Archive for Career Resources

Job o’ the Day: Staff Attorney with Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation!

The Central Regional Office of Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation seeks a staff attorney for its  Long Term Care Ombudsman Program.

Land of Lincoln Legal Assistance Foundation is a non-profit organization providing free legal services to low-income individuals and to senior citizens in civil cases through five (5) offices in central and southern Illinois.  The program has a long history of high quality and innovative advocacy for our clients.  The Central Regional Office is located in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

The staff attorney will :

  • Represent residents in long term care facilities and assisted/supportive facilities in a 7 county area.
  • Provide a full range of legal services to residents to prevent and remedy elder abuse and exploitation.
  • Provide a regular presence in all facilities, and investigate all resident complaints when received.
  • Assist the Regional Ombudsman in providing information, assistance and education to the community regarding long term care issues.

View the full job posting here (login required).

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Job o’ the Day: Education Law Staff Attorney – Legal Assistance Foundation of Metro. Chicago

The Legal Assistance Foundation of Metropolitan Chicago (LAF) is seeking a staff attorney in the area of Education Law, who will work in the Children and Families Practice Group at LAF. The attorney will handle cases for clients who have issues involving access to education, special education, expulsions, and suspensions. Many of these clients will be children and adolescents in foster care, whom LAF represents through a contact with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Responsibilities include representing clients at school special education meetings, administrative due process hearings pursuant to the Individuals with Education Disabilities Act, administrative expulsion hearings and state or federal court proceedings. The attorney will work with and train DCFS caseworkers, private agency caseworkers, foster parents, and court personnel to help them learn to identify and refer foster children who need LAF’s services.

The attorney should be able to drive and be willing to travel frequently throughout Cook County, often on short notice, to meet with clients, school personnel and others. Travel expenses will be reimbursed and other responsibilities adjusted to accommodate travel demands. The attorney will collaborate and advocate for LAF’s clients with other service providers in Illinois and with community-based organizations that serve children and families living in poverty. The attorney will share the work of screening, advising, representing and referring individuals seeking assistance with other attorneys, a paralegal, and a supervisory attorney.

The application deadline is August 28th.  View the full listing on PSLawNet (login required)

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Job(s) o’ the Day: Staff Attorney Positions with Greater Hartford Legal Aid

Civil legal aid openings in the Nutmeg State:

Greater Hartford Legal Aid, Inc. (GHLA) provides free legal representation to low-income residents of Hartford County in housing, family/domestic violence, employment, senior, AIDS, government benefits, health, education, and disability matters. 

GHLA will accept applications from attorneys with experience in one or more of GHLA’s practice areas and from law school graduates from the class of 2012. Admission to the Connecticut bar or ability to waive in is preferred for experienced attorneys.

 View the full job posting on PSLawNet (login required).

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Job o’ the Day: Assistant City Prosecutor in Sunny Glendale, AZ

Law & order in the Grand Canyon State. Here’s an entry-level opening for a prosecutor in Glendale, AZ, nearby Phoenix.  Although the job is “open until filled,” application review began on July 20.

Job Elements:

  • Prepares and appears for arraignments, tries jury and non-jury trials and arranges and conducts pre-trial conferences with defendants and/or attorneys.
  • Reviews the file on each case including police reports, previous convictions and motions from defense attorney; prepares any necessary correspondence and prepares for the pre-trial conference.
  • Reviews cases forwarded by the Glendale Police Department and Code Enforcement and make the determination whether to prosecute.
  • Provides assistance to the general public regarding pending cases and responds to questions from Glendale Police Department and Code Enforcement officials; meets with victims and explains court procedures prior to trial.
  • Researches case law writes appellate briefs and provides written responses to motions.
  • Argues motions before the court.
  • Reviews dismissed cases for possible re-filing.
  • Gathers and prepares statistical data on office workload.
  • Provides daily update of cases going to trial.
  • Records daily public message regarding cases going to trial.
  • Files and retrieves case files.

