Tag Archive for: Veterans Legal Services

Staff Attorney – VLS

Position Overview:

The staff attorney provides direct legal services to veterans on a broad range of civil legal issues to further VLS’s mission of helping Massachusetts veterans overcome adversity by providing free civil legal aid that honors their service, promotes well-being, and responds to their distinctive needs. The staff attorney is supervised by the Colonel Ruby W. Linn Managing Attorney.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Diversity strengthens VLS and enhances the fulfillment of its mission. Individuals of diverse backgrounds and experiences, for example, those who identify as people of color, LGBTQ+, veterans, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

Compensation Philosophy:

VLS offers a competitive compensation and benefits package to attract and retain top talent and to promote the well-being and professional development of its team members, all of whom help advance the organization’s mission. VLS provides compensation information in its job postings to ensure transparency and efficient use of applicants’ time. Employee compensation is evaluated annually and is informed by data from peer organizations, the industry, individual employee performance, organizational impact, and organizational financial standing. Compensation adjustments may include cost of living increases, increases due to comparability data, merit increases, promotions, or bonus payments.

VLS is proud of its comprehensive benefits package for qualified employees, which includes health, dental, short-term disability, and long-term disability insurance, flexible spending account, state Paid Family Medical Leave contributions (employee’s portion covered), generous 401K employer match, student loan repayment assistance, partial phone reimbursement, continuing education opportunities, a generous sick, personal, vacation, and holiday schedule including paid time off between December 24th and January 1st and half days on Fridays in the summer. To promote team member resilience, following three years of employment VLS also provides two additional personal days per year.

Compensation and Culture:

The position is a 35-40 hour per week hybrid position with a salary range of $72,000 – $76,000 annually, depending on experience (this range represents 0 – 4 years’ experience). This position is eligible for the benefits described above, subject to waiting periods for certain benefits as may be required. VLS offers a congenial working environment and is committed to promoting work/life balance and well-being for its team members who have dedicated their careers to improving veterans’ lives.

Hybrid Work:

VLS currently offers a hybrid work arrangement for its team members. Applicants should anticipate one required in-office day weekly and to come to the office or other locations as needed for meetings or other tasks. Team members may choose to work from home or the office for the remainder of the week. The staff attorney position requires in-person attendance at VLS’s legal clinics at partner sites. The VLS office is located near North Station in Boston, convenient to the orange and green lines and commuter rail. While this is not a fully remote position, VLS strives to balance the convenience of remote work with the benefits of coming together to promote team cohesion. VLS continually evaluates organizational and team members’ needs and may modify its hybrid policy in the future.

Primary tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Meeting directly with prospective and current clients at off-site legal clinics;
  • Recommending appropriate level of assistance to be provided on each matter;
  • Advising and representing clients including in court and agency hearings;
  • Managing own caseload including developing case strategy and legal theories and preparation of pleadings and motions that are integrated into overall case plan and strategy;
  • Identifying and preparing cases for pro bono assignment;
  • Supervising volunteers at legal clinics and in the VLS office;
  • Collaborating with other legal services providers to address issues that impact veterans;
  • Performing outreach to veterans and service providers to help those populations to timely identify and address common legal issues.

Secondary tasks include but are not limited to:

  • Representing VLS at various events including bar association events (which may include occasional evening work) or continuing legal education panels;
  • Assist the Co-Executive Director or Managing Attorney with public policy initiatives in support of VLS’s client population;
  • Assisting with or performing own administrative tasks;
  • Training other team members and volunteers;
  • Assisting with data collection and sharing client stories for grant reporting and communications.

Required Skills & Qualifications:

  • A J.D.;
  • Admission to the Massachusetts bar;
  • Experience as a practicing attorney, including courtroom experience and experience drafting a variety of pleadings and motions (relevant experience prior to admission to the bar may be considered);
  • Strong written and oral communication with attention to detail and accuracy;
  • Highly organized, reliable, and flexible with strong multi-tasking and prioritization abilities;
  • Ability to meet with clients and work effectively in a variety of environments, such as community housing developments, social services providers, shelters, and Dept. of Veterans Affairs hospitals;
  • Ability to work productively and effectively independently;
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office and G-Suite, with ability and willingness to learn additional online tools, applications, and technologies;
  • Self-starter with a positive, can-do attitude who will work well independently as well as part of a team;
  • Professional and highly ethical with strict adherence to client confidentiality;
  • Courteous demeanor with excellent judgment and strong sense of humor;
  • Sensitivity to the circumstances of individuals facing financial, health, and other challenges;
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse range of individuals, including clients, law students, volunteers, attorneys, board members, and funders;
  • Willingness to participate as part of a team effort and assist with reasonable tasks as needed in fulfillment of VLS’s mission;
  • Ability to adapt effectively to ongoing changes in work environment and willingness to find creative solutions to unexpected challenges; and
  • Excitement for VLS’s mission

Preferred Skills & Qualifications:

  • Experience working at or volunteering with a non-profit legal aid organization;
  • Experience or familiarity with family law matters, such as custody/parenting time, child support, and divorce;
  • Experience or familiarity with housing matters;
  • Experience or familiarity with discharge upgrade cases and veterans’ benefits matters at the local, state, and federal levels;
  • Experience with Salesforce and PowerPoint.

Application Instructions:

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and resumé to StaffAttorneyPosition@veteranslegalservices.org. VLS is unable to respond to phone or social media inquiries. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.

Letter: State measure goes too far in its provisions for de facto parents

Laura W. Gal, managing attorney for family law, Greater Boston Legal Services; Heather Gamache, president, Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts; Anna S. Richardson, co-executive director, Veterans Legal Services and Jamie A. Sabino, staff attorney, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, responded on Monday in a letter to The Boston Globe regarding the paper’s editorial, “For LGBTQ parents, unfinished business in the fight for equality.” They write:

“As organizations representing a diverse range of individuals and families, we support enactment of all elements of the proposed Massachusetts Parentage Act that enable families to begin a child’s life with the security of fully recognized legal parents, whether through genetics, marriage, adoption, surrogacy, or reproductive technology. Equity under the law is essential.

The bill’s de facto parent section, however, goes well beyond this necessary goal. It would allow stepparents, grandparents, and other caretakers to use litigation to become third (or fourth, and so on) parents to a child, over the objections of one or both of the child’s fit parents. The Globe’s endorsement of the legislation, seemingly without consideration of the consequences of this section, is disappointing.

The overbroad de facto parent provisions would allow a wide range of court battles that could drag on and destabilize children’s lives for years. Divorced parents would find themselves in court with ex-partners of their ex-spouses. Domestic violence survivors would face harassing litigation from their former abusers. Members of the armed services would be forced to defend cases filed while deployed. These are just a few examples of the implications.

Current Massachusetts law allows de facto parents to request visitation. This serves children well. Expanding de facto parentage would not.”

Read more in The Boston Globe.