Staff Attorney, Consumer Housing Unit (Tangled Title)

BACKGROUND:

Philadelphia Legal Assistance (“PLA”) is the federally funded civil legal aid provider for Philadelphia’s indigent community.  We provide high-volume, high-quality and innovative legal representation in administrative and court proceedings, including all levels of state and federal courts. We also provide community education, advice, referral, and support of pro se representation. Our focus is on legal matters addressing basic human needs: family safety, health, income maintenance, and home preservation.

PLA seeks to immediately hire two full-time permanent attorneys to work as part of its Consumer Housing Unit, with a focus on tangled title cases.  The attorneys selected for this exciting and demanding position will help low-income individuals throughout Philadelphia preserve their homes, stabilizing families and neighborhoods in the process.  In many cases, the attorneys will be saving homes that have been passed down through multiple generations and eliminating conditions that make homeowners susceptible to deed theft.   These two attorneys will represent clients facing a variety of tangled title legal issues arising out of, but not limited to, mortgage foreclosure and tax foreclosure issues.  The work will also include community outreach and education.  

Responsibilities include:

  • Probating estates and litigating in Orphans Court to resolve property title issues; 
  • Filing quiet title actions where necessary to establish title;
  • Representing homeowners facing tax or mortgage foreclosure in cases where title issues are preventing resolution of the foreclosure; 
  • Defending against ejectment actions;
  • Drafting, executing, and recording deeds and other documents necessary to enable homeowners to obtain record ownership of their homes and supervising paralegals preparing such documents;
  • Active participation in the work of task forces working to reduce and prevent deed theft; 
  • Pursuing affirmative relief, including damages under various consumer protection statutes, against perpetrators of deed theft and wrongful evictions;
  • Litigation and other efforts designed to reduce obstacles to probate.

 QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Law degree and admission to a PA Bar, or a willingness to take the PA bar exam.  Candidates with at least 3 years of client representation experience are preferred, but less experienced attorneys will be considered;
  • Creativity, tenacity, empathy and a passion for justice for low-income individuals;
  • Experience in probate, real property, and in defending against tax and mortgage foreclosures preferred, but not required;
  • Experience representing debtor’s in chapter 13 bankruptcy preferred, but not required;
  • Fluency in a second language, particularly Spanish, preferred;
  • Ability to manage a significant caseload of individual clients;
  • Excellent legal analysis skills;
  • Excellent work ethic, organization, and communication skills;
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills;
  • Excellent litigation skills and oral advocacy skills;
  • Experience and interest in policy work and others forms of systemic advocacy;
  • Possess sound professional and legal judgment;
  • Experience and ability to work with low-income and vulnerable diverse individuals;
  • Illustrate a high-level