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Staff Attorney (BASTA)

BASTA Staff Attorney AUSTIN

$61000 - $83000 / year

BASTA (Building and Strengthening Tenant Action) is a project housed in Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) dedicated to helping Austin renters work alongside their neighbors to improve conditions in their homes and communities. We envision a future where the collective action of Austin renters has brought healthy and affordable housing to all. 

 BASTA’s Staff Attorney will be a pivotal member of our team responsible for a wide range of legal activities related to tenants rights, community benefits agreements, and housing issues. The Staff Attorney will work closely with the Project Director, the BASTA Research and Policy Director, BASTA paralegals, and TRLA housing attorneys to support BASTA efforts.  This role requires a dynamic individual with strong legal expertise who locates their legal advocacy in the context of advancing campaigns led by directly-impacted tenants and who sees lawyering as one tactic in the housing justice movement.  The ideal candidate is a creative thinker who is not afraid of the messiness that comes with community lawyering; has the patience and curiosity to tease out client stories and questions to ensure mutual understanding; and likes to roll up their sleeves to develop the mastery necessary to make seemingly complex information accessible. 


  • Provide legal representation to individual tenants in various housing-related matters, including but not limited to eviction defense, habitability issues, community rule issues, and ledger disputes. Such representation includes counsel and advice, negotiation, and litigation; 

  • Conduct client intake interviews, assess legal needs, and develop tailored legal strategies; 

  • Represent tenants associations affirmatively, including negotiating and drafting community benefits agreements;  

  • Oversee BASTA legal intake line and direct paralegal work; 

  • Develop and maintain relationships with TRLA housing attorneys and other public interest attorneys in Austin to build capacity to co-counsel and represent BASTA tenants; 

  • Provide legal guidance and support to BASTA staff and tenants associations to inform and advance campaigns; 

  • Serve as a resource for team members seeking legal expertise; 

  • Work with field staff and Research and Policy Director to develop educational materials and resources about affordable housing tenants’ legal rights and responsibilities; 

  • Conduct interactive know your rights presentations at tenants associations as needed in conjunction with field staff; 

  • Collaborate with the Research and Policy Director on tenant-related policy advocacy;    

  • Develop community benefits agreement template, based on existing materials, and work with Research and Policy Director to familiarize staff and tenants with community benefit agreements; 

  • Create policies to ensure separation of legal team and outreach work to avoid conflicts of interest and litigation pitfalls, optimize flexibility in advocating at properties, and ensure compliance with organizational restrictions; 

  • Support in the development of BASTA’s legal team infrastructure post-spinoff, including referral processes, law firm compliance requirements, and staffing; and 

  • All other duties assigned. 


BASTA has a strong commitment to hiring staff that reflect the tenant communities we support. People of color, immigrants, people with disabilities, LGBTQ+ people and renters with experience living in low-income housing are encouraged to apply.



Required Qualifications  

  • Juris Doctor (JD) and active license to practice law in Texas; 

  • A minimum of 2 years of legal experience, with a focus on tenants rights and housing law preferred; 

  • Experience in community lawyering, legal services or public interest law; 

  • Commitment to social, economic, racial and language justice; 

  • Knowledge of local and state housing laws and regulations; 

  • Strong legal research, writing and advocacy skills; 

  • Excellent communication skills; 

  • Strong interpersonal and consensus-building skills and the ability to work effectively with a wide range of people, including team members, clients, opposing counsel, and property managers and owners;  

  • Ability to problem solve and think strategically; 

  • Ability to effectively multi-task, work well with others under pressure, and creatively adapt as needed; 

  • Strong organizational skills; 

  • Ability to work independently and as part of a team; 

  • Ability to work occasional evenings and weekends; and 

  • Vehicle and driver’s license. 

Preferred Qualifications:  

  • Proficiency in additional languages often spoken or used by tenants in Austin (ie., Spanish, Arabic, Vietnamese, Pashto, Burmese, ASL); 

  • Experience with working in multilingual spaces; 

  • Proficiency with Google Docs, Sheets and Slides or Microsoft equivalents;  

  • Experience designing accessible and engaging print materials with knowledge of Canva a plus; and 

  • Familiarity with LegalServer, Slack, Miro, Hustle, and Toggl. 

To Apply: 


Email a resume and a paragraph or two about why you are interested in the position to with the subject line “BASTA Staff Attorney Application.”  


Submission Deadline: 
June 12, 2024
Organization Information: 
Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA)
301 S. Texas Avenue
Mercedes, TX 78750
United States
Phone: 956-447-4800