Equal Justice Fellows, Access to Counsel in Evictions (ACE) Program – SAS (2072)

Maryland Legal Aid

Location

Baltimore, MD

Category

Attorney

Posted

September 21, 2022

Type

Full-Time, Temporary

Description/Duties

Equal Justice Works Fellow

Full TimeProfessional

Statewide Advocacy Support, Baltimore, MD, US

 

Maryland Legal Aid (MLA) announces three (3) full-time, two-year Equal Justice Works (EJW) attorney EJW Fellowships (EJW Fellows) who will work closely with MLA colleagues to implement this statewide, ground-breaking law that will provide a right to legal assistance and representation to tenants facing eviction or termination of their housing subsidy. The EJW Fellowships are immediately available for hire.

The EJW Fellows’ work will be directly supervised by the Assistant Director of Advocacy for the Access to Counsel in Evictions (ACE) Program and overseen by the Director of Advocacy for Housing and Community Development and in MLA’s Statewide Advocacy Support (SAS) Unit. These are two-year positions are funded by Equal Justice Works, Maryland Legal Services Corporation and MLA.

Each EJW Fellow will also be assigned initially to one of the 3 larger jurisdictions where implementation of the ACE program will begin: Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Prince George’s County. EJW Fellows will integrate their work with MLA’s ACE work in the offices where they are assigned, receiving some level of supervision by the office Chief Attorneys in collaboration with the Assistant Director of Advocacy. But their primary supervisor is the Assistant Director of Advocacy for the ACE Program.

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 or housing subsidy termination. The focus areas for year one of MLA’s ACE work are Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, Frederick County and the Upper Eastern Shore. However, the ACE program will expand to cover the entire state as the phases of implementation occur over the next two years.

For this purpose, MLA seeks three organized, eager, collaborative individuals as EJW Attorney Fellows who can assist in the development of MLA’s approach to this work and help execute its implementation.  Excellent candidates are attorneys interested in serving low-income clients, specifically addressing tenants’ needs to promote housing stability and providing tenants’ access to counsel as outlined in newly established Maryland State law. In addition, the EJW Fellow candidates will have an interest in building their knowledge and skills to resolve housing-related legal problems and learn about national best practices through trainings provided by MLA and Equal Justice Works, which is providing programmatic support and training for the EJW Attorney Fellows through its Housing Justice Program.

MLA’s and EJW’s Collaboration to Provide Access to Counsel in Evictions

To implement the work noted above, MLA has been selected by Equal Justice Works as an implementing partner of Equal Justice Works’ Housing Justice Program. Equal Justice Works is the nation’s largest facilitator of opportunities in public interest law. The Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program is a program comprised of Attorney EJW Fellows and EJW Organizer Fellows who, over the course of a two-year EJW Fellowship term, will be part of a targeted initiative to address the justice gap in Maryland through responsive, context-specific innovations and interventions focused on housing justice. Specifically, EJW Attorney Fellows and Organizer Fellows will serve at one of the participating community-based and/or legal services organizations, and work as a unified front to fight a variety of injustices related to housing instability and involuntary displacement in Maryland, particularly due to eviction.

An Equal Justice Works EJW Fellowship is an opportunity to transform your passion for equal justice into a career. As a Housing Justice Program Fellow, you will be part of a prestigious program that, since its inception in 2019 in Virginia, has successfully improved housing stability in served communities by preventing more than 4,000 tenants from being evicted and conducting education and outreach efforts for more than 40,000 people. Most critically, former EJW Fellows of the Housing Justice Program helped generate momentum for tenants to have the right to be represented by counsel in housing cases – a legal right to counsel – something that seemed inconceivable in Virginia just two years ago. Building on the success of EJW Fellows in Virginia, Equal Justice Works is expanding the Housing Justice Program to Maryland.

As a Fellow, you will develop experience and skills to be a leader in social justice while promoting tenant protections and working directly with households experiencing housing instability. As a cohort, EJW Fellows are expected to actively participate in peer-to-peer learning and required trainings delivered by Equal Justice Works and training partners throughout the year.  In addition, EJW Fellows will attend Equal Justice Works’ Leadership Development Training in October 2022 and 2023.

Each selected Fellow will be employed by Maryland Legal Aid to fulfill all EJW Fellowship duties at a local and/or state level. Each Fellow will report to MLA’s Assistant Director of Advocacy for the Access to Counsel in Evictions (ACE) Program for day-to-day supervision, mentoring and performance evaluation.

Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Providing direct legal services addressing civil legal issues that arise from housing instability for low-income households, especially in eviction/unlawful detainer and housing subsidy termination cases – legal screening, advice, brief service, full-scope representation, and pro bono assistance through legal clinics and referrals. MLA will initially focus on Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Prince George’s County, Frederick County and the Upper Eastern Shore in year one of this work.
  • Maintaining an active caseload of representation and advice cases that may require in-person or remote court appearances, depending on the jurisdiction.
  • Participating in MLA’s day of court program to provide advice and representation to low-income tenants in collaboration with other legal services programs.
  • Conducting community outreach to reach clients in need of services.
  • Identifying larger trends and issues for clients and working with MLA and other colleagues to develop strategies and research national best practices to respond to those trends and needs.
  • Building key stakeholder relationships in furtherance of the EJW Fellowship objectives.
  • Creating, fostering, and cultivating partnerships among legal services providers, tenant associations, community social services providers, and other community-based entities.
  • Strategizing, planning and conducting training and outreach to communities and community organizations in furtherance of housing stability and affordability for low-income community members; engaging in peer-to-peer learning with other Equal Justice Works Housing Justice Program EJW Fellows.
  • Actively contributing to and participating in Housing Justice Program cohort activities (resource exchanges, mandatory webinars and conference calls, and training events, including Equal Justice Works Leadership Development Training in fall 2022 and 2023).
  • Exercising leadership competencies as an Equal Justice Works Fellow.
  • Contributing to required programmatic reporting and overall program evaluation.

Skills/Qualifications

Qualifications: 

  • Licensed to practice law in Maryland with 0 – 3 years’ experience.
  • Commitment to social justice.
  • Excellent writing, communication, interpersonal, and organizational skills, with ability to communicate effectively to diverse populations.
  • Strong oral and negotiation skills and a demonstrated ability to collaborate and work as a team member.
  • Prior experience in managing independent projects or assignments.
  • Experience with delivering training and presentations a plus.
  • Work with diverse economic, social and cultural populations including having worked in a law school clinic, externship, summer, or other relevant practice experience.
  • Ability to speak a second language preferred.
  • Knowledge of housing benefits law and/or experience with housing and benefits agencies.
  • An ability to work collaboratively in a multidisciplinary setting to facilitate a coordinated community response and provide holistic services to clients.
  • Creativity and flexibility in solving problems and meeting challenges.

NOTE: all EJW Fellows are expected to fulfill the complete duration of the EJW Fellowship and will be required to sign the EJW Fellowship Agreement with Equal Justice Works.

Compensation

Schedule, Travel, Salary and Benefits

The salary range for this position is $57, 900.00 – $92, 060.00. In addition, MLA provides employees with a generous benefits package that includes health, dental, vision, life insurance, a 401(k) retirement plan, 2 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. Eligibility to apply for the Maryland Janet L. Hoffman Loan Assistance Repayment Program (LARP). 

How To Apply

Application Process

Maryland Legal Aid is committed to equity, justice and inclusion. As an equal opportunity employer, MLA seeks to hire employees from diverse backgrounds and perspectives that are reflective of the communities we serve, including people with disabilities, people of color, women and members of traditionally underrepresented groups.

Apply for Equal Justice Works Fellow using the link below:

https://workforcenow.adp.com/mascsr/default/mdf/recruitment/recruitment.html?cid=9156664a-1a51-4897-90b5-51213a0ce138&ccId=19000101_000001&jobId=444383&lang=en_US&source=CC4