Staff Attorney - Impact Litigation and Systemic Advocacy

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Job location
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.
Street address: 
361 S. Main Street
New York
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® (LawNY) has an immediate opening for an impact litigation staff attorney. This position will join a systemic litigation team that will collaborate with all other practice areas at LawNY to conduct systemic litigation and appeals. The team will work to address long-term and widespread injustices that affect large groups of our clients, with a particular focus on challenging systemic violations that disproportionately affect minoritized and marginalized people.

This position is program wide and will collaborate with all of the LawNY offices. This position can be located in any LawNY office. Moreover, LawNY offers a hybrid work schedule of up to three remote days per week during an employee’s first six months, and up to fully remote thereafter, consistent with job responsibilities. This position will require periodic in-person appearances and some travel across the organization’s service area.

Position Summary - Systemic Litigation Staff Attorney
LawNY seeks to fill an immediate opening for a staff attorney position to focus on multi-faceted advocacy strategies to achieve systemic change within a wide range of poverty law areas.

This position may carry cases within the fields of housing, foreclosure, family law, consumer law, employment law, civil rights, and other areas of practice. The applicant should also be prepared, with training, to litigate cases in a variety of forums, including New York state County and Supreme Courts, federal district courts, bankruptcy courts, and administrative forums. The ideal candidate will have experience with an array of advocacy tools, including complex litigation, appellate experience, community power-building, public education, and media campaigns, but applicants without this experience are encouraged to apply.

The applicant must have a strong foundational understanding of the root causes of poverty and the ways in which poverty and racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression are intertwined. The ideal candidate will have an understanding of the power and the limitations of the law in addressing systemic harms.

We expect those that fill this position to grow and adapt their practice to the needs of the communities we serve and of the organization. We place an emphasis on the ability to practice in multiple forums, across multiple practice areas, and using a variety of tactics for effecting change, with the expectation that some of these skills can be developed after starting the position. We encourage applicants with a wide range of substantive legal experience to apply.

This position reports to a Litigation Supervising Attorney.

Salary and Benefits
Salary is competitive and is set on a standardized organizational salary scale based on years of job experience. The annual salary for a Staff Attorney with zero years of legal experience is $58,000.

We provide a superlative package of fringe benefits including:

- 94% employer paid health insurance, with significant HSA contributions to offset high deduction plans
- 100% employer paid dental and disability insurance
- $50,000 automatic life insurance
- Remote Work Policy: New staff are able to work from home up to 3 days per week during their 6 month probationary period with manager approval. This increases to 5 days per week once successfully finished with a probationary period with manager approval.

LawNY is committed to providing a work-life balance to their employees. We encourage and support a 35 hour work week to ensure our employees have this balance.

We also provide a very generous leave package including, in the first year of employment, 20 days of vacation plus 13.5 holidays and two floating holidays. Employees also receive 12 sick days and five personal days per year. New parents receive 20 days of paid new parent leave.

LawNY participates in the Legal Services Corporation loan repayment assistance program and is also a qualifying public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) employer.

Organization Information
Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY®) is a not-for-profit law firm providing civil legal services to low-income clients in a fourteen county area of western New York. LawNY® was created by a merger of three regional legal service programs in 2004, and today has over 170 employees, including attorneys, paralegals, and a legal support team who work closely across areas of specialization to bring a holistic approach to addressing legal issues affecting our clients and community. LawNY® has seven fully staffed field offices in Bath, Elmira, Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown, Olean and Rochester, several satellite offices across Western New York, and a business office in Rochester.

LawNY® is committed to equitable inclusion across race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, sex, religion, economic circumstances, ethnicity, national origin, and culture. We are increasingly committed to creating a law firm where race equity, diversity and cultural competency are integral components of our work, from client advocacy to internal operations. We are actively seeking applicants whose work incorporates this perspective and whose lived and professional experience contributes to sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe.


Responsibilities: These are the most significant responsibilities and primary functions of the position.

- Litigating complex civil litigation cases in federal and state courts to challenge a range of injustices
- Investigating and developing factual legal claims; preparing pleadings and motions; conducting discovery, presenting oral arguments; and handling trials
- Under the direction of the Director of Litigation and the Litigation Supervising Attorney, working with community partners and staff across the firm to create advocacy campaign strategies
- Provide co-counseling or other litigation support to LawNY advocates
- Developing resources for litigation best practices, including document libraries and brief banks; and conducting trainings on discrete aspects of litigation and advocacy
- Developing and maintaining relationships with community partners, and particularly groups and individuals who are most directly affected by the legal issues we are seeking to address
- Working to be aware of and to mitigate the ways that power dynamics and implicit bias, including job title, race, gender, and other factors may affect their relationships with colleagues and clients.
- Maintaining a high level of professional competence through attendance at training sessions, seminars and conferences and individual efforts to keep abreast of current developments in the area of poverty law as well as issues affecting low-income people.

Qualifications: These are the traits, attributes, attitudes, and skills that speak to the candidate’s ability to succeed in the position. While no one candidate will possess all of the requirements listed, the ideal candidate will have many of the following qualifications. LawNY encourages each candidate to think about their own personal knowledge, skills, and experience, as well professional skills and experience, in relation to the list of qualifications.

- (Required) Admitted to practice and in good standing in New York State, eligible for admission without examination, or willing to take the next available Bar examination.
- Experience with litigation and/or appeals in state and federal court and/or administrative forums.
- Commitment to a multi-faceted strategy for challenging systemic injustices, including an understanding of the need to collaborate with the communities most affected by the strategy.
- Excellent writing, research, and communications skills, and the ability to engage in complex legal analysis.
- Ability to work under deadlines and manage multiple tasks.
- Ability to think creatively, be strategic, exercise good judgment, and self-motivate.
- Race and identity competency, and an ability to cultivate and develop inclusive and equitable working relationships with staff, clients and community members.
- An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and their impact on the communities we serve.
- Experience in at least one area of poverty law.
- Mission-aligned experience (profession or lived) partnering with and advocating in low-wealth communities and communities of color
- Fluency in Spanish is a plus.

To apply: 

To apply, submit your cover letter, resume, and three references through LawNY®’s BambooHR platform ( References will not be contacted until after any interview, and will not be contacted without your knowledge. In your cover letter, please explain how you think your lived and/or professional experience or background has prepared you to advocate for systemic change on behalf of marginalized people, and which part of the job as described will pose the greatest challenge.

Applications for this position will close on March 24, 2023. Please apply before then for full consideration. The job will remain posted until filled. If not filled by this date, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. You will receive a confirmation email when your application has been received on our HR platform. LawNY® will contact you to inform you whether you have been offered an interview.

Questions or Accommodations? Contact Sandra Coyne, Deputy Director of Operations at [email protected].

This position is exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY) is an equal opportunity employer. LawNY® strongly encourages applications from Black, Indigenous and People of Color, women, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities and persons from other underrepresented groups whose background may contribute to working in and sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected and safe. LawNY welcomes applications regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other consideration protected by law.

Equal Opportunity Employer
Salary range: 
starting at $58,000, dependent upon experience
Submission deadline: 
Friday, March 24, 2023