Staff Attorney – Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative

    Legal Services of Eastern Missouri
    Published
    October 4, 2021
    Location
    4232 Forest Park Ave., St. Louis

    Description

    Overview:
    Legal Services of Eastern Missouri is seeking a dynamic, self-starting attorney who has vision, initiative, and a demonstrated commitment to public interest law to fill a full time staff attorney position in its St. Louis office for its NVI program. If selected, the staff attorney would serve place-based community organizations and low-income urban residents to provide legal assistance aimed at preventing residential property abandonment and reducing the harmful effects of vacant nuisance properties in the community. The ideal candidate should have strong leadership skills, experience working within diverse communities, and will demonstrate an understanding of the unique issues of equitable community development as it impacts low-income communities and other marginalized populations. Experience working with grassroots community groups preferred.
     
    Responsibilities and Examples of Duties:
    Direct Services: The staff attorney will serve as counsel to between three and five community organizations, with a focus on serving urban neighborhoods in the City of St. Louis. The staff attorney will provide legal assistance to neighborhoods on a range of matters including corporate governance and civil litigation against absentee owners of vacant residential or commercial nuisance properties. The staff attorney will provide residents of their focus neighborhoods with real-estate related legal services including simple estate planning for low-income homeowners and assisting to resolve fractured (heirs’ property) land titles. Case work may evolve to serve the neighborhoods’ stabilization and equitable development goals. 
    Pro Bono Coordination: To maximize its impact, LSEM’s Neighborhood Vacancy Initiative relies on a pro bono partnership model between neighborhood organizations and large-scale local law firms. The staff attorney will facilitate pro bono services, requiring regular outreach to both the volunteer law firms and community organizations. The staff attorney will be responsible for training and co-counseling pro bono partners, providing guidance to volunteer attorneys on substantive or procedural legal questions. The staff attorney will also handle an independent caseload consisting of referrals declined by volunteer attorneys. Together, with paralegal support, the staff attorney will conduct intake interviews, develop and maintain client relationships, and advise clients on whether their cases are appropriate for volunteer attorney referral. 
    Community Engagement: The staff attorney will conduct and participate in extensive community outreach and legal education in their neighborhoods, working closely with local nonprofits, public institutions, and community leaders to increase referrals.  
    Grant Reporting: This position is grant funded. The staff attorney, with support, will be responsible for monitoring outcomes and drafting grant reports. 
     
    Qualifications:
    • J.D. Degree and Admission to Missouri State Bar
    • Strong Leadership Skills & Experience Working with Diverse Communities
    • Commitment to Legal Services’ Mission and Equitable Community Development Principles
    • Experience Working with Grassroots Community Groups Preferred
    • Strong Interpersonal and Communication (oral and written) Skills
    • Confident, but Affable and Outgoing Personality
    • Strong Public Speaker
    • Ability to Communicate and Connect with Individuals and Large Groups of People 
    • Creative Thinker
    • Self-motivated, Self-starter
    • Highly Organized
    • Ability to Work Independently and as Part of a Team
    Salary and Benefits Information: 
     
    Salary range is $50,000- $75,000 depending on experience. Excellent benefits including medical, dental and vision insurance, a generous time off policy, 403(b) and profit-sharing plans, long-term disability and life insurance, employee assistance plan, flexible spending account, and paid CLE.
     
    Who we are: 
     
    LSEM advances justice through legal representation, education, and supportive services. We partner with the community to improve lives, promote fairness and create opportunities for those in need. Since 1956, LSEM has provided high-quality civil legal assistance and equal access to justice for low-income people in 21 counties in Missouri. We accomplish our mission through systemic advocacy/impact litigation and individual case work in a wide range of substantive civil areas which are in our priorities, e.g., family law for victims of domestic violence, prevention of homelessness/housing, health, public benefits, consumer, education, disability, community economic development, and immigration. As part of our community education/outreach efforts, LSEM works with over 150 agencies and participates in over 35 task forces/coalitions. LSEM also has a vibrant Volunteer Lawyers Program.  
     

    How to Apply: 

    Upload your resume and cover letter through our online application. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

    Submission Deadline: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

    Equal access to LSEM’s office is available. Those applicants requiring accommodation to the interview/application process should contact Human Resources at hr@lsem.org. LSEM is an equal opportunity employer.