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Staff Attorney, Consumer Law Attorney for Education Debt Cases

Neighborhood Legal Services, Inc. (NLS)
Published
October 28, 2022
Location
Buffalo, NY
Category
Legal  
Job Type

Description

Use your Law Degree to help people and change systems.    Neighborhood Legal Services (NLS), the largest provider of civil legal services in Western New York, is seeking a dynamic staff attorney for its new Education Debt Consumer Assistance Program in its Buffalo office.  The staff attorney will provide residents with legal assistance for their student loan debt so that they can effectively manage this debt and improve their financial health.  The staff attorney will learn the law and advocate for individuals in need of education debt assistance.   Advocacy will include, but is not limited to, educating and assisting consumers with repayment options, applying for forgiveness and discharge programs, resolving disputes with servicers and lenders, and getting consumers out of default to stop wage garnishments and social security offsets and tax refund intercepts. The attorney will provide representation of individual clients and also identify and advocate for systemic change through affirmative advocacy and litigation.

The staff attorney will be responsible for case load management, legal research and writing, and representation in a variety of consumer law matters involving student loan debt.

Essential Responsibilities/ Functions: 

  • Develop a substantive knowledge of the areas of law that impact the lives of persons with student loan debt
  • Provide a spectrum of legal assistance from advice and counsel by telephone, informal advocacy and representation at hearings and other proceedings
  • Identify systemic problems that affect the rights of persons with student loan debt and address these challenges through affirmative advocacy, impact litigation, and policy work
  • Collaborate and coordinate with NLS staff and community partners to assure effective referral and holistic service delivery
  • Conduct community outreach, education, and training
  • Develop relationships and engage in collaborations with a range of public and private community partners including governmental agencies, courts, and community-based organizations to ensure integrative services and to address systemic barriers facing our client community
  • Demonstrate cultural competency to work with low-income clients across the spectrum of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, immigrant status, religious identity, physical and mental disabilities, and those with limited English proficiency.

Salary and Benefits

$59,387 to $97,981 per year salary, dependent upon experience and in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (law graduates pending admission are welcome to apply). Full time position with a 35-hour work week and shorter summer hours. Excellent benefits including health, dental and vision insurance, 3 weeks of vacation, 12 paid holidays plus paid week off between Christmas and New Year’s, sick and personal leave, eligibility for public student loan forgiveness, paid $50,000 life insurance, pension plan, HSA and Flexible Spending Accounts, and paid memberships.

Qualifications 

Graduation from an accredited law school, membership in New York State Bar or pending admission. Legal services background and previous experience working with low-income and/or underserved communities and victims of domestic violence is preferred. Applicants are expected to have knowledge of legal principles of civil practice, strong personal work ethic, interpersonal skills, ability to work collaboratively with a dynamic team, ability to organize and meet deadlines with minimal supervision, effective communication, and cultural competency to work with clients challenged by poverty across the spectrum of diversity.

How to Apply

Please send resume and cover letter to hr@nls.org and reference the Consumer Law Staff Attorney position in the subject line. References and a writing sample will be requested after an interview.