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AmeriCorps Fellow (36 positions) 2021-2022 – AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts

ADVOCATE FOR LEGAL RIGHTS IN 2021-2022
AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts (ALA-Massachusetts) is seeking 36 AmeriCorps fellows to serve in 2021-2022. This is a full-time position, requiring 1,700 hours over 46 weeks from September 9, 2021 to July 29 2022.

BACKGROUND
The mission of ALA-Massachusetts is to open doors to justice for clients, invigorate our partner sites, and cultivate the next generation of public leaders. Since its founding in 2005, more than 350 ALA-Massachusetts members have served 42,000 low-income clients inneed of legal assistance.

ADVOCATE RESPONSIBILITIES
ALA-Massachusetts advocates serve at organizations throughout Massachusetts which provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families.

Advocacy encompasses many different possible activities, and each placement with ALAMassachusetts is unique. Depending on the partner site’s needs, each member engages in some, but not all, of the following legal activities: initial screening for eligibility, client communications, case development, legal research, legal writing, hearings, and community outreach. Practice areas vary as well. Some of our members are considered generalists and learn multiple areas of law, and some specialize with a single focus. The range of possible law practice areas are:
– Housing
– Immigration
– Access to Government Benefits
– Employment
– Mental Health and Health Law
– Legal Problems of Elders
– Sealing of Criminal Records, and
– Family Law.

Advocates are supervised by legal professionals, and receive training on client-centered communications, legal ethics, and cultural competency. Under federal law, AmeriCorps members cannot engage in political, union or religious activities during service hours. ALAMassachusetts has a strong network of alumni who maintain connections long past the service year.

ELIGIBILITY AND PREFERRED QUALIFICATIONS
In order to be eligible for ALA-Massachusetts, candidates must:
– Be 17 years of age or over;
– Be U.S. citizen or permanent resident; and
– Have a minimum of a Bachelor’s degree;

ALA-Massachusetts is looking for applicants who have an interest in poverty law, a commitment to service, and strong communications skills. Spanish, Portuguese, HaitianCreole, and other foreign language speakers preferred. Because AmeriCorps advocates have recurring access to vulnerable populations, selected candidates will have to pass a criminal background check in order to serve.

Due to COVID-19, it is possible that the program will provide a hybrid of remote and inperson service. ALA-MA is committed to putting member and client safety first, and will. accommodate those who are high risk. Selected candidates must be living to Massachusetts or a neighboring state by September, 2021, despite the possibility of some remote service.

ADVOCATE BENEFITS
ALA-Massachusetts members will receive the following benefits in 2021-2022:
– Up to a $26,000 taxable living stipend;
– Individual health insurance;
– A $6,345 education award upon completion of service;
– The ability to place eligible student loans in forbearance, with interest paid upon completion of service; and
– Child care assistance, if eligible.

APPLICATION PROCESS
Applications are accepted online only and must include a cover letter, resume, and transcript. Applications will be accepted starting March 1, 2021, and the first round deadline for priority consideration is March 31, 2021. After that date, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Go to https://www.alamass.org/how-to-apply for a link to the application.

ALA-Massachusetts is competitive and cannot place every applicant. Candidates willing to work in any region of Massachusetts will have a higher probability of being interviewed. All placements are contingent on a federal funding award made in June, 2021.

ALA-Massachusetts is an equal opportunity project, available to all, without regard to race, color, national origin, disability, age, sex, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religion. The program is committed to the inclusion of people with disabilities as members and will provide reasonable accommodations for interviews and service placements upon request.

QUESTIONS?
Contact ala-mass@justicema.org.

AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts is a program of South Coastal Counties Legal Services, Inc. (SCCLS), a non-profit law firm providing legal assistance to low-income clients in Southeast Massachusetts. ALA Massachusetts is funded through AmeriCorps, administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, and housed at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, a subsidiary of SCCLS.