Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY®) is a not-for-profit law firm that provides free civil legal services to low-income clients in a 14 county area of Western New York, the Finger Lakes, and the Southern Tier. LawNY® has seven fully staffed field offices in Bath, Elmira, Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown, Olean and Rochester, satellite offices in Lakeville and Lyons, and a business office in Geneva.
LawNY® has been providing high quality legal representation for 54 years, and today has over 180 employees, including attorneys, paralegals, and a legal support team who work closely across areas of specialization to bring a holistic approach to addressing legal issues affecting our clients and community.
LawNY® is committed to equitable inclusion across race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, sex, religion, economic circumstances, ethnicity, national origin, and culture. We are increasingly committed to creating a law firm where race equity, diversity and cultural competency are integral components of our work, from client advocacy to internal operations.
ABOUT THE POSITION
The Geneva office of LawNY® seeks to fill immediate openings for two full time Staff Attorneys in the Housing Unit to take cases in matters of landlord-tenant, homelessness prevention, and government benefits. We encourage applicants with a wide range of substantive legal experience to apply. We expect those who fill this position will grow and adapt their practice to the needs of the community and the organization. The candidate must have the caring, patience, and emotional maturity to help low-income people overcome crisis situations.
Staff Attorneys at LawNY® provide comprehensive legal services to eligible clients and the ideal candidate should have a strong understanding of how civil legal issues affecting low-income communities intersect with social and economic justice. Staff Attorneys play a critical role in realizing LawNY®’s vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Every Staff Attorney is expected to actively engage in learning and becoming increasingly skilled in practice that supports this vision.
The Geneva office serves Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties which are located in the northern part of the Finger Lakes region of Western New York, an area noted for its beautiful lakes, scenery, and quality agriculture. Geneva is home to Hobart and William Smith Colleges and is seated on the northern shore of Seneca Lake, ideal for swimming, fishing, and boating. Notable nearby museums include the Sonnenberg Gardens, National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Peter Whitmer Log Home.
Geneva has a slightly lower than average cost of living with a median home price of $176,000 and a number of 1 bedroom apartments available for around $900/month.
Salary is dependent on experience and based on a pay scale with annual increments. The beginning salary for a Staff Attorney is $58,000 and the salary for a Staff Attorney with five years of experience is $64,000. LawNY® staff may also qualify for public interest law school loan forgiveness programs.
LawNY® provides an excellent package of fringe benefits including 94% employer paid health insurance with significant HSA contributions, 100% employer paid dental and disability insurance, vision coverage, and $50,000 automatic life insurance as well as generous leave provisions including, in the first year of employment, 20 days of vacation plus 13.5 holidays and two floating holidays. Employees also receive 12 sick days and five personal days per year. New parents receive 20 days of paid new parent leave.
LawNY® is committed to providing a work-life balance to their employees. We encourage and support a 35 hour work week to ensure our employees have this balance. We also offer a remote work policy where new staff are able to work from home up to 3 days per week during their 6 month probationary period with manager approval, as their case load permits. This increases to 5 days per week once successfully finished with a probationary period with manager approval, as their case load permits.
QUALIFICATIONS These are the basic requirements for the position.
- Admitted to practice and in good standing in New York State, eligible for admission without examination, or willing to take the next available Bar examination.
- Three (3) or more years of previous experience in legal services.
- Demonstrated commitment of service to low-income people.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills.
RESPONSIBILITIES These are the most significant responsibilities and primary functions of the position.
- Maintain a full-time caseload representing eligible clients served by our Housing Unit.
- Develop and maintain specialized knowledge in housing matters, particularly: landlord-tenant, homelessness prevention, and government benefits.
- Provides legal services to low income clients and client groups regarding these matters including advice, negotiation, litigation and administrative advocacy.
- Interacts respectfully with clients from a wide range of backgrounds, with an awareness of the importance of cultural competence and humility.
- Collaborates with other LawNY® advocates, human services providers, non-profit organizations and community groups as well as the courts, administrative tribunals and the private bar to address legal problems within our community, including providing community legal education.
- Contributes to a safe and healthy work environment for fellow employees.
- Cooperates in all grant reporting requirements, program reporting, timekeeping, file maintenance, case closing and compliance review.
- Maintains a high level of professional competence through attendance of training sessions, seminars and conferences and individual efforts to keep abreast of current developments in the area of poverty law and the application of an equity lens to client service.
ADDITIONAL TRAITS AND SKILLS These are the traits, attributes, attitudes, and skills that speak to the candidate’s ability to succeed in the position. While no one candidate will possess all of the qualities listed, the ideal candidate will have many of these qualities. LawNY® encourages each candidate to think about their own personal knowledge, skills, and experience, as well as professional skills and experience in relation to this list.
- Litigation and advocacy experience in state and/or federal court and/or administrative forums within at least one other area of poverty law, especially landlord-tenant, foreclosure, bankruptcy, homelessness prevention, fair housing, and government benefits.
- Experience incorporating an anti-racist and anti-oppressive lens into legal practice.
- An understanding of the concepts of structural and institutional racism and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities.
- Strong interpersonal skills, including a commitment to providing trauma-informed services.
- Lived experience with our client communities.
- True fluency in a language other than English that is spoken by our clients.
- Ability to work under deadlines and manage multiple tasks.
Submit your cover letter, resume, and three references through LawNY®’s BambooHR platform, found here and at www.lawny.org/Employment. When outlining work experience on a resume, candidates are requested to label each position as full-time or part-time and describe unpaid volunteer/internships as such.
To promote social justice and achieve our mission, LawNY® is committed to maintaining a diverse staff and creating an inclusive and respectful workplace. In your cover letter, please also include an explanation of how you think that your lived and/or professional experience or background has prepared you to contribute to support a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion at LawNY®.
Questions or Accommodations? Contact Taylor Howarth at email@example.com
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY®) is an equal opportunity employer. LawNY® strongly encourages applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, and persons from other underrepresented groups whose background may contribute to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe. LawNY® welcomes applications regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other consideration protected by law.
This position is considered Exempt pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.