Elder Law Paralegal/Benefits Specialist – SeniorLAW Project

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INTERNAL AND EXTERNAL JOB ANNOUNCEMENT

Elder Law Paralegal/Benefits Specialist – SeniorLAW Project

Milwaukee Office

June 3, 2022

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. (LAW) is seeking to fill one full-time, permanent paralegal position in our SeniorLAW Project. The SeniorLAW paralegal is responsible for providing direct legal assistance and advice to residents of Milwaukee County age 60 or over.  The paralegal will be supervised and trained by an attorney.   The SeniorLAW paralegal position is funded in part by State of Wisconsin Elder Benefit Specialist (EBS) funding as described at Wis. Stats. §46.81, as well as by the federal Older Americans Act (OAA).  Remote work options are available.

LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN, INC.

Legal Action is a large, vibrant non-profit law firm funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation, the Wisconsin Trust Account Foundation, and other sources. Legal Action provides free legal aid to about 13,500 low-income persons annually in the southern 39 counties of Wisconsin with offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay and La Crosse. In addition, LAW operates a statewide farmworker project, and several other state-wide projects serving crime victims, including victims of sex and labor trafficking. LAW attorneys have expertise in a range of substantive areas, but the majority of our work is in the areas of housing, public benefits, removing barriers to employment, consumer law, and family law. Legal Action attorneys specialize in specific areas of poverty law, maintain a direct service caseload on behalf of individual clients, and engage in law reform litigation and other impact work.

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.

OFFICE LOCATION

The Milwaukee Area Office staff is housed at 633 W. Wisconsin Avenue and is comprised of 44 attorneys, 14 paralegals, and 20 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.

Due to COVID-19, Legal Action is limiting in-office and on-site work as much as possible; we prioritize staff and client safety by offering telecommuting options, flexible work hours, and remote access to job responsibilities.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES

Direct Services to Clients

The paralegal will be responsible for providing legal assistance and advice to older adults under the

supervision and training of an attorney.

Client Interviews and Communication

The paralegal will be responsible for interviews with potential clients, including intake, determination of eligibility for services, conflict checks, provision of information and/or advice to clients, proper referrals when necessary.

Administrative Advocacy

Under the supervision of the attorney, the paralegal will be responsible for handling administrative hearings, including interviewing clients, maintaining case files, communicating with federal, state and local agencies, writing letters, investigating facts, determining the applicable regulations, presenting written or oral argument, and representing clients in hearings.

Organization and File Maintenance

The paralegal will be expected to maintain paper and or electronic client files and will maintain confidentiality of all client information.

Other Duties

The paralegal will provide support to attorneys in cases, participate in and assist with training programs and otherwise becomes familiar with issues affecting older adults.  The paralegal will develop and maintain contact with other community agencies regarding client needs, and travel to nursing homes, residences, or other locations outside of the office when required. The paralegal may be responsible for giving presentations in the community and to various agencies and may develop, conduct and participate in outreach, training, and education programs, including the development of materials.  Other duties may be assigned as needed.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • The minimum requirement for this position is a high school diploma or prior experience in the legal or social service field.
  • A college degree or Paralegal certificate from an accredited college or university or a Paralegal educational program is preferred.
  • Excellent technology skills and willingness to develop existing skills in technology such as Zoom, Teams, internet, email, web-based activities, Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, Adobe, Goggle Apps, texting applications, and phone data preservation.
  • Occasional travel may be required.
  • Ability to express oneself clearly and concisely in both oral and written communication.
  • Ability to prioritize daily work and use resources effectively.
  • Provide proactive support, assistance, and coverage, when needed, to other staff.
  • Highly organized with the ability to juggle multiple deadlines in a fast-paced work environment.

The following qualifications are valued:

  • Familiarity with administrative hearings.
  • Ability to communicate with persons in the client community who speak a language other than English as their principal language.
  • Knowledge and understanding of legal problems and the needs of low-income persons.
  • Commitment to providing legal services to low-income persons.
  • Prior work in the client community or in other programs that work with low-income persons.
  • Cultural affinity with the client community.
  • Training will be provided. Upon hire, training needs will be assessed.

COVID-19 VACCINATION POLICY

At Legal Action of Wisconsin, health and safety is a top priority. We require all new, unrepresented employees and interns, law clerks, volunteers, and contractors from employment agencies or consulting firms to have completed their COVID-19 vaccinations and booster and to provide medical proof from Wisconsin’s Immunization Registry or from a medical provider of their fully vaccinated status as a condition of employment with Legal Action of Wisconsin within 28 days of their first day of employment. Individuals may request a medical or religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine requirement. Exemption requests must be completed and approved on or before the first day of employment.

 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. Drives a motor vehicle while seated for extended periods of time. 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.

 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.

 SALARY

As set forth in the collective bargaining agreement with AFSCME in our Milwaukee office, the starting salary for this position is determined by the candidate’s years of relevant work experience.

A Paralegal Tier 1 candidate with no relevant prior work experience would be eligible for a starting salary of $38,958.  A Paralegal Tier 1 candidate with five years of relevant work experience would be eligible for a starting salary of $42,205/year. The salary structure provides equitable experience-based salaries based on the Paralegal’s job responsibilities along with the knowledge, skills and abilities relevant to the position.

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.

 Fringe Benefits

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, fifteen days of vacation per year, four days of personal leave, a generous sick leave benefit, and four weeks of paid parental leave for eligible employees.

 Supervision

The position is subject to a probationary period of six months. The position is governed by the terms and conditions of the collective bargaining agreement between Legal Action and the AFSCME. Legal Action’s personnel policies will govern where no provision is covered by the collective bargaining agreement, and the personnel policies are subject to unilateral change by the Legal Action Board of Directors.

This position is supervised by Matthew Hayes, Director of the SeniorLAW Project.

Applicants must submit the following application materials via Legal Action of Wisconsin’s online applicant portal by using this link.

  • Resume
  • Cover letter that summarizes qualifications, skills, and experience
  • Provide the names and contact information for three professional references. (Current LAW staff members are not required to include references)

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 Matthew Hayes is the hiring manager for this position.

Deadline for Applications

This position will be open until filled. Legal Action encourages applicants to apply on or before Friday, July 8, 2022. Interviews will be conducted virtually.

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer

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