AmeriCorps Legal Advocate – SCCLS
Advocate for Legal Rights in 2023-2024
AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts (ALA-Massachusetts) is seeking 36 AmeriCorps fellows to serve in 2023-2024. This is a full-time position, requiring 1,700 hours over 46 weeks, from September 5, 2023, to July 19, 2024.
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 380 ALA-Massachusetts members have served 46,000 low-income clients in need of legal assistance.
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 ALA-Massachusetts is unique. Depending on the partner site’s needs, each ALA-Massachusetts 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. 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:
- Access to Government Benefits
- 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 and cultural competency. ALA-Massachusetts has a strong network of alumni who connect long past the service year. Under federal law, AmeriCorps members cannot engage in political, union or religious activities during service hours.
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. Applicants who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian-Creole, and other foreign language speakers are preferred. Because AmeriCorps advocates have recurring access to vulnerable populations, selected candidates will have to pass a three-part criminal background check in order to serve.
Due to COVID-19, it is possible that the program will provide a hybrid of remote and in-person service. ALA-MA is committed to putting member and client safety first and will accommodate those who are high risk. Despite the possibility of some remote service, selected candidates must be living in Massachusetts or a neighboring state by September 2023.
ALA-Massachusetts members will receive the following benefits in 2023-2024:
- Up to a $32,000 taxable living stipend;
- Individual health insurance;
- A $6,495 education award upon completion of service;
- The ability to place eligible student loans in forbearance, with interest paid upon completion of service; and
- Childcare assistance, if eligible.
Applications will be accepted online only and must include a resume and transcript. Applications will be accepted starting March 1, 2023, and the first round deadline for priority consideration is March 31, 2023. After that date, applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until all positions are filled. Go to https://www.ala-mass.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, 2023.
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.
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.