Qualifications
Requires graduation from an accredited school of law and demonstrated working knowledge of the principles of civil and criminal law, rules of evidence, the methods and practices of pleadings, judicial procedures and the principle methods, practices and references utilized in legal research.

And the salary range starts in the high $50s.  Not so bad.  See the full listing on PSLawNet (login required).

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10 Ways to Be More Persuasive in Job Interviews

By: Steve Grumm & Maria Hibbard

Lisa Abrams, Director of Career Services at the University of Chicago, contributed a terrific article to the August edition of the NALP Bulletin.  The article, “Ten Ways Law Students Can Be More Persuasive in Interviews,” offers solid advice for students and recent grads alike.  At its core, the article is a reminder that even though an interview is a real-time experience requiring job-seekers to think and speak on their feet, pre-interview preparation is critical.  We all perform better in these settings when we’ve thought through what we want to say, what questions we may expect to be asked, and how we may answer those questions in a way that puts our best professional foot forward.  Abrams’s ten tips begin…

  1. Thoroughly and thoughtfully research the organization.
  2. You must be able to answer the question “Why did you go to law school?”
  3. To show you’re a valuable candidate, be able to identify your strongest skills (at least three and give up to three examples of each from your educational experience or work history.
  4. Be able to tell the firm, government agency, or public interest organization what you think is special about them….

Check out the full article here to read the rest of the tips. Our takes:

Rising 2L (Maria here): I’m reminded especially of what I’ve learned through my background as a musician when reading this article. I wouldn’t dare go into an audition or major performance without hours and hours of practice and some time spent in mental preparation – as I search for jobs for my second law school summer and beyond, I’m reminded that I need to apply this same kind of diligence to my preparation for interviewing. One of Lisa’s tips focuses on the need to practice answers to interview questions out loud – although I’ve spent thousands of hours practicing presentations, solos, or other types of performances, I don’t think I’ve ever practiced verbally articulating answers to interview questions!

Lisa’s second tip focuses on the need to have a succinct answer to “Why did you go to law school?” – although I could ramble on and on about the myriad of experiences that led me to the legal profession, after reading Lisa’s tip I want to edit this answer down to a type of “newspaper headline,” saying “I went to law school because of ____ and ____.” One sentence can convey all of the important information, but this idea, or “theme” can be elaborated if needed.

Employer (Steve here): as noted above, interview prep is vital.  In doing background research, job seekers should not just memorize facts and figures from an organization’s website.  Talk to your career services office to find out if alumni of your school work(ed) with the organization.  While it may not be appropriate to reach out to current employees of an organization, it could be useful to reach out to former employees for their take on the organization’s culture, how they carry out their mission, etc.  Also, perform Google News searches to see if and why the organization is making headlines.  You must be able to convey why you want to work with this organization during the interview.  Gathering as much background info as possible will help you to do that.

I could write on and on about this topic but Lisa’s article succinctly captures the key tips.  Good luck on the job hunt!

Bonus: check out PSLawNet’s interview tips  tailored specifically for public interest jobs.

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Job o’ the Day: Policy Associate – California Criminal Justice Reform Campaign

San Francisco! There are certainly worse places to live.  Check out our Job o’ the Day:

The California Criminal Justice Reform Campaign is a new, multi-year criminal justice reform campaign to reduce California’s costly over-reliance on incarceration. The intent of this effort is to engage a broad cross section of the public to question the use of limited public dollars on costly incarceration instead of more effective approaches to public safety, and to create an initiative grounded in strategic partnerships to reduce the number of lower-risk people incarcerated in California prisons and jails and make smarter investments of public dollars.

In order to substantially reduce levels of incarceration and free public dollars for other public expenditures, the campaign will work to promote sentencing reform and advance other systemic policy reform at the state level and in target counties. The Campaign will also work to expand the use of alternatives to incarceration, including community-based supervision, drug treatment, mental health treatment, community service, workforce development, and other evidence-based practices and to reduce the re-incarceration of formerly incarcerated individuals for probation and parole violations.

