Staff Attorney – Eviction Diversion Project

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) seeks to immediately hire an attorney to work the Eviction Diversion project. The position will involve supervising paralegal work in the Eviction Diversion Program and providing legal assistance to tenants in the program.  This position is currently funded for one year but may be extended if funding permits.

 

Background

PLA provides free civil legal assistance to low-income individuals and families in Philadelphia. For Philadelphia residents who are low-income, elderly, or disabled, our legal assistance is often crucial to protecting their homes, their children, their safety, and their livelihood.

 

PLA operates the “Save Your Home Philly” Hotline, a central point of contact for Philadelphia residents at risk of losing their homes. The lawyers and paralegals at PLA work in close collaboration with Community Legal Services, Philadelphia VIP, and a network of housing counselors to assist homeowners in navigating the legal system, understanding and safeguarding their rights, and avoiding homelessness. The Hotline is a critical piece of the network of services available in Philadelphia designed to prevent homelessness; to preserve neighborhood and family stability by enabling low-income homeowners to remain in their homes.

 

Under the recently enacted Emergency Housing Protection Act, tenants who have experienced a hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have the option to participate in mediation with their landlord prior to an eviction being filed. Through the Eviction Diversion program, tenants will work with housing counselors to negotiate, where possible, payment agreements with their landlords that will prevent an eviction from being filed. The Save Your Home Philly Hotline supports the program by reviewing landlord requests for mediation, reaching out to tenants and connecting tenants with housing counselors.

 

PLA is expanding the work of the Save Your Home Philly Hotline during this period to prevent and mitigate an eviction crisis in Philadelphia during the COVID-19 pandemic. In order for the Eviction Diversion program to be successful, advocacy is needed for tenants at each stage of the program. The Save Your Home Philly Hotline, part of PLA’s Consumer Housing Unit, is expanding from 6 paralegals and one attorney to 9 paralegals, two attorneys and one project coordinator.

 

 

Responsibilities

This position will consist of providing supervision and support to paralegals who are assisting tenants in the Eviction Diversion program. The Hotline supervision model is a virtual “open door” arrangement where Hotline Paralegals ask supervision questions in real time with clients on the phone. Candidates for this position should be comfortable maintaining communication and supervision throughout the day as questions come up. A successful candidate will have a variety of responsibilities as part of a team of attorneys and paralegals, including:

 

  • Provide supervision and support to the Hotline staff who have landlord/tenant questions and issues, including issue spotting, providing legal advice where appropriate, providing guidance to paralegals in complex cases
  • Work directly with tenants where necessary and speaking to tenants where necessary to provide effective legal assistance.
  • Track legal and program developments in the Eviction Diversion program,
  • Attend virtual bi-weekly Hotline meeting and present information on program developments to the Hotline team,
  • Attend virtual weekly Consumer Housing Unit meetings,
  • Train Housing Counselors, Hotline paralegals and Administrative staff in Landlord/Tenant law and legal developments affecting the Eviction Diversion program,
  • Attend working group meetings with Eviction Diversion program partners
  • Work as a team with the Save Your Home Philly Hotline and Consumer Housing Unit to build and develop PLA’s work with tenants
  • Collaborate and communicate with advocates at Community Legal Services  who are supporting tenants and housing counselors through mediations, and
  • Oversee the review and processing of landlord requests in the PHLEvictionDiversion.org mediation request portal, including supervising Administrative staff on review of mediation requests for compliance with program requirements.

 

Qualifications

 

  • 3-5 years of experience in Landlord/Tenant law
  • Law degree and admission to PA Bar, or a willingness to take the PA bar exam
  • Strong public speaking and writing skills
  • Ability to work well in teams
  • Competency using databases and spreadsheets
  • Commitment to improving the well-being of low-income communities
  • Compassion, understanding, patience, and a talent for working cooperatively with a broad spectrum of people
  • Prior work or volunteer experience at a non-profit serving low-income clients is preferred

 

 

Work Location

 

So long as the pandemic continues, the successful candidate may be working from home in this position until further notice. When normal business operations resume, the position will be located at the offices of Philadelphia Legal Assistance.  Until the end of the pandemic, all training will be done through video conferencing. Applicants will need to have their own phone with a google voice account, a secure laptop or desktop computer and a robust internet connection.

 

Salary and Benefits:

 

Salary commensurate with experience and comparable to other public interest salaries. PLA provides excellent benefits including fully paid medical for employees and their dependents, a 403B retirement plan, and generous paid leave.

Application Process:

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (PLA) is an equal opportunity employer. PLA values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness, and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. PLA invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.

Send cover letter, resume, references, and five page writing sample, preferably in one PDF document, to work@philalegal.org.

 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis, and the position will remain open until filled.  We encourage applicants to submit applications early.

How To Apply: 

Send resume to: work@philalegal.org