Assistant Director of Advocacy for the ACE Program (2068)

Maryland Legal Aid

Location

Baltimore, MD

Category

Attorney

Posted

September 21, 2022

Type

Full-Time

Description/Duties

Assistant Director of Advocacy for the ACE Program

Full Time

Statewide Advocacy Support, Baltimore, MD, US

Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) announces a full-time Assistant Director of Advocacy for the Access to Counsel in Evictions (ACE) position in the Baltimore City Office’s Statewide Advocacy Support Unit. This is a unique opportunity for a leader who is passionate about social and economic justice to lead the implementation of this statewide, ground-breaking law work that will provide a right to legal assistance and representation to tenants facing eviction or termination of their housing subsidy.

This Assistant Director will handle the day-to-day coordination and implementation of MLA’s implementation of the access to counsel in evictions program including working with MLA’s staff, other legal service providers, community partners, the Judiciary, policy makers and the Maryland Legal Services Corporation.  This individual will report to MLA’s Director of Advocacy for Housing and Community Development, physically located in Baltimore while providing statewide support to MLA legal staff.

General Information: As part of 2022 state legislation, Maryland’s low-income tenants are guaranteed counsel in evictions proceedings, and Phase I of this new right is currently being piloted in the state. MLA is well-positioned to be a leader in this statewide effort, and the organization’s success hinges on the excellent implementation of Phase 1 of the effort to provide access to counsel for those facing possible eviction. For this purpose, MLA seeks an organized, knowledgeable, collaborative individual who can develop MLA’s approach to this work and execute its implementation.  This includes supporting and training attorneys who may not yet have deep background in this work, and building the knowledge and skills of attorneys who may have experience in areas of law and resolving legal problems related to housing and community development.

The position includes advocacy, training, and supervision, along with in the need to collaborate with colleagues on data collection, analysis and dissemination.  For example, the Assistant Director will coordinate the creation of curriculum and training materials for new attorneys and other MLA legal staff around the state who will provide legal assistance and representation.  In addition to training, this individual will provide critical support to MLA’s legal team to assist with legal issues, trials and appeals. The Assistant Director of Advocacy for the Access to Counsel in Evictions Program will work closely with the Director of Advocacy for Housing and others to develop motion templates, provide guidance to attorneys on cases and create a community of advocates working on providing the right to counsel in evictions.

The training elements of this position will include sessions on housing issues and the impact that loss of housing has on Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, along with other resources.  The individual will integrate the access to counsel in evictions work with MLA’s current Task Force structure that builds knowledge on housing and community development, and other related legal issues, and will seek to identify new ways to ensure that MLA is a thought leader in this area of law and service to the public.

This individual will also support, train and provide supervision of three Equal Justice Works (EJW) Attorney Fellows and one (EJW) Organizer Fellow to implement an innovative approach to eviction prevention and defense in collaboration with designated MLA offices. Further, this individual will collaborate internally and externally to collect and analyze data so that MLA’s approach to this work is data-driven and can be easily communicated both internally to colleagues and externally to thought partners, community partners, policy makers and the public.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Connect with right to counsel in evictions programs throughout the country to ascertain best practices in regard to program structure and performance, and report these to the Director of Advocacy for Housing and Community Development and MLA leadership for the purpose of making recommendations to enhance MLA’s approach to this work;
  • Work with MLA leadership and other thought and community partners to develop and meet priorities and program goals;
  • Alongside the Director of Advocacy for Housing and Community Development, train, mentor, and support MLA’s attorneys and Attorney Fellows in providing legal advice and representation to tenants seeking counsel while facing eviction.
  • Support MLA attorneys statewide on client representation, appeals, trials, and other civil litigation related to providing a right to counsel in evictions;
  • Develop training materials, handbooks, website (or other digital format), and motion templates;
  • Connect with programs and the Judiciary to coordinate training and support;
  • Support MLA’s EJW Organizer Fellow and community based groups to work with and build capacity among tenant organizations, including educating tenants about their right to form tenant council organizational issues as well as creating partnerships between legal services, social services, the Judiciary, relevant state and local agencies and rental assistance resources;
  • Create a network of advocates defending tenants against eviction using a variety of media platforms, such as Teams, Slack, regular Zoom calls/meetings, etc. and leverage MLA’s already existing Task Forces for engaging colleagues in this work;
  • Provide direct representation or co-counseling as needed, including for appeals;
  • Keep up with and advocate for legislative and regulatory changes as appropriate while adapting the work to a fluid regulatory environment and communicating the legislative and regulatory changes to colleagues;
  • Prepare reports as needed for both internal communication and funder compliance;
  • Other duties as assigned.

Skills/Qualifications

Qualifications: 

  • Licensed to practice law and in good standing in the state of Maryland;
  • Experience with civil procedure, courtroom protocol, and rules of evidence;
  • Experience in housing law including courtroom and trial experience;
  • Familiarity with affordable housing programs including public, subsidized housing;
  • Demonstrated attention to detail and ability to track and consistently meet deadlines;
  • Demonstrated ability to train, supervise, and mentor volunteer attorneys and maintain quality program control;
  • Demonstrated commitment to understanding and addressing issues facing low-income and vulnerable individuals;
  • Strong communication skills, writing skills and ability to motivate, lead and collaborate;
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with diverse groups of people;
  • Demonstrated understanding of the impact of race, bias, discrimination, and differential treatment of communities disproportionately composed of Black, Indigenous, and people of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ or other sexual minorities, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, limited English speaking persons, and others who have been historically marginalized in rental housing markets and in the law and justice system;
  • Demonstrated ability to handle multiple tasks and meet deadlines;
  • Ability to analyze information quickly and work well in a fast-paced environment;
  • Creative problem solving and mediation skills;
  • Proficiency with technology including MS Word, case management systems (i.e., Legal Server), Excel, and Outlook.

Compensation

Schedule, Travel, Salary and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $78,987.00 – $103,105.00. In addition, MLA provides employees with a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, 4 weeks paid time off, paid sick leave, 14 annual paid holidays, and more! Future flexibility regarding a hybrid work arrangement is a possibility after the onboarding period.

How To Apply