Founded in 1990, NYLAG is a leading civil legal services organization combatting economic, racial, and social injustice by advocating for people experiencing poverty or in crisis. Our services include comprehensive, free civil legal services, financial empowerment, impact litigation, policy advocacy, and community partnerships. NYLAG exists because wealth should not determine who has access to justice. We aim to disrupt systemic racism by serving individuals and families whose legal and financial crises are often rooted in racial inequality. NYLAG goes to where the need is, providing services in more than 150 community sites (e.g. courts, hospitals, libraries) and on our Mobile Legal Help Center. During COVID-19, most of our services were virtual to keep our community safe. NYLAG's staff of 350 impacted the lives of nearly 113,000 people last year.
There is an opening for a Staff Attorney in the dynamic Consumer Protection Unit (CPU). CPU represents clients in a full range of crucial consumer rights matters by helping low-income individuals fight devastating fraud, predatory lending, and illegal debt collection practices. In addition, NYLAG advocates for clients who face possibly devastating income loss due to civil court judgments; defaulted student loans from predatory for-profit schools; sub-prime loan conditions; and lending scams targeting historically poor, limited English proficient, and/or immigrant communities. CPU staff work not only to resolve the immediate problem, but also to ensure long-term security for victims and their families. The staff attorney in CPU will staff a new project challenging Consumer “Zombie Judgments” and staffing the Consumer Debt Volunteer Lawyer for the Day Program (VLFD), in the Bronx, Staten Island, and/or Queens as well as participating in other projects. VLFD is a limited representation court-based program, wherein attorneys and other volunteers represent debtor defendants in court for that day/appearance only. VLFD pairs the defendants with a volunteer attorney who can advocate on their behalf and prevent additional abuse and misrepresentations by creditors. The attorney hired for this position will have the unique opportunity to make a strong impact in an innovative, court-based program designed to increase pro se litigants' access to justice as well as provide full representation on cases filed around 2018 or earlier (Zombie Judgments). The Staff Attorney will report to the Director, Supervising Attorney and/or Project Director.
Duties and Responsibilities:
The Staff Attorney will be partly situated in the Personal Appearance Part of Bronx, Queens and/or Richmond County Civil Courts to provide direct representation as well as oversight of attorneys and law students serving as volunteers in the Court for the Consumer Debt VLFD. The Staff Attorney will look for and focus on litigating zombie judgment cases while working at VLFD and all other boroughs in NYC as well.
Responsibilities include: Conducting client intakes, litigating consumer debt litigation cases, both fully and in a limited scope model, reviewing stipulations negotiated by volunteers for VLFD, drafting answers, orders to show cause, and other motions, affidavits and discovery demands prepared by the self-represented litigant and/or the volunteer lawyers. The Staff Attorney will also answer the substantive legal questions of volunteer lawyers; evaluate and give feedback on the quality of the volunteer lawyers' services; and represent pro se litigants on a limited appearance basis for the day. The Staff Attorney will work closely with the Bronx, Queens and Richmond County CLARO program, as well as local bar associations' pro bono programs.
The Staff Attorney will develop and maintain a full caseload of zombie judgment and other consumer debt full litigation cases and serve clients from all consumer projects in CPU as needed. The Staff Attorney will staff other intake sites as needed, represent clients, conduct research and intakes, fulfill grant deliverables and reports as needed, and conduct community educational workshops. The Staff Attorney will also provide services and representation for clients through a project in collaboration with the Department of Consumer and Workers Protection and student loan litigation. The Staff Attorney will also work with our Special Litigation Unit in order to identify patterns and practices ripe for class action lawsuits in order to make a larger community and systemic impact.
- Admission to the New York State bar with a demonstrated commitment to public interest law is required.
- Experience litigating in the Consumer Part, practicing consumer law, and with general litigation experience is highly preferred.
- Federal court admission preferred.
- Applicants must be willing to litigate in adversarial and charged environments and be fully prepared and understand the relevant law and court procedures needed to be successful.
- High attention to detail, organized, and have a desire to learn the relevant advocacy strategies and law.
- Excellent communication, research, and writing skills
- Enjoy collaborating with others
- Commitment to and passion for serving vulnerable New Yorkers and populations of diverse backgrounds.
- Applicants should be self-directed, dedicated to the work, and be comfortable taking specific directions and constructive criticism
NYLAG's Commitment to Diversity and Inclusion
NYLAG is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. People of color, women, people with disabilities, immigrants, veterans, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, and those with lived experiences in the communities we serve are strongly encouraged to apply.
Salary Range: NYLAG is a unionized workplace, and salaries are set pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement. The current salary range for this position is between $77,117 to $89,392.
Benefits: Medical, dental, vision, 401k, life insurance, long term disability, commuter benefits, flexible spending accounts (FSA) for Medical and Dependent care.
Application Instructions: Please save resume and cover letter on one pdf.
Covid Vaccination Policy: Please note, to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees and clients, NYLAG requires all employees to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, unless a medical or religious exemption is approved.
NYLAG is committed to a hybrid work policy for staff whose work does not require their full-time presence in the office. NYLAG's current policy is that most staff are required to work in NYLAG's offices or do other in-person work at least two days each week. This policy is subject to change.