AmeriCorps Legal Advocates of Massachusetts (ALA-Massachusetts) is seeking 36 college and law school graduates to serve as AmeriCorps Advocates in 2019-2020. This is a full-time service position, requiring 1,700 hours over 46 weeks from September 9, 2019 to July 24, 2020.
Our AmeriCorps advocates serve at partner organizations throughout Massachusetts which provide legal assistance to low-income individuals and families. Our advocates are supervised by legal professionals throughout the year, and receive training on working with low-income clients, legal ethics, writing, as well as substantive legal issues in all of our practice areas. ALA-Massachusetts advocates are exposed to a wide range of legal activities including initial client contact and eligibility determinations, case development, legal research and writing, hearings and appeals. Our AmeriCorps advocates also have the opportunity to do education, outreach, and service projects in the community. Under federal rules, members cannot engage in political, union or religious activities while serving in an AmeriCorps program.
Housing is a primary focus for many of our partner organizations, but placements are made in a variety of civil law practice areas, including:
• Access to Government Benefits
• Income Maintenance
• Mental Health and Health Law
• Legal Problems of Elders
• Sealing of Criminal Records, and
• Family Law.
ALA-Massachusetts has been funded by the Corporation for National and Community Service since 2005. Since we first began, more than 300 AmeriCorps advocates have served 40,000 low-income clients in need of legal assistance. Last year, our AmeriCorps advocates provided legal assistance to 6,996 low-income families and individuals. We have a strong network of members and alumni who maintain connections throughout the service year and beyond.
The program is looking for potential advocates who have an interest in poverty law, a commitment to public service, and strong communications skills. Spanish, Portuguese, Haitian-Creole, Chinese, Vietnamese, and other foreign language speakers 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.
In order to be eligible for ALA-Massachusetts, candidates must be:
• 17 years of age or over
• A U.S. citizen or permanent resident
• Have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree.
Advocate benefits for the 2019-2020 year include:
• A $26,000 taxable living stipend
• Health insurance
• A $6,095 education award upon completion of service
• The ability to place eligible student loans in forbearance with interest paid upon completion of service
• Child care assistance, if eligible
• Hands-on, supervised exposure to the practice of poverty law
• A national service experience.
ALA-Massachusetts is highly competitive and we receive far more applications to serve that we are able to select. Candidates willing to work in any region in Massachusetts will have a higher probability of being selected for interviews.
Go to https://www.ala-mass.org/how-to-apply to find out how to apply. Applications must be submitted online and must include a cover letter, resume, and transcript. Applications will be accepted starting in February, 2019 until the positions are filled. The program is dependent on a federal funding award made in June.
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 private non-profit law firm providing legal assistance to low-income clients in Southeast Massachusetts. ALA-Massachusetts is funded through the Corporation for National and Community Service, administered by the Massachusetts Service Alliance, and housed at the Justice Center of Southeast Massachusetts, a wholly owned subsidiary of SCCLS.