Closing Date: 12th July, 2022
Legal Action's RLS Program attorneys provide quality representation to clients releasing from state correctional facilities. This representation focuses on public benefits and Social Security law and includes but is not limited to: assisting project clients in applying for benefits (Social Security and health care and other public benefits), developing medical records to support their applications for benefits, and providing advocacy when Social Security and health care and other public benefits are denied. RLS project attorneys are expected to stay abreast with the law as it changes and develops, particularly in the areas of Social Security and health care and other public benefits. In addition to following Legal Action's policies & procedures and Supreme Court rules governing the practice of law, program attorneys must follow RLS program operational protocols to receive client/case referrals, conduct intake, work with program clients, and other tasks.
RLS attorneys also share responsibility for developing and maintaining productive working relationships with other Legal Action staff, Wisconsin Department of Corrections and Community Corrections staff, state and local bar associations, community and human service organizations, and others. Attorneys may be called upon to provide training and other assistance to members of Legal Action's Volunteer Lawyer Project. Finally, each attorney is expected to attend quarterly meetings of Legal Action's Public Benefits Law Priority Committees and may be assigned to participate in other Legal Action Priority Committees, such as Housing, Employment, Consumer, or Family Law.
All staff attorneys will be expected to perform intake duties and, where necessary, make appropriate referrals to other community agencies. Each staff attorney is responsible for serving on at least one Priority Committee. Attorneys will be assigned additional duties, including participation and training in race equity alignment and anti-racism; diversity, equity, and inclusion; and effects of trauma and trauma-informed care.
Target Population & Work Within Correctional Facilities
An RLS Program attorney will be working with persons with mental and/or physical disabilities who have been convicted of a criminal offense(s) and who are housed in one of Wisconsin's correctional facilities or are under community supervision. Program attorneys deliver legal services in correctional facilities and prisons on a regular basis.
The RLS Program involves frequent travel. Program attorneys, regardless of the Legal Action office where they are housed, typically travel at least two times per week to State of Wisconsin prisons, correctional facilities and offices, and other sites.
The amount and structure of training provided to the RLS Program attorney will be determined by his/her experience and level of knowledge of Social Security, health care, and other public benefit laws.
A Juris Doctorate degree. Admission to the Wisconsin State Bar is required upon hire or must be eligible to be admitted to the Wisconsin Bar by virtue of reciprocity or by passing the Wisconsin bar examination at the earliest possible opportunity.
Legal Action will also consider the applicant's:
- Knowledge and understanding of the civil legal problems and needs of people with disabilities, people reentering the community after incarceration, and/or low-income persons;
- Commitment to providing free, high-quality, civil legal services to such persons;
- Prior legal or other work in the client community or in other firms and programs providing help to the people with limited resources;
- Ability to communicate with people who speak a language other than English as their principal language (e.g., Spanish);
- Cultural affinity with the client community;
- Academic training;
- Knowledge of and/or experience with state and federal law and procedure but particularly with Social Security and/or other public benefits law;
- Ability to communicate orally and in writing in a clear and concise manner;
- Ability to work harmoniously with others; and
- Nature and extent of other legal experience and knowledge.
Physical Demands and Work Environment:
This position involves sedentary work, including sitting at a desk on a computer for an extended period. Exerting up to 10 pounds of force on a regular basis to lift, carry, push or otherwise move objects. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand, sit, talk, hear and use hands and fingers to operate a computer and/or laptop keyboard and use a telephone. Specific vision abilities required for this job include close vision requirements due to computer work. Drives a motor vehicle while seated for extended periods of time daily. Occasional reaching, bending, kneeling and stooping involved to retrieve various items and materials. This position works in an environmentally-controlled office environment with moderate noise from phones, printers and light office traffic in the LAW office and during on-site prison appointments.
Legal Action employees are required to wear a mask that always complies with CDC recommendations when in a Legal Action office or when representing Legal Action in a professional capacity.
Our Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, Milwaukee, and La Crosse offices have two salary tiers available for Staff Attorneys. (Attorneys in our Madison office are represented by ULW and a collective bargaining agreement.)
As set forth in Legal Action's Salary Administration Plan, a Tier 1 staff attorney with 0 – 1 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary $50,000. A Tier 1 staff attorney with 4 - 5 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary of $60,500. A Tier 1 staff attorney with 9 – 10 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary of $75,500.
A Tier 2 staff attorney with at least 3 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary $61,813. A Tier 2 staff attorney with 6- 7 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary of $71,488. A Tier 2 staff attorney with 9 - 10 years of relevant work experience will earn a salary of $81,163. A description of the scope of authority for Tiers 1 and 2 staff attorney positions are identified below.
Legal Action's salary plan provides for annual step increases as long as the attorney is meeting performance expectations. Salaries are not negotiable and will follow this scale.
Tier 1 and Tier 2 Staff Attorney Description & Scope of Authority:
All staff attorneys are required to utilize and follow Legal Action's attorney performance standards in performing their duties.
Tier 1 Staff Attorneys are:
- Relatively new to providing legal services to low-income clients.
- Closely supervised and practices law under close control and structure.
- Closely adhering to Legal Action's guidelines, rules, policies, and procedures and have little or no authority to deviate from them without supervisor's approval.
Tier 2 Staff Attorneys Have:
- At least 3 years of post-J.D. experience that includes work relevant to the skills required for staff attorneys and;
- Skills and abilities to:
- consistently perform most Tier 1 Staff Attorney duties with minimal assistance or direction, a high level of efficiency and/or independent initiative, and less immediate, regular supervision than a Tier 1 Staff Attorney;
- consistently carry a caseload of substantial size and complexity suitable to an experienced attorney;
- consistently adhere to Legal Action administrative and programmatic procedures such as, but not limited to contemporaneous timekeeping and accurate completion of administrative and client service forms; and
- Demonstrated initiative and ability to undertake the additional duties that the Tier 2 Staff Attorney level requires such as, but not limited to mentoring, training, and otherwise supporting Tier 1 staff attorneys and others. (Tier 2 Staff Attorneys do not have the authority to discipline others and are not confidential management positions.)
- Legal Action's organizational structure does allow for additional career advancement opportunities, such as: Attorney Managers; Managing Attorneys; Project Managers; Supervising Attorneys; and Priority Coordinators. Legal Action posts these opportunities as they become available.
Spanish Or Hmong Language Fluency Premium: In addition, Legal Action's Salary Administration Plan includes additional pay for those employees who are fluent in Spanish or Hmong and utilize their language skills in performing their work. Legal Action is currently developing the structure for the language differential pay.
Applicants must submit the following materials via Legal Action of Wisconsin's online applicant portal.
- Cover letter which summarizes qualifications, skills, and experience;
- Legal writing sample;
- Names and contact information for three professional references;
- Law school transcript, which is required for applicants who graduated in 2019 or later.
Please submit and upload all the documents required. If the required documents are not submitted on or before the deadline, your application will be considered incomplete, and we will not be able to consider you for this position.
Attorney Erica Loomis, Assistant Director, RLS Project is the hiring manager for this position.
To ensure early consideration for the Staff Attorney RLS Project - Oshkosh, please submit application materials, on or before midnight Tuesday, July 12, 2022.
The Staff Attorney RLS is a continuous recruitment. Application materials will be accepted, and interviews held as often as needed based on funding and staffing needs through 12/31/22.