Staff Attorney-Volunteer Lawyers Project, Milwaukee Office

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Job location
633 W. Wisconsin Avenue
`Suite 2000
Milwaukee, WI 53203
United States
Organization information
Organization name: 
Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc.
Street address: 
633 W. Wisconsin Avenue, Suite 2000
Job type: 
Legal - Civil
Position Description: 

SUMMARY: Legal Action of Wisconsin has an immediate opening for a full-time Staff Attorney to work at the Milwaukee Office. This position will coordinate and oversee all operations of the Consumer Debt Defense project (CDD). The CDD is a court based limited scope pro bono project that represents consumers when they are sued by third-party debt buyers. In addition to actively litigating project cases, the attorney will train, recruit, and supervise pro bono attorneys and law students.

LEGAL ACTION OF WISCONSIN, INC: Legal Action is a 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 services 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, Legal Action operates a statewide farmworker project. Legal Action attorneys have expertise in a range of substantive areas, but most direct representation 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 legal aid work and provide high-quality and zealous representation and maintain a direct service caseload on behalf of individual clients and engage in law reform litigation and other impact work.

Legal Action of Wisconsin believes that equal justice under law can only be achieved through the collaboration of a diverse staff. We strongly encourage applications from people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA+, people with disabilities, women, 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 Ave. 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 Legal Action’s administrative staff, the SeniorLAW Project, the Low-Income Taxpayer Clinic, and a Volunteer Lawyers Project. Two Milwaukee office 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.

Legal Action supports flexible work arrangements that meet the goals of the organization and the employee. All employees are eligible to request flexible work, including flextime, compressed work week, and remote work.

Legal Action is seeking a full-time attorney to provide coordinate and oversee a court based pro bono project focusing on enforcing consumer rights in third-party debt buyer cases. This includes training and recruiting volunteer attorneys and law students. The project will handle cases in both Milwaukee and Waukesha County. Responsibilities will include:

• Recruit, train, schedule, and supervise volunteer attorneys and law students to represent clients and staff pro bono clinics;
• Provide high-quality and aggressive representation in consumer law cases to preserve income and assets for clients;
• Create training materials and plan and implement training of pro bono attorneys, including on-demand video trainings and other digital materials;
• Work closely with the VLP Director and LAW staff to set and implement pro bono priorities informed by client and firm needs;
• Undertake impact work, that is, work that has an impact on groups of low-income persons or the systems that effect the low-income community;
• Perform all duties associated with such representation as defined by our attorney performance standards and participate in regular case review with a supervisor;
• Stay current with the areas of law that pertain to the low-income community as they change and develop, particularly in the area of consumer law;
• Share responsibility for and contribute to the development and maintenance of good working relationships with community groups and with state and local bar associations and others;
• Perform administrative and recordkeeping duties;
• Serve on our Consumer Law Priority Committee;
• Work effectively with clients from a wide range of backgrounds;
• Supervise interns or paralegals; and
• Other duties that may be assigned from time to time.

Our Milwaukee Office has two salary tiers available for Staff Attorney.

The Tier 1 Staff Attorney salary ladder for full-time employment is as follows:

Starting $55,000 Step 20 $102,000
Step 1 $57.500 Step 21 $103,000
Step 2 $60,000 Step 22 $104,000
Step 3 $62,500 Step 23 $105,000
Step 4 $65,500 Step 24 $106,000
Step 5 $68,500 Step 25 $107,000
Step 6 $71,500 Step 26 $108,000
Step 7 $74,500 Step 27 $109,000
Step 8 $77.500 Step 28 $110,000
Step 9 $80,500 Step 29 $111,000
Step 10 $83,500 Step 30 $112,000
Step 11 $86,000 Step 31 $113,120
Step 12 $88,500 Step 32 $114,240
Step 13 $90,500 Step 33 $115,360
Step 14 $92,500 Step 34 $116,480
Step 15 $94,500 Step 35 $117,600
Step 16 $96,000 Step 36 $118,720
Step 17 $97,500 Step 37 $119,840
Step 18 $99,000 Step 38 $120,960
Step 19 $100,500 Step 39 $122,080
Step 40 $123,200

Generally, Tier 1 Staff Attorneys advance a step on the Tier 1 salary ladder on their anniversary date.

