Attorney - Social Security & Public Benefits Specialist for Disabled Reentering Offenders

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Organization information
Organization name: 
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.
Street address: 
230 West Wells Street Room 800
City: 
Milwaukee
State: 
Wisconsin
ZIP: 
53203
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. has an opening for a full-time staff attorney who will specialize in obtaining Social Security and other public and health care benefits for mentally and physically disabled reentering criminal offenders. The attorney will be housed in Legal Action’s Milwaukee Office, 230 West Wells Street, Room 800, Milwaukee Wisconsin; Legal Action's Oshkosh Office, 404 N Main Street, Suite 702, Oshkosh, Wisconsin; or in Legal Action’s Green Bay Office, 201 West Walnut, Suite 203, Green Bay, Wisconsin. Applicants should specify their office preference (Milwaukee, Green Bay or Oshkosh) in their application cover letter.

LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN, INC.: Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is a non-profit law firm funded by the federal Legal Services Corporation and many other public and private sources. Legal Action provides civil legal services to low-income persons in Wisconsin's 39 southern counties. (The project to serve disabled reentering offenders will likely include work in northern Wisconsin as well.) Legal Action has offices in Milwaukee, Madison, Racine, Oshkosh, Green Bay, and La Crosse. In addition, Legal Action operates a statewide migrant farm workers project. Legal Action attorneys have expertise in a range of substantive law areas, but the majority of our direct representation is in the areas of law that affect poor people most -- housing; public benefits, work supports, and income maintenance; removing civil legal problems that are barriers to work; and family law for domestic violence victims. 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.

DISABLED OFFENDERS ECONOMIC SECURITY (DOES) PROJECT: Research has shown that disabled reentering offenders are more stable and less likely to reoffend and be homeless and that communities are safer when they get and keep Social Security and health care and other public benefits as quickly as possible upon release from prison. Legal Action has a contract from the State of Wisconsin's Department of Corrections for a project that provides lawyers to disabled reentering offenders so that they can obtain and keep Social Security and health care and other public benefits.

KEY RESPONSIBILITIES: Legal Action's DOES project attorneys provide quality and aggressive representation of disabled reentering offenders and perform all duties associated with such representation and the DOES project. This representation focuses on public benefits and Social Security law and includes but 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. DOES 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, project attorneys must follow DOES project operational protocol to receive client/case referrals, conduct intake, work with project clients, and other tasks. Project 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 also be called upon to provide training and other assistance to members of Legal Action's Volunteer Lawyer Project. Finally, each attorney attends 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.

TARGET POPULATION & WORK WITHIN CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES: DOES project attorneys work with persons who have been prosecuted for a criminal offense(s) and who are housed in one of Wisconsin=s correctional facilities or are under community supervision and who are mentally and/or physically disabled. Project attorneys deliver legal services in correctional facilities and prisons on a regular basis.

OTHER DUTIES: Other duties may be assigned from time to time.

TRAVEL REQUIREMENTS: The DOES project involves frequent travel for all project staff. Project attorneys -- regardless of the Legal Action office where they are housed -- typically travel at least two times per week to State of Wisconsin prisons and correctional facilities and offices, and other sites.

TRAINING: The amount and structure of training that is provided to DOES project attorneys is individually determined by the project attorney's experience and level of knowledge of Social Security and health care and other public benefits law.

SUPERVISION: Project attorneys must meet Legal Action's high standards of written and courtroom advocacy. The DOES project attorneys are expected to comply with Legal Action's existing attorney performance standards, personnel policies, and project operating protocol (to be developed) and the Project Director uses these standards, policies, and protocol to supervise legal work and overall job performance. DOES project attorneys participate in regular reviews of all case work with the Project Director and/or other project attorneys.

LEGAL ACTION PERSONNEL POLICIES & PROBATIONARY PERIOD: This position is governed by the Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. Personnel Policies which is subject to unilateral change by the Legal Action Board of Directors. DOES project attorneys are subject to a probationary period of up to one year. In addition, as with any Legal Action position, there is no guaranteed period of employment and employment is "at will", subject to termination at any time.

Requirements: 

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 consider the applicant's:
1/ knowledge and understanding of the civil legal problems and needs of disabled persons, reentering offenders, disabled reentering offenders, and/or low-income persons;
2/ commitment to providing free, high-quality, and aggressive civil legal services to such persons;
3/ prior legal or other work in the client community or in other firms and programs providing help to the poor;
4/ ability to communicate with persons in the client community who speak a language other than English as their principal language (e.g.: Spanish);
5/ cultural affinity with the client community;
6/ academic training;
7/ knowledge of and/or experience with state and federal law and procedure but particularly with Social Security and/or other public benefits law;
8/ ability to communicate orally and in writing in a clear and concise manner;
9/ ability to work harmoniously with others; and
10/ the nature and extent of other legal experience and knowledge.

As a condition of employment, the attorney must pass the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) Pending Charge and Conviction Security Check. To complete the Security Check, the attorney will be required to submit a completed Application Supplement Conviction Record form (DOC-1098D) to the DOC.

DOES Project employees are also required to adhere to a Fraternization Policy and Staff Sexual Assault Policy as a condition of employment.

To apply: 

Persons interested in applying for this position should submit the following items:
1/ a cover letter that indicates the name of this position and your preference of office location
2/ resume
3/ names and contact information for 3 references
4/ writing sample
5/ law school transcript (if a recent graduate)

Applicants may email these items to [email protected] or mail them to:

DOES Project Attorney Hiring Committee
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.
230 West Wells St., Room 800
Milwaukee, WI 53203

When using email, all attachments must be in PDF.

DEADLINE TO APPLY: 5:00 p.m. on April 22, 2019

Notes: 
Legal Action of Wisconsin (LAW) values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ and people with disabilities to apply. LAW invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experience might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.
Salary range: 
Starting salary depends upon experience and qualifications, with a minimum starting salary of $45,727. These positions include a full fringe benefit package with health, dental, life and long-term disability insurance, a retirement plan, plus four weeks o
Submission deadline: 
Monday, April 22, 2019