Austin Staff Attorney

JOB OPENING:  APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED AND REVIEWED ON A ROLLING BASIS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 8, 2017

 

AUSTIN STAFF ATTORNEY

 

Workers Defense Project is seeking a full-time Staff Attorney to join our Employment and Legal Services Program in Austin, Texas.

The ideal candidate will be a creative and collaborative attorney who is enthusiastic about the provision of legal services in a non-traditional setting. They will have experience working directly with clients and will have strong communication skills — in both English and Spanish — that allow them to build and maintain important relationships with WDP members, volunteers, staff, and community partners. They will also be committed to WDP’s identity as a member-based organization and eager to support WDP’s organizing efforts and the building of worker power in Texas.

About Workers Defense Project

Workers Defense Project is a statewide membership-based immigrant and workers’ rights organization that builds power for low-income workers in Texas. Since its founding in 2002, the organization has gained notoriety for its ability to translate direct services and grassroots organizing into concrete policy wins. The New York Times named WDP as “one of the most creative organizations for immigrant workers in the country.” WDP concentrates its efforts on winning better working conditions in the construction industry, which is one of the largest industries, and consequently most powerful special interest groups, in Texas. Nearly half of the Texas construction workforce is undocumented.

Many of WDP’s current member leaders first learned of WDP in seeking and obtaining legal services from WDP’s Employment and Legal Services program. Currently, the Employment and Legal Services program in Austin assists roughly 300 WDP members a year in evaluating and pursuing employment-related claims.

Job Responsibilities

The Austin Staff Attorney, who is based in Austin, Texas, is responsible for the following:

 

  • Representing workers in legal claims arising out of their employment, with an emphasis on claims for unpaid labor;
  • Supervising the provision of legal services through WDP’s weekly legal clinic (Tuesdays from 7:00-10:00 p.m.) including through participating in the clinic, assessing cases at various stages, and supervising staff, interns, and volunteers who participate in casework;

 

    • Supervising and participating in the recruitment and training of staff, interns, law students, and volunteers to support employment casework;
    • Developing and maintaining strong working relationships with local attorneys, government agencies, and other community organizations;

 

  • Coordinating with WDP staff to link the provision of legal services with organizing and policy objectives, including member leadership development;
  • Engaging in community education and outreach around workers’ rights; and
  • Additional tasks as assigned.

 

 

Qualifications

WDP is a growing organization, and we’re seeking candidates who are creative thinkers and problem solvers; possess the “people skills” needed to work successfully with diverse members, staff, and partners; and are able to move multiple projects forward without letting tasks fall through the cracks. While the Austin Staff Attorney will receive ample training, supervision, and support, the ideal candidate will possess the self-motivation and judgment necessary to grow into working with significant independence. You should also have:

 

  • Strong proficiency reading, writing, and speaking both English and Spanish;
  • Experience working directly with clients in the provision of legal services;

 

    • Proven ability to think strategically, act assertively when necessary, and speak confidently in public;
    • Experience managing different responsibilities, delegating tasks, and supporting the success of a team;

 

  • Experience in or willingness to learn and employ community-based tactics in resolving legal claims;
  • Ability to work irregular hours including some evenings and weekends;
  • J.D. and Texas bar admission in good standing (preferred), or willingness to take and pass the next Texas bar; and
  • An insured vehicle and valid driver’s license.

 

Knowledge of community organizing, employment law, immigration law, and labor issues are helpful but are not required. We value the qualifications described above over substantive knowledge of the areas in which we work.

Compensation is highly competitive and is negotiable depending on experience.

How to Apply

Interested applicants should apply right away. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis through September 8, 2017, and the posting will be removed from the WDP website once the position has been filled. To apply:

  • Please provide a cover letter, resume, and writing sample in .pdf format.
  • Please note in your cover letter (1) when you would be available to begin working with us and (2) your salary requirements.
  • Please send your application materials to both jobinquiries@workersdefense.org and shana@workersdefense.org, and include “Austin Staff Attorney” in the subject line.

As an equal opportunity employer, Workers Defense Project embraces diversity and does not discriminate in employment on the basis of age, race, color, creed, gender, religion, marital status, veteran’s status, national origin, disability, or sexual orientation. Women and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.

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