Housed as a project of Tides Center, the campaign is supported by several local and national donors seeking to support more justice and rational criminal justice policies. The campaign is expected to last at least 3 to 5 years. To our knowledge, this is the first time a sustained criminal justice reform effort of this size, scope and duration has been created in California.

The Policy Associate will be responsible for engaging in extensive policy and data research and analysis, producing reports and briefings, and supporting the outreach and community engagement strategies of the campaign. The Policy Associate will engage with criminal justice experts, Sacramento legislative offices’ staff, allied organizations, and various local and state criminal justice agencies, among others. It is envisioned that the Policy Associate will support overall campaign strategy development and work collaboratively with the campaign team on a daily basis.

View the full listing on PSLawNet (login required).

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Job o’ the Day: Legal Office with the World Food Programme…in Roma!

Ever wanted to live in Rome?  Like employment law and the idea of managing the inner workings of a large organization?  Check out this great opportunity:

The World Food Programme (WFP) is the world’s largest humanitarian agency, fighting hunger worldwide. We are currently seeking to fill the position of Legal Officer P2 in the Administration & Employment Law Branch (LEGA) in our headquarters in Rome, Italy.

LEGA is responsible for administrative matters and matters arising in connection with WFP’s personnel.

Within delegated authority, the Legal Officer P2 will be responsible for the following duties:

  • Consider the application of Regulations, Rules and procedures relevant to the internal justice system and other relevant aspects of human resources management, including disciplinary matters, privileges and immunities, rights and obligations of staff, legal status of staff and their dependents, financial recovery, taxation and social security benefits
  • Provide legal advice and support to the Executive Director, Regional Bureaux, Country Offices and HQ Divisions on the legal and constitutional aspects of their activities, including but not limited to, governance, accountability and risk management issues.
  • Provide legal advice and support on administrative issues arising in connection with the Programme’s personnel including but not limited to, handling appeals in the internal justice system.
  • Provide legal advice and support to new initiatives, assisting transactions and developing standard model agreements and other operational documentation.
  • Handle contractual disputes both at HQ and field level. Negotiating legal documents. Raising awareness of legal issues and providing training/support instruments to other units.

View the full listing on PSLawNet (login req’d.).

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Job o’ the Day: Contract Staff Attorney at Merrimack Valley-North Shore Legal Services

Merrimack Valley Legal Services, Inc. is the federally-funded nonprofit legal services program providing civil legal assistance to low-income people in 54 cities and towns of Essex and northern Middlesex counties since 1974.

MVLS represents victims of domestic violence in family law cases, families facing eviction, homeowners facing foreclosure because of the economic crisis, elders with health law claims, nursing home problems, and other issues affecting the elder population, and those denied governement benefits. Its impact work has included making the Lowell Superior Court accessible to handicapped litigants, securing the right to emergency heating for thousands of gas company customers, modeling nationally its outreach program for linguistically and culturally isolated communities, and securing the rights of tenants to raise reasonable accommodation as a defense in post-eviction cases.

MVLS receives the majority of its funding from the federal Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and under a subgrant of Massachusetts Legal Assistance Corporation (MLAC); it also receives a number of smaller grants from the government and private foundations. The program’s main office is in Lowell, and it has outreach sites in Lawrence and Lynn (in offices of regional partners Neighborhood Legal Services and the Children’s Law Center).

Merrimack Valley-North Shore Legal Services (MVNS), in Lowell, Massachusetts, is hiring a full-time staff attorney to represent low-income individuals in mortgage foreclosure cases. This is a two-year contact position beginning September 2012.

Read the full job listing on PSLawNet.

