Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. (LAW) has an immediate opening for a full-time paralegal in our Milwaukee Office to support the Eviction Free MKE project and Milwaukee Housing Unit.
The Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will serve as the first point of contact for people who seek legal services from Legal Action through the Eviction Free MKE Project. Initially, the Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will focus on assessing, responding to, and directing referrals that come through our Milwaukee Housing Unit or directly from Eviction Free MKE Project Partners the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee or the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties. The Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will be responsible for helping to manage and assign case distribution equitably among Eviction Free MKE staff attorneys and to support proper maintenance of case files and client management.
LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN
We are a large and vibrant non-profit law firm funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, Victim of Crime Act funding, the Wisconsin Equal Justice Fund, and many other sources. Each year, we provide free legal aid to about 11,000 – 14,000 low-income persons in Wisconsin’s southern 39 counties with offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, and La Crosse. In addition, the firm operates a statewide farmworker project and a statewide legal aid to human trafficking victim’s project. Most of our work is in the areas of housing, public benefits, removing barriers to employment, consumer, family law, and victim rights. Legal Action attorneys specialize in specific areas of law, though they may be called upon to work in multiple areas. They provide high-quality and aggressive representation, maintain a direct service caseload of individual clients, and contribute to the firm’s work to engage in law reform litigation and other impact work.
Due to the pandemic, we require face masks and social distancing in the Milwaukee Office.
Legal Action believes that equal justice under law can only be achieved through the collaboration of a diverse staff. We strongly encourage applications from women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, and people with life experiences or educational backgrounds that add to the firm’s diversity and our capacity to provide high-quality legal aid.
The Milwaukee Area Office staff is housed at 633 W. Wisconsin Avenue and is comprised of 41 attorneys, 19 paralegals, and 18 other administrative, professional and technical staff. Intake is done by telephone, on a walk-in basis, or at neighborhood outstations in Milwaukee and Waukesha. The Milwaukee Area Office also houses the Legal Action administrative staff, the SeniorLAW Project, the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic and a Volunteer Lawyers Project. Two attorneys are located at the Center for Driver’s License Recovery & Employment at Milwaukee Area Technical College and one attorney and one paralegal are housed at the Student Legal Aid Project at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
The Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will assist the Eviction Free MKE Attorney Supervisor, Eviction Free MKE Attorneys, Milwaukee Housing Unit Supervisor, Milwaukee Housing Unit Staff Attorneys, and other LAW staff attorneys who are assigned to housing work.
Suitable training will be provided, but applicants are expected to demonstrate a sense of reasoning and resources that are necessary to perform duties and responsibilities. Responsibilities include:
- Using case management and online application software to intake eligible applicants in applying for legal services from Legal Action and Eviction Free MKE when applicants apply over the phone and online.
- Screen applicants for eligibility and determine whether their legal issue fits within Legal Action’s case priorities.
- Manage and intake Eviction Free MKE referrals from Eviction Free MKE Project Partners the Legal Aid Society of Milwaukee or the United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha Counties
- Gather relevant case documents as needed, including by text, email, and screen sharing
- Route applications to Eviction Free MKE attorneys to review for extended representation
- Provide information and referrals to applicants who are not eligible for legal services
- Under supervision of an Attorney, provide advice and brief service to some eligible applicants
- Help to organize, manage, and close case files for clients that must be declined service due to overcapacity of the Eviction Free MKE Project.
- Follow all Legal Action and intake unit operating procedures and policies accurately.
- Continually maintain an awareness of the issues that applicants for service are facing and observe, document, and record information about trends in service needs.
- Develop, continually update, and apply a working knowledge of community resources and referral sources in Legal Action’s service area, particularly with respect to housing.
- Using Legal Action’s record keeping systems, maintain accurate and timely records of people who are seeking services, clients, and time.
- Attend and participate in the Housing Law priority committee
- Attend and participate in the Milwaukee Housing Unit meetings and Teams discourse
- Participate in all firmwide and unit wide staff meetings and trainings. Some meetings and trainings will be held in-person and some will be held remotely. When meetings, trainings, and other events are held in-person, the paralegal must attend in-person rather than remotely
- The Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will collect and tabulate project case data and other internal LAW data while maintaining confidentiality of all client information
- The Eviction Free MKE Project Paralegal will be assigned other duties occasionally.
The paralegal may be responsible for screening cases for non-project eligibility, intake scheduling, and other intake duties.
The paralegal may be required to perform other duties as assigned by the Eviction Free MKE Supervising Attorney, the Milwaukee Housing Unit Supervisor, or the Milwaukee Office Managing Attorney.
Skills, Experience, and Requirements
- Knowledge of Wisconsin small claims and other court civil legal procedures is highly desired.
- Suitable training will be provided, but applicants are expected to demonstrate a strong sense of reasoning and resources necessary to perform the job responsibilities and duties.
- An ability to communicate proficiently (orally and in writing) in Spanish is highly desired though not required.
- High school diploma and proven experience to perform similar work in a legal or social services field is required. A bachelor’s degree or paralegal Associate’s degree is preferred.
- Must have or be able to acquire and then apply knowledge of civil legal issues affecting low-income clients and the procedures and skills necessary to advocate on their behalf.
- A working awareness of various agencies, bar associations, and programs which provide services to low- income clients is highly desired.
- Ability to tactfully communicate with clients, volunteer attorneys, opposing counsel, court staff, and other outside parties.
- Ability to communicate, both orally and in writing, in a clear and concise manner.
- Work cooperatively with other staff, volunteers, and clients.
- Highly proficient in Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook, Internet usage, and a database.
PHYSICAL DEMANDS AND WORK ENVIRONMENT
This position involves sedentary work, 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 Milwaukee Office and during on-site prison appointments.
Salary & Benefits
Starting salary depends upon experience and qualifications, with a minimum starting salary of $38,958.
Legal Action provides a generous fringe benefits package, including employer-paid health and dental insurance for employees and eligible dependents. Some employees are required to contribute to the health insurance premium for their spouse, if the spouse has group health insurance provided by their employer. Legal Action also provides life and long-term disability insurance, a profit-sharing retirement plan, salary deferral options for retirement planning, low-cost employee-paid vision coverage, three weeks of vacation per year, four days of personal leave, a generous sick leave benefit, and four weeks of paid parental leave for eligible employees.
This position is subject to a probationary period of up to six months and the period may be extended by the employer. This position is represented for collective bargaining and new employees may be voluntarily choose to join Local 1954, AFSCME. This position is governed by the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement between Legal Action of Wisconsin and Local 1954, AFSCME. Legal Action of Wisconsin personnel policies will govern where no provision is covered by the collective bargaining agreement.
Persons interested in applying for this position should prepare and send the following items:
- Cover letter which summarizes qualifications, skills, and experience.
- External applicants only: Three professional references including reliable contact information.
Applicants must submit the following application materials via Legal Action of Wisconsin’s online applicant portal. All items must be in PDF.
Raphael Ramos, the Eviction Defense Project Director and Milwaukee Housing Unit Supervisor, is the hiring manager for this position and will lead a panel of Legal Action staff to interview applicants remotely.
This position will be open until filled. We will review applicants on a rolling basis. To assure early consideration, please submit application materials by June 24, 2022.
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.