Equal Justice Works AmeriCorps VISTA Fellowship- Rochester
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® (LawNY®) is a not-for-profit law firm providing free legal services to eligible clients in civil cases through seven regional offices covering a fourteen county area in Western New York. LawNY® receives funding from the Legal Services Corporation, New York State Office of Court Administration, Interest on Lawyer Account (IOLA) Fund of the State of New York, AmeriCorps, Equal Justice Works and numerous municipalities, foundations and donors. Our workforce includes approximately 145 attorneys, paralegals and support staff.
The VISTA Affordable Housing Preservation Project (VAHPP) Legal Fellow will build the capacity of tenant associations by assisting, informing, educating, and engaging tenants of eligible project-based U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD) assisted properties in New York to preserve affordable housing and increase tenant capacity building regarding their rights, responsibilities, and options for preservation and improvement of their communities.
RESPONSIBILITIES AND DUTIES:
The VAHPP Legal Fellow’s primary responsibilities will be as follows:
• Provide generalized support and legal information to tenants of certain HUD complexes;
• Support tenant association’s in developing formal by-laws and incorporating tenant associations of residents;
• Interview residents and conduct research to properly identify the legal challenges of each relevant building;
• Attend membership meetings and present “Know your Rights and Responsibilities” workshops;
• Support tenant associations in meetings with HUD representatives;
• Draft correspondence to HUD on behalf of tenant associations;
• Document and file administrative complaints with HUD regarding environmental hazards, substandard management, and general quality of life issues;
• Recruit and assist pro bono attorneys to support the project;
• Advise tenant associations regarding the best course of action to build tenant associations and preserve affordable housing;
• Provide litigation support to legal host site staff (can include legal research and writing, client interviews, assistance with administrative hearings, discovery and trial preparation) as it relates to VAHPP.
Applicants should be admitted to practice law in New York or recent law school graduates who sat for the July 2017 NYS bar examination. The Fellow will be required to have excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as interpersonal, organizational and negotiation skills and the ability to work as a team member. Diverse economic, social and cultural experiences and a second language are preferred. The Fellow must be a graduate of an Equal Justice Works member law school.
COMPENSATION AND OTHER BENEFITS:
● VISTA Legal Fellows make a commitment to live among and at the economic level of the people served.
● AmeriCorps VISTA provides a living allowance of $11,880, paid out in $455.70 biweekly amounts.
● LawNY® will provide supplemental financial support, up to a maximum of $11,880 per year, for living expenses such as housing, food, student loan repayment and transportation.
● $5,775 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award or $1,500 end-of-service cash stipend upon successful completion of service
● An AmeriCorps VISTA Healthcare Allowance of up to $6,600 to cover annual deductible, coinsurance, copayments, and other charges for qualified medical expenses.
● Student loan forbearance and interest accrual payment for eligible loans upon successful completion of service
● Participation in Equal Justice Works training opportunities and conferences, as applicable
TO APPLY: Please send a letter of interest, resume, (3) references with email addresses and telephone numbers, and legal writing sample to the attention of Co-Deputy Director of Operations, Lori O’Brien at lawnyapplications "at" lawny "dot" org. Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® (LawNY®) is an equal opportunity employer. LawNY encourages applications from diverse candidates. 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.