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Public Interest News Bulletin – July 27, 2012

By: Steve Grumm

Happy Friday, dear readers, from a sweltering, sun-drenched Washington, DC.  There is much public interest news to cover this week.  Before that, two other items of interest:

  • Is the U.S. experiencing the highest poverty levels in the last half-century? With new poverty data set for release in several weeks, experts expect that the poverty rate will hit its highest mark since the mid-1960s.  “Poverty is spreading at record levels across many groups, from underemployed workers and suburban families to the poorest poor. More discouraged workers are giving up on the job market, leaving them vulnerable as unemployment aid begins to run out. Suburbs are seeing increases in poverty, including in such political battlegrounds as Colorado, Florida and Nevada, where voters are coping with a new norm of living hand to mouth.”  (Story from Washington Post.)
    • Another trend that augurs poorly for the poor is the potential for a continued rise in food prices as a result of drought conditions throughout most of the U.S. (Again, the Washington Post.)
  • From the law-firm world…the National Law Journal has published “The Equity Gap: a Special Report on Women in the Partnership.” The intro: “Virtually every firm claims to be committed to helping women succeed, and they all seem to offer an array of women’s programs — affinity groups, business-development training and work/life balance initiatives. But are large firms committed to promoting women into the equity partnership? Our study of the largest firms in the United States by headcount shows that women represent just 15 percent of equity partners. At just five firms surveyed, women make up more than 25 percent of equity partners.”  (Here’s the multi-part report.)

On to the public interest news.  This week in very short:

  • Access to justice a la Canadien;
  • Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado raises $1.4m;
  • Cal. Western Law’s bridge-to-practice incubator program includes a public service component; 
  • This weekend: the Public Defender Advocacy Hiring and Training Conference for law students;
  • “So how do we define pro bono, and does clinical work count?,” asks a law professor;
  • civil legal services providers across the country benefitting from national mortgage foreclosure settlement funds;
  • the funding woes confronting Peach State legal services providers;
  • DC’s local court expands limited-scope representation to allow pro bono counsel to serve low-income litigants who would otherwise go pro se;
  • The Legal Services Corporation’s board is meeting in Michigan;
  • Birmingham, AL is moving from an appointed counsel system to a staffed public defense program;
  • Everything’s bigger in Texas, including pro bono;
  • A concise overview of successful pro bono models;
  • Recent innovations in legal education highlight a move toward experience-based learning.
  • Mick Jagger is 69 years old and I don’t know what to make of that.  Happy weekend.

The summaries:

  • 7.27.12 – ATJ news from our northern neighbors: “The Canadian Bar Association will take on pro bono family law and poverty law test cases as part of a major push in the coming year to improve the public’s access to justice, says its incoming president.  Robert Brun told The Lawyers Weekly that the CBA will provide representation to litigants pro bono in select cases that could set important precedents on the right to legally aided counsel in areas including prison law, mental health law and refugee law….  The CBA is also announcing a ‘major access to justice initiative’ at its Vancouver annual meeting next month, Brun said. The two-year project will include representations to governments.”  (Story from The Lawyers Weekly.)
  • 7.24.12 – “The Legal Aid Foundation [of Colorado] raised nearly $1.4 million in its 2011-12 Campaign for Justice, providing a welcome funding boost to a system strapped for cash.  Donations from law firms accounted for about 68 percent of the total, with many donor firms giving at the foundation’s suggested leadership level of $350 per associate…. The foundation is the fundraising arm of Colorado Legal Services, which has seen its budgets slashed in recent years.”  (Full story from Law Week Colorado.)
  • 7.24.12 – “California Western School of Law started the Access to Law Initiative last month. It places eight attorneys who each operate their own practices in an office in downtown San Diego’s Symphony Towers. In exchange, the attorneys pledge to provide at least 100 hours per year of pro bono, public service and ‘sliding scale fee’ legal service.  The new lawyers are mentored by professors and practicing attorneys.  Attorney Eric LaGuardia, a consumer rights lawyer who said he ‘represents the little guy,’ told KPBS the program acts as an incubator for recent law school graduates.  The program was started by California Western professor Robert Seibel and modeled on an initiative at City University of New York. San Diego’s Thomas Jefferson School of Law is currently establishing a similar project….” (Full story from KPBS.)
  • 7.24.12 – “Hoping to attract law students and young lawyers facing an increasingly dismal job market, representatives from public defender offices across the country are converging in Washington this weekend to make their pitch.  Since 2008, the D.C. Public Defender Service has organized a biennial conference dedicated to raising the profile of indigent criminal defense work. Public defender offices are often represented at general public interest job fairs, but PDS director of legal recruiting and conference organizer Jennifer Thomas said they saw a need for an event focusing on topics unique to public defender recruitment and jobs.  ‘In the civil legal services…everybody assumes you’re on the side of the angels. In criminal defense, the public perception is very different,’ she said.”  (Full story from the Blog of the Legal Times.)
  • 7.23.12 – in a blog post, Prof. Stephen Ellmann of New York Law School ruminates on the definitional ambiguity of “pro bono” and argues that clinical work performed by law students, even though credit-bearing, should count as pro bono for purposes of NY State’s to-be-imposed 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the bar.  (Here’s the full blog post.)
  • 7.23.12 – a look at how the civil legal services community is using funds from the national mortgage foreclosure class action settlement.  Attorneys general across the country are granting some of the settlement funds to legal services providers to bolster housing advocacy for those facing foreclosure and related legal problems.  (Here’s the information from a DOJ Access to Justice Initiative press release.)  
  • 7.23.12 – the funding woes of Georgia’s legal services providers: “Funding for the Georgia Legal Services Program, the Atlanta Legal Aid Society and Atlanta Volunteer Lawyers Foundation has dropped 13.5 percent since 2008, when their combined total budget was $24.2 million. To weather the losses, they’ve reduced staff, cut programs and dipped into reserve funds, even as the population they serve — people with civil legal problems who can’t afford a lawyer — has increased….  Atlanta Legal Aid, for example, has suspended its retirement plan for employees and for the past three years has dipped into its endowment to avoid layoffs, said its executive director, Steven Gottlieb.  But this year, Gottlieb finally had to lay people off. He said attrition and layoffs have shrunk Atlanta Legal Aid’s staff from 133 employees to 115 since the recession began. Another five to 10 people are also working fewer hours.”  And as is the case in many other jurisdictions, IOLTA revenues have fallen through the floor.  (Full story from the Daily Report.)
  • 7.23.12 – “In two high-volume branches of the District of Columbia Superior Court, civil legal services groups hope to prove that when it comes to pro bono representation, a little is a lot better than none. A policy recently adopted by the court gives the green light for pro bono lawyers to enter temporary appearances for low-income litigants in small claims and debt collections cases. Legal services lawyers say the change means they can provide much needed representation using minimal resources…. Under the new policy…lawyers can file a notice with the court that they’ll be representing a client for a single day of proceedings. Once proceedings are over for the day, the attorney-client relationship ends. There is precedent at the court for limited-scope representation. Beginning in 2007, the court began allowing temporary pro bono representation in the landlord and tenant branch. Last June, a similar policy was put in place for the paternity and child support branch.” (Full, but password-protected, story in the National Law Journal.) 
  • 7.23.12 – from a press release, details about the Legal Services Corporation board meeting which is taking place in Michigan on the 27th.
  • 7.23.12 – “Jefferson County [Birmingham and vicinity] courts will switch to a public defender system as part of a statewide effort to control the spiraling cost of providing lawyers for criminal defendants unable to afford counsel, officials said. The new public defender’s office will replace the current system of judges appointing lawyers for indigent defendants.  It’s hoped that a new defender will be in place this fall, and s/he will hire staff.  “Officials estimated the Birmingham division public defender’s office will have 40 lawyers and support staff.”  (Here’s the full story from the Birmingham News and here’s more coverage from the Montgomery Advertiser.)
  • 7.23.12 – “Despite having fewer average full-time equivalent lawyers in 2011 compared to 2010, the 18 firms sharing pro bono information for their Texas lawyers donated more hours than the previous year.” (It’s password protected, so that’s all I’ve got from this Texas Lawyer article.)
  • 7.17.12 – the National Jurist looks at innovations in legal education: “Law schools are pushing the boundaries of the traditional law school model and experimenting at a level that legal education has not seen for several years, a new story reveals.  The National Jurist invited every law school in the U.S. to submit a nomination for how it is innovating its curriculum. More than 40 schools responded, showing that schools are experimenting with boot camps, mentoring programs, technology and programs that mirror the medical school model.”  The magazine’s next issue, due out in late August, will highlight some schools’ novel approaches to training tomorrow’s lawyers.

Music!  Yesterday marked the 69th birthday of Mick Jagger, a rock & roll legend who is nonetheless rightly criticized for wearing tights way past his time (if ever a time there is).  Here’s one of the Rolling Stones’ best.

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Kicking It Into High Gear: Job Searching After the Bar

By: Maria Hibbard and Steve Grumm

Congratulations! You’re done with the bar! Your three years of hard work, countless hours in the library, and thousands of pages of reading have paid off. Now that you can officially set aside BarBri books and study plans, it’s time take a deep breath and focus on your job search in order to find your next step. We have some leads to highlight:

  • Job Search Fundamentals: Even though you may think you know how to write an awesome cover letter and focus your resume, it never hurts to review the basics. Besides actually earning your J.D., what has changed on your resume since your last internship? How does your previous work reflect your skills and areas of interest? Visit our Job Search Fundamentals page for advice on cover letters, interviewing, and resume development.  Also, check out this two-part public interest job search webinar, with Part I focusing on cover letter and resume drafting, and Part II focusing on interviewing and networking.  (The webinar was geared toward the summer job search, but the main principles still apply to the postgrad search.)  Oh, and speaking of networking…
  • Using your network:Remember to “water the plants!”  Reconnecting with previous employers – even from 1L summer or before law school – could potentially lead to conversations about available positions. If an employer has seen your work before, you immediately have a step ahead in the hunt for permanent employment.
    • Previous employers are not the only people it may be worth getting in touch with again – professors whose classes you’ve enjoyed or did well in or attorneys with whom you may have done volunteering also may be open to talking with you about your job search. Continuing the conversation with people you’ve connected with in the past – and maintaining these relationships – could lead to potential recommendations or referrals in the future.
    • Government Positions:Check out PSLawNet’s Government Careers page for more information on federal, state, and local government positions. With the advent of the Obama administration’s hiring reform, the new Pathways Program promises increased transparency for entry level hiring. Now, you are eligible to apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship Program and for Pathways Recent Graduates positions for up to two years after receiving your degree. Keep checking PSLawNet and USAJobs for opportunities for recent graduates.
    • Fellowships: One way many non-profit and legal aid organizations recruit entry-level is through post-graduate fellowships. You may think it’s too late to apply for fellowships – although many organizations recruit for fellows a year in advance, quite a few others recruit during the summer for positions starting that fall. Check out PSLawNet’s Postgraduate Fellowships page for more information. Although many “Sponsoring” organization deadlines may have already passed, running a “Fellowship – Legal” search on PSLawNet’s job search page can help you find relevant organization – based fellowships. You’re also eligible to apply for Equal Justice Works fellowships even after law school graduation.
    • Equal Justice Corps/Americorps Positions: One fellowship program worth highlighting is the EJW/Americorps program. All of these positions are based at civil legal aid organizations, and these 1-2 year placements recruit annually in the summer for positions starting that fall. Running a search on PSLawNet for “EJW/Americorps” or visiting EJW’s Americorps page will help you learn more about these positions.
    • Read for fun! Amidst all of this job searching, don’t forget – you finally don’t have to read bar review material! Take a look at our Summer Reading List for some suggestions on relevant – and fun! – reading. Who knows – maybe one of your interviewers will have read some of the same books.

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