The Tier 2 Staff Attorney salary ladder for full-time employment is as follows:

Starting $58,750 Step 20 $109,275
Step 1 $61,438 Step 21 $110,350
Step 2 $64,125 Step 22 $111,425
Step 3 $66,813 Step 23 $112,500
Step 4 $70,038 Step 24 $113,575
Step 5 $73,263 Step 25 $114,650
Step 6 $76,488 Step 26 $115,725
Step 7 $79,713 Step 27 $116,800
Step 8 $82,938 Step 28 $117,875
Step 9 $86,163 Step 29 $118,950
Step 10 $89,388 Step 30 $120,025
Step 11 $92,075 Step 31 $121,225
Step 12 $94,763 Step 32 $122,426
Step 13 $96,913 Step 33 $123,626
Step 14 $99,063 Step 34 $124,826
Step 15 $101,213 Step 35 $126,026
Step 16 $102, 825 Step 36 $127,227
Step 17 $104,438 Step 37 $128,427
Step 18 $106,050 Step 38 $129,627
Step 19 $107,663 Step 39 $130,827
Step 40 $132,028

Generally, Tier 2 Staff Attorneys advance a step on the Tier 2 salary ladder on their anniversary date.

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.

All staff attorneys are required to utilize and follow Legal Action’s attorney performance standards in performing their duties.

Tier 1 Staff Attorneys are:
1. Relatively new to providing legal services to low-income clients.
2. Closely supervised and practices law under close control and structure.
3. 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:
1. At least 3 years of post-J.D. experience that includes work relevant to the skills required for staff attorneys and;
2. Skills and abilities to:
a. consistently perform most Tier 1 Staff Attorney duties with minimal assistance or direction, high level of efficiency and/or independent initiative, and less immediate, regular supervision than a Tier 1 Staff Attorney;
b. consistently carry a caseload of substantial size and complexity suitable to an experienced attorney;
c. 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
3. 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: Legal Action’s Salary Administration Plan includes additional pay of up to $4,800 annually for those employees who are fluent in Spanish or Hmong and utilize their language skills in performing their work.

Legal Action attorneys receive a full fringe benefit package which currently includes employer-paid health and dental insurance for employee, spouse, and family, and life and long-term disability insurance; voluntary employee-paid income protection benefits for employees and their dependents, a retirement plan contribution; generous sick leave accrual; and four weeks of vacation leave and four days of personal leave per year. (Legal Action employees with a spouse may be required to contribute $200/month to the health insurance premium if the spouse has other health insurance available.)

Up to $1,200 in relocation expenses may be available for reimbursement.

This position will report to Maggie Niebler-Brown, Volunteer Lawyers Project.

The position is subject to a probationary period of up to one year.


Required – The following qualifications are required at hire:
• Juris doctorate degree.
• Admission to the Wisconsin Bar upon hire.
• A commitment to civil legal aid and to providing quality and aggressive representation to low-income people.
• Knowledge of state and federal law and procedure.
• A high standard of written and courtroom advocacy.
• Ability and willingness to engage key stakeholders, private attorneys, and law students.
• Ability to communicate both orally and in writing in a clear and concise manner.
• Ability to work harmoniously with others.
• Ability to handle and prioritize many pressing matters in various locations.
• Ability and willingness to travel throughout Legal Action’s service area to staff clinics during weekends and evenings.
• A deep understanding of the needs of low-income litigants.
• A commitment to participate in Legal Action’s efforts to become a diverse, equitable, and inclusive law firm and to purposefully practice race equity alignment legal work.

Desired – The following qualifications are desired/preferred at hire:
• Prior legal experience in civil legal aid or other relevant experience in the client community or in other programs that serve low-income people.
• Three to five years of legal experience.
• Ability to communicate with persons in the client community who speak a language other than English as their principal language (e.g., Spanish or Hmong), and cultural affinity with the client community.

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 bivalent 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.

The position involves sedentary work, working in a stationary position for an extended period, operating a computer, and using a telephone. Specific vision abilities required for this job
include close vision of a computer screen. The position may require driving a motor vehicle while seated for short trips and/or extensive travel. The position requires occasional reaching, bending, kneeling, and stooping to retrieve assorted items and materials and the need to exert up to 10 pounds of force to lift, carry, push, or otherwise move objects.

To apply: 

Applicants must submit the following application materials via Legal Action of Wisconsin’s online applicant portal by accessing the following link:

• Cover letter emphasizing your qualifications for the position
• Resume
• Law school transcript (only required for applicants who graduated in 2021 or later)
• A legal writing sample
• Names and contact information for three professional references

Please submit and upload all the documents required. If the required documents are not submitted prior to the commencement of hiring, it will impact if we are able to offer an interview.

Maggie Niebler-Brown, Volunteer Lawyers Project Program Manager, is the hiring manager for this position.

The position will be open until filled. To ensure early consideration for this position, please submit application materials as soon as possible. We have a 10-day minimum posting period. We encourage applicants to apply before Friday, May 26, 2023.

Legal Action of Wisconsin, Inc. is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer
Salary range: 
Please see Salary in Position Description section.
Submission deadline: 
Friday, May 26, 2023