Tag Archive for: Community Legal Aid

Staff Attorney, Fair Housing – CLA

Community Legal Aid (CLA), the non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to eligible low-income and elderly clients in Western and Central Massachusetts, seeks an attorney to join an enthusiastic, skillful team to work on housing discrimination matters. CLA has over 150 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities.

CLA seeks a fair housing attorney to work in its Worcester office. The attorney will raise housing discrimination claims on behalf of tenants filing affirmative cases, defending against evictions, and seeking to access or maintain public and subsidized housing. The attorney will regularly participate in CLA’s housing court lawyer-for-the day program. The attorney will also assist in the preparation of periodic grant reports.

QUALIFICATIONS: Recent law school graduates and more experienced attorneys are eligible to apply. Experience in fair housing and/or landlord-tenant work strongly preferred. Fluency in another language preferred, as is demonstrated experience working with diverse communities. Strong interpersonal skills and an ability to work in a collaborative setting are important.

COMPENSATION: The starting salary for this position is $71,500, which is based on a union scale and adjusted upward depending on experience. CLA offers a very generous benefits package that includes 401(k) with employer-paid contribution; low-cost health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees and their dependents; malpractice insurance; paid leave (4 weeks vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days, and 13 holidays); loan repayment assistance; and relocation stipend. CLA has a hybrid work environment and requires advocates to work in their assigned office at least three days per week.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please apply online on our website. Alternatively, you can submit your cover letter and resume to avaughan@cla-ma.org or mail to Alicia Vaughan, Human Resources Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Bias of historic redlining in Springfield plain as day on map (MassLive)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by MassLive on April 30 about the history and origins of housing discrimination in Massachusetts and the nation. Community Legal Aid’s Nuri Sherif authors the article.


The Fair Housing Act became United States law in 1968 in order to end discrimination in the home rental and buying markets. Over the past 55 years, the act has fallen short of its purpose. From October 2021 to September 2022, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development received 11,741 complaints of discrimination across the country.

The Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination received 427 complaints about discrimination in state public and private housing markets from October 2022 to September 2023.

Not only is the act supposed to address discriminatory housing practices that have already happened, it also requires that HUD-funded organizations take “meaningful actions … [to] overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities.” This is what HUD and fair housing programs nationwide call Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing. In theory, the act’s enforcement measures and mandate to address systemic inequities should together end housing discrimination.

But this has not yet happened, including in Massachusetts.

Read more at MassLive.

Community Legal Aid expands Disability Benefits Project to Franklin County (Greenfield Recorder)

Below is an excerpt from an article published by the Greenfield Recorder on May 4 discussing the expansion of the Disability Benefits Project into Franklin County. Community Legal Aid’s Kathryn Madison is quoted. 


GREENFIELD — Community Legal Aid, a nonprofit that offers free civil legal support to elderly and low-income residents in western and central Massachusetts, has expanded its Disability Benefits Project into Franklin County, a change that coincides with the future opening of a new legal office downtown.

The nonprofit began its Disability Benefits Project in 1984. The program provides legal assistance to low-income elderly and disabled residents who have been wrongfully denied federal disability benefits or have had their benefits wrongfully terminated or reduced. While the project only moved into Franklin County weeks ago, it has served Berkshire, Hampden and Worcester counties for decades.

Attorney Kathryn Madison recently joined Community Legal Aid after working as a supervising attorney representing asylum seekers at Central American Legal Assistance in Brooklyn, New York. She said in the cases she has handled for the Disability Benefits Project, courts often overlook “invisible disabilities” and mental health issues, as they are not presented physically in a courtroom.

Read more at the Greenfield Recorder.

Letter: In Second Chance Month and every month, legal assistance is available (Berkshire Eagle)

Below is an excerpt from a letter to the editor published by the Berkshire Eagle on April 27 about resources, misconceptions, and more involving those returning from incarceration. Community Legal Aid’s Staff Attorney, Annie Maurer, penned the letter.


To the editor: April is Second Chance Month, a time to focus on how our community can support our fellow Berkshire County residents returning from incarceration.

As an attorney with Community Legal Aid’s CORI/reentry unit, I see the life-changing power that sealing a criminal record has every day. Sealing is the process by which a criminal record is removed from public access, including access by employers and housing providers. Sealed records remain available to law enforcement, the courts and a few other select agencies.

I routinely assist people denied employment due to a criminal record that could have already been sealed. These are individuals with reliance, grit and valuable life experience who seek our assistance because, despite the hard work they’ve put into bettering their lives and those of their families, potential employers cannot see past the record.

Read more at the Berkshire Eagle.

Keeping kids out of foster care saves families — and state money (Boston Globe)

Below is an excerpt from an editorial published by the Boston Globe on April 22 explaining the need and benefit of legal intervention for families dealing with DCF. Community Legal Aid’s Madeline Weaver Blanchette and Massachusetts Law Reform Insitute’s Susan Elsen are quoted.


There are lots of good ways to spend money to help families and children. Rarer are policies that help families while saving money.

Yet that is the likely outcome when programs intervene early to stabilize families involved with the Department of Children and Families and prevent children’s removal. When families can safely remain together, it saves children and parents anguish while avoiding costly foster care placements and court cases.

For the past couple of years, funding from the courts and the state has supported pilot programs where lawyers, social workers, parent advocates, and mediators intervene with families when a DCF case is opened. While more study of these programs’ outcomes is needed, early evidence is promising, and similar models are being expanded nationwide. Massachusetts should ensure there is stable funding for these programs and that they are given the resources needed to expand. The investment will pay off in dollars and, more importantly, in children’s lives.

These programs generally do not deal with allegations of child abuse. But more than 85 percent of the approximately 23,600 children DCF found to have experienced mistreatment in fiscal 2022, the latest data available, involved neglect, a category often influenced by poverty. It is those cases where efforts to stabilize a family can sometimes alleviate DCF’s concerns.

Read more at the Boston Globe.

Part-time Legal Aid Managing Attorney – CLA

Community Legal Aid (CLA) seeks a Managing Attorney to join the management team of a dynamic civil legal aid organization serving low-income and elderly people in Central and Western Mass. CLA has over 160 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities.

This part-time position is for CLA’s Pittsfield office. The Managing Attorney will help with office administration and management, including conducting regular staff meetings; participating with other supervisors in the writing of annual performance reviews of staff; coordinating appropriate training and providing support for staff; working on outreach projects with staff; and assisting in the handling of issues arising with the physical plant. The Managing Attorney will also be expected to act as the face of the organization in Berkshire County, including regularly attending bar functions, funder meetings, agency get-togethers, and other community events. The Managing Attorney will assist with fundraising initiatives and grant-acquisition, writing, and reporting activities. The Managing Attorney may also handle a caseload commensurate with their administrative duties.

Qualifications:

  1. Must be an attorney who is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts or eligible for admission to the Mass. bar at the time of hiring.
  2. Experience working with low-income populations; the ability to relate effectively to a diverse staff and clientele; and strong supervision and communication skills.
  3. Experience in management, administration, development, or leadership in a non-profit legal or human services program strongly preferred.
  4. Willingness and ability to travel throughout Berkshire County, attend meetings outside normal business hours, and vision for enhancing CLA’s ties to the community.
  5. Very strong preference for candidates living in or willing to relocate to Berkshire County.
  6. Legal advocacy experience in one or more legal aid practice areas a plus.

Please submit cover letter and resume to avaughan@cla-ma.org, or Alicia Vaughan HR Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Supervising Attorney, Employment Unit

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is the non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Massachusetts. CLA has over 150 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities. CLA is a fiscally sound, administratively strong agency supported by a dedicated staff, management team, and Board of Directors.

CLA seeks a Senior Supervising Attorney (SSA) to join its dynamic management team. The SSA will oversee the work of and directly supervise the attorneys in CLA’s Employment Unit, which currently includes 6 attorneys. The unit assists low-wage workers with unemployment cases and cases involving wage and hour issues, leave issues, and employment discrimination. The unit also conducts regular community outreach and education. CLA advocates in other units spend a portion of their time on employment law matters and the SSA will provide support to those advocates as needed.

The SSA’s duties will include co-counseling cases; editing pleadings and briefs; preparing advocates for and observing them in court and in outreach activities; and engaging in regular case reviews. The SSA will also participate in coordinating the training of staff; work with CLA’s Managing Attorneys in conducting annual performance reviews; and assist in writing grant applications and reports.

The SSA will be based in CLA’s Springfield or Worcester office. The position will require some travel to CLA’s offices across central and western Massachusetts to support and build relationships with staff in person.

QUALIFICATIONS: Admission to Mass. Bar or entitlement to practice under a Mass. practice rule required. Must have at least five years of experience as an attorney, with significant experience in employment law. Ability to work collaboratively and strong supervision and communication skills required. The candidate should be an independent thinker and have the ability to calmly and thoughtfully support advocates who work in a high-stakes, fast-paced environment which can often be stressful.

COMPENSATION: Salary DOE. CLA offers a very generous benefits package that includes 401(k) with employer-paid contribution; low-cost health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees and their dependents; malpractice insurance; paid leave (4 weeks vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days, and 13 holidays); and relocation stipend.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please apply online on our website. Alternatively, you can email your submit cover letter and resume to: avaughan@cla-ma.org, or mail to Alicia Vaughan, Human Resources Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608. In your cover letter, please include an explanation of your interest in a supervisory position and your office of preference.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Supervising Attorney, Education Unit

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is the non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Massachusetts. CLA has over 150 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities. CLA is a fiscally sound, administratively strong agency supported by a dedicated staff, management team, and Board of Directors.

CLA seeks a Senior Supervising Attorney (SSA) to join its dynamic management team. The SSA will oversee the work of and directly supervise the advocates in CLA’s Education Unit, which currently includes 6 advocates. The unit assists at-risk students with cases involving Individualized Education Programs, school discipline (including suspensions and expulsions), language access, and other issues specifically affecting low-income students. The unit also assists children with disabilities seeking to obtain or maintain SSI benefits, with a focus on cases at the reconsideration and appeal levels. The unit also conducts regular community outreach and education.

The SSA’s duties will include co-counseling cases; editing pleadings and briefs; preparing advocates for and observing them in court and in outreach activities; and engaging in regular case reviews. The SSA will also participate in coordinating the training of staff; work with CLA’s Managing Attorneys in conducting annual performance reviews; and assist in writing grant applications and reports.

The SSA will be based in CLA’s Springfield or Worcester office. The position will require some travel to CLA’s offices across central and western Massachusetts to support and build relationships with staff in person.

QUALIFICATIONS: Admission to Mass. Bar or entitlement to practice under a Mass. practice rule required. Must have at least five years of experience as an attorney, with significant experience in education law. Experience litigating children’s SSI cases a plus. Ability to work collaboratively and strong supervision and communication skills required. The candidate should be an independent thinker and have the ability to calmly and thoughtfully support advocates who work in a high-stakes, fast-paced environment which can often be stressful.

COMPENSATION: Salary DOE. CLA offers a very generous benefits package that includes 401(k) with employer-paid contribution; low-cost health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees and their dependents; malpractice insurance; paid leave (4 weeks vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days, and 13 holidays); and relocation stipend.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please submit your cover letter and resume online on our website. Alternatively, you can email your cover letter and resume to: avaughan@cla-ma.org, or mail to Alicia Vaughan, Human Resources Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01608. In your cover letter, please include an explanation of your interest in a supervisory position and your office of preference.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Staff Attorney, Elder Law – CLA

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is the non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Mass. CLA has over 150 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities.

CLA seeks a staff attorney to work in its Elder Law Unit. The staff attorney will be based in CLA’s Fitchburg office and will assist individuals who are at least 60 years old with legal matters that affect their health, safety, and well-being. The attorney will help clients seeking to obtain or maintain SNAP, SSDI, SSI, SSP, and other benefits. The attorney will also assist clients seeking safety from abuse and exploitation. The attorney will also represent clients of any age seeking access to, or preservation of, Medicare benefits. The attorney will have significant client contact and will assume an active caseload while continuing to accept new cases. The attorney will engage in community outreach and education and will work closely with community partners including elder service agencies. Some grant-writing and grant-reporting required.

QUALIFICATIONS: Law students currently in their third year of law school, recent law school graduates, and more experienced attorneys are eligible to apply. Candidates should have sensitivity to the unique challenges facing elders. Prior elder law experience, particularly with low-income clients, strongly preferred. Fluency in a second language, especially Spanish, preferred. Prior experience with administrative agency advocacy and hearings is helpful. Access to reliable transportation and willingness to conduct elder home visits on occasion is required.

COMPENSATION: The starting salary for this position is $71,500, which is based on a union scale and adjusted upward depending on experience. CLA offers a very generous benefits package that includes 401(k) with employer-paid contribution; low-cost health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees and their dependents; malpractice insurance; paid leave (4 weeks vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days, and 13 holidays); law school loan repayment assistance; and relocation stipend. CLA has a hybrid work environment and requires advocates to work in their assigned office at least three days per week.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please apply online on our website. Alternatively, you can email your cover letter and resume to: Alicia Vaughan, HR Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608, or email avaughan@cla-ma.org.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.

Staff Attorney, Employment Law

Community Legal Aid (CLA) is the non-profit legal services program providing free civil legal assistance to low-income and elderly residents of central and western Mass. CLA has over 150 dedicated, talented staff working across multiple offices. Our core work includes effective client-centered advocacy and robust outreach to and partnerships with our client communities.

CLA seeks a staff attorney to work in its Employment Law Unit. The attorney will be based in CLA’s Springfield or Greenfield office. The attorney will focus on handling unemployment cases and cases involving wage and hour issues, leave issues, and employment discrimination. In addition to representing individual clients, the attorney will engage in community outreach and education, and will work closely with community partners.

QUALIFICATIONS: Third year law students, recent law school graduates, and more experienced attorneys are eligible to apply. Fluency in Spanish preferred, as is experience in poverty or employment law. Excellent oral and written communication skills. A demonstrated dedication to social justice and commitment to working with low-income communities.

COMPENSATION: The starting salary for this position is $71,500, which is based on a union scale and adjusted upward depending on experience. CLA offers a very generous benefits package that includes 401(k) with employer-paid contribution; low-cost health insurance (medical, dental, and vision) for employees and their dependents; malpractice insurance; paid leave (4 weeks vacation, 3 personal days, 12 sick days, and 13 holidays); and relocation stipend. CLA has a hybrid work environment and requires advocates to work in their assigned office at least three days per week.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please apply online on our website. Alternatively, you can submit your cover letter and resume to: Alicia Vaughan, HR Director, Community Legal Aid, 370 Main Street, Worcester, MA 01608, or email avaughan@cla-ma.org. The cover letter should specify which office(s) the applicant is willing to work in.

CLA is an Equal Opportunity Employer and strives to ensure that our staff members reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. CLA encourages applicants from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.