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Staff Attorney – Homeownership

Philadelphia VIP is a nonprofit that recruits and supports volunteer attorneys to represent low-income Philadelphians who face critical legal issues, but cannot afford a lawyer.

Since 1981, VIP has been the hub of pro bono in Philadelphia, annually supporting over 1,000 volunteers assisting hundreds of low-income clients in four priority areas: preventing homelessness, preserving income, supporting family stability, and promoting community economic development. Our staff of eighteen consists of attorneys, case managers, and other professionals and is highly collaborative, creative, and passionate about our capacity-building model of service. VIP values a diverse work environment and encourages people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, and people with disabilities to apply.

POSITION SUMMARY

Reporting to the Senior Staff Attorney, this Staff Attorney will support volunteer attorneys and clients living in poverty who face critical legal needs, with an emphasis on tangled title. Clients experiencing tangled titles have a legal claim to their home (such as through inheritance or rent-to-own agreements) but do not have their name on the deed, preventing them from accessing benefits and services available to homeowners. VIP is the leading expert on tangled title issues in Philadelphia and, with a four-year grant commitment from the City of Philadelphia, is expanding and enhancing its 20-year-old tangled title program.

The position is full-time (37-40 hours/week) and exempt, with a salary range of $58,000 to $63,000, and an outstanding team atmosphere. VIP’s generous benefits include medical and dental insurance (with employee medical premium fully paid by VIP); a 403(b) plan with employer contributions; short-and long-term disability and life insurance; flexible spending accounts for health and dependent care; industry-leading paid time off, including substantial vacation and sick time, 12+ paid holidays, and paid parental leave; an individual budget for professional development; and alternative work arrangements, including generous telework hours and scheduling flexibility.

KEY QUALIFICATIONS

A strong staff attorney candidate will demonstrate: a sound commitment to VIP’s service model—expanding access to justice through supporting pro bono volunteers; a passion for using data-informed solutions to enhance service delivery to clients; excellent communication skills; and interest in working in a collaborative, team-oriented environment. Further qualifications include:

  • Graduate of an accredited law school and licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania
  • At least one year of legal practice experience preferred
  • Interest and passion for learning intricacies of probate, estate administration, real estate transactions, and real estate litigation
  • Demonstrated capacity to build relationships with individuals from diverse backgrounds
  • Close attention to detail, organized, and able to manage multiple, simultaneous projects and deadlines in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment
  • Aptitude with technology, including a comprehensive case management system
  • Spanish-speakers highly preferred

KEY FUNCTIONS

Guide and support volunteer attorneys and clients throughout the life of tangled title cases:

  • Develop a deep knowledge base of legal issues preventing VIP’s clients from obtaining title to their homes, including procedural issues and substantive law.
  • Provide encouraging, timely support to volunteer attorneys on substantive legal issues, procedures, case support services, and client interactions.
  • Prepare cases for volunteers by gathering background information and documents from clients, assessing the legal merit of cases, and summarizing the legal issues requiring assistance.
  • On a limited basis, directly represent clients to resolve discrete issues in their cases not easily managed by a volunteer, to better prepare the case to be referred to a volunteer to complete the title transfer process.
  • Maintain a knowledge base of supplemental social services resources and/or public benefits available to VIP’s homeownership clients.
  • Manage and attend practice group meetings and other external volunteer support gatherings at partner law firms and corporations.
  • Eventually supervise interns and temporary staff and their respective caseloads.

Recruit and retain volunteer attorneys in private practice to take tangled title cases:

  • Using VIP’s volunteer database, conduct routine, thoughtful outreach to persuade volunteers to take cases.
  • Proactively seek opportunities to engage new, current, and lapsed volunteers with VIP’s mission and casework, including by collaborating on the development of better volunteer outreach and engagement techniques.
  • Actively strengthen partnerships with law firms, solo practitioners, corporate law departments, and bar associations to secure volunteer attorneys and develop practice groups and other volunteer teams, with particular focus on tangled title cases.
  • Organize and conduct trainings, CLEs, orientations, and other events for volunteer attorneys, particularly in the area of tangled title. Regularly update training materials and volunteer resources.
  • Track metrics to evaluate and improve recruitment and retention efforts and legal program outcomes.

HOW TO APPLY:

E-mail cover letter, resume, and references, to Karna Laubenstein, Director of Operations, klaubenstein@phillyvip.org.  References will not be contacted without prior permission from candidate. No calls, please.

What to include in your cover letter: All cover letters should include a salary requirement, potential start date, and any non-English language skills. Applicants are invited to include a statement about how the applicant’s unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of VIP’s staff and legal practice.

Deadline: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority given to those received by Monday, February 7, 2022.

COVID-19 note: VIP is currently operating in a fully remote setting, with the opportunity for employees to utilize office space as-needed, using appropriate safety precautions. Staff are required to get COVID-19 vaccinations, including CDC-recommended boosters.

PHILADELPHIA VIP IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER