cooperatively with clients, colleagues, and others.
• Willingness to receive direction and supervision and to implement feedback.
• Self-motivation, diligence, and ability to prioritize and organize resources while maintaining quality and attention to detail.
• Ability to work with a database (electronic case management system) and Office 365 and other Microsoft products.
• Ideal candidate will have a minimum of 1 to 5 years of legal experience.
• Prior experience in civil legal aid or other relevant experience is preferred.
• Attorney must be knowledgeable in state and federal law and procedure.
• Experience and knowledge of the court systems in Legal Action’s service area is preferred.
• While academic training and performance and the nature and extent of prior legal experience are considered, we will also consider the applicant's knowledge and understanding of the legal problems and needs of low-income persons and commitment to providing civil legal aid, prior legal work in the client community or in other programs to aid the poor, ability to communicate with persons in the client community who speak a language other than English as their principal language (e.g., Spanish or Hmong), and cultural affinity with the client community.
• Ability to travel occasionally throughout Legal Action’s service area and out of staff is required.
• If working at home, high speed Internet access is required.
The salary for this position is determined by the attorney candidate’s number of years of relevant experience in practicing law, as set forth in Legal Action’s 2021 – 2022 salary administration plan. As one example, a candidate with the required five years of relevant legal practice experience, would earn a salary of $52,347/year. In addition, our 2021 – 2022 salary administration plan includes additional pay for those employees who are fluent in Spanish or Hmong and utilize their language skills in performing their work. Our 2021 – 2022 salary administration plan also includes a salary increase to take effect on June 1, 2022 for all unrepresented attorneys. On June 1, 2022, for example, a Tier 1 Attorney with five years of required experience would earn a base salary of $57,500/year.
Legal Action provides a generous fringe benefits package, including employer-paid health and dental insurance for employees and eligible dependents. Some employees are required to contribute to the health insurance premium for their spouse, if the spouse has group health insurance provided by their employer. Legal Action also provides life and long-term disability insurance, a profit-sharing retirement plan, salary deferral options for retirement planning, low-cost employee-paid vision coverage, three weeks of vacation per year, four days of personal leave, a generous sick leave benefit, and four weeks of paid parental leave for eligible employees.
This position is subject to a probationary period of up to one year.
This position is supervised by the Client Screening and Intake Manager. As with any Legal Action position, there is no guaranteed period of employment and employment is at will, subject to termination at any time.
This position may be represented for collective bargaining by ULW. If the staff attorney works from LAW’s Madison office or if the staff attorney works at home and their home is in the Madison office service area, this position is governed by the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement between LAW and ULW. Legal Action of Wisconsin’s personnel policies will govern where no provision is covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
If the attorney works from LAW’s Green Bay, La Crosse, Milwaukee, Oshkosh, and Racine offices, or if the attorney works from home and their home is located in the service area of one of these four LAW offices, the position is governed by LAW’s personnel policies. All personnel policies and salaries and benefits are subject to change by Legal Action’s Board of Directors.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
This position involves sedentary work, sitting at a desk on a computer for an extended period. Exerting up to 10 pounds of force on a regular basis to lift, carry, push or otherwise move objects. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand, sit, talk, hear and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and/or laptop keyboard and use a telephone. Specific vision abilities required for this job include close vision requirements due to computer work. Drives a motor vehicle while seated for extended periods of time daily. Occasional reaching, bending, kneeling and stooping involved to retrieve various items and materials. This position works in an environmentally-controlled office environment with moderate noise from phones, printers and light office traffic in the Milwaukee Office.
HOW TO APPLY:
Applicants must submit the following application materials via Legal Action of Wisconsin’s online applicant portal:
• Cover letter
• Legal writing sample
• Names and contact information for three professional references
• Law school transcript (only required for external applicants who graduated 2018 or later)
Jenelle Dame, the Client Screening and Intake Manager, is the hiring manager for this position and will lead a panel of Legal Action staff to interview applicants remotely.
DEADLINE FOR APPLICATIONS:
These positions will be open until filled. We will review applicants on a rolling basis. To assure early consideration, please submit application materials by January 31, 2022.
Effective December 11, 2021, Legal Action requires all employees to have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations and provide proof of vaccination or have submitted a completed religious or medical exemption and accommodation request.
Any individual offered a position with Legal Action must comply with firm’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate policy. New hires will be required to provide proof of completion of the COVID-19 vaccination(s) and booster, within 28 days of their first day of employment. Legal Action will grant religious or medical exemptions to the COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Religious or medical exemption and accommodation request must be submitted and approved within 28 days of the new hires’ first day of employment.
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer