Staff Attorney, Fair Housing MEMPHIS AREA LEGAL SERVICES (MALS)

About Memphis Area Legal Services (MALS): MALS is the primary provider of civil legal representation for low income individuals and families in Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby, and Tip ton counties in Tennessee who are facing critical, sometimes life-threatening situations. Legal assistance is provided through advice and counsel, representation in court and administrative proceedings, and community education and outreach to vulnerable residents. Since 1970, MALS has grown to become a multi-faceted community law firm guided by values and principles that embody its commitment to equal access to justice for all.

About Fair Housing: Memphis Fair Housing Center (MFHC), a division of Memphis Area Legal Services, is a HUD-approved housing counseling agency offering a variety of services, including Mortgage Delinquency and Default/Loss Mitigation: identifying options to help clients save their homes from foreclosure; Fair Lending: identifying scams and predatory lending practices; Keep My Tennessee Home—Principal Reduction with Recast Program or Lien Extinguishment: guiding clients throughout the application process; and Post-Purchase/Non-Delinquent Counseling: assisting homeowners facing tax sales, homeowner associations’ liens, and other issues. MFHC provides legal advice and representation to homeowners who are victims of predatory lending, have been sued by the city or county government for delinquent taxes, have been sued by homeowner associations, and/or discriminated against based on race, gender, familial status, and/or disability.

Position Description: This position reports to the Managing Attorney of the Fair Housing Unit. It is responsible for providing foreclosure prevention counseling and legal services to owner-occupants of single family units with mortgage loans in default or in danger of default. This is a grant funded position.

Key Responsibilities:
The duties of the Staff Attorney, Fair Housing include:

Legal
• Conducts interviews of clients, including home visits, when appropriate; gives legal advice; and performs all other case management duties and responsibilities
• Conducts legal research; prepares and drafts legal documents, pleadings, motions, briefs, appeals, case memos, and referral memoranda, as appropriate
• Represents clients in state and federal court, before administrative agencies, and other appropriate forums on legal matters related to foreclosure prevention, the rescission of a foreclosure sale, the reinstatement of mortgage loans, and disputes of debts due to predatory lending practices
• Identifies systemic issues in areas that impact clients’ housing rights and strategies to address them, under the guidance and support of the Managing Attorney of Fair Housing Unit and/or the Chief Advocacy Officer
• Works with pro bono attorneys and private law firms as needed
• Participates in case acceptance decisions for legal services, in consultation with the Managing Attorney of Fair Housing
• Acts in accordance with the Code of Professional Responsibility
• Maintains strong working knowledge of all policies, procedures, laws, rules and regulations governing the office and carries out case handling and case management duties and responsibilities accordingly
• Other duties as required by the Managing Attorney of Fair Housing Unit Outreach
• Proactively reaches out to the community and other organizations and groups that support fair housing; makes presentations and participates in public speaking engagements
• Attends public events and community meetings to raise awareness about fair housing and to gather information about issues that may have an impact on home ownership
• Coordinates and implements community education projects including trainings for the public, community organizations, and social service agencies working in the area of fair and affordable housing
• Develops and maintains knowledge of legal, social service, and community-based
organizations that can make appropriate referrals
• Provides foreclosure prevention counseling services in accordance with the standards and practices applicable to HUD-certified housing counselors

Relationships/Partnerships
• Maintains and promotes a positive relationship with the local bar and judiciary
• Actively participates in bar activities, particularly the Memphis Bar Association and other bar associations in MALS’ service area
• Maintains and promotes a positive working relationship with unit staff and other members of MALS staff

Professional Development
• Stays up-to-date on the state of the law and procedures within area(s) of practice
• Actively participates in professional development, including state and national conferences, to increase knowledge about the law and legal issues

Administrative
• Maintains case files in accordance with case management procedures and protocols, time logs of daily activities, and a tickler system and calendaring of events for all client files
• Closes case files in a timely manner and submits to Managing Attorney of Fair Housing Unit for review
• Supervises law clerks, paralegals, and support staff as assigned

Other
• Collaborates with other staff as needed
• Performs other duties and responsibilities assigned by the Managing Attorney of Fair Housing Unit

Qualifications:
MALS is seeking an experienced litigator with a demonstrated commitment and passion for equal justice and legal assistance to low-income populations.
Applicants should have:
• License to practice law in Tennessee, admitted to federal practice, and a member of the Tennessee Bar
• Two to five years litigation experience in housing preferred
• Excellent oral and written communication skills
• Strong work ethic, analytical and organizational skills, and the ability to think and plan strategically
• Excellent interpersonal skills
• Ability to work in a fast-paced, multi-faceted, and high volume environment
• Experience in legal services, nonprofit environment, and knowledge of poverty law preferred
• Excellent computer skills
• Cultural competency in working with low-income clients from diverse backgrounds
• Experience in public speaking and training others on the law

Status: Exempt

Instructions: Please send a letter of interest, your resume, writing samples, and a list of three references to nmcgee@malsi.org; you will also be asked to complete an employment application. MALS is an E.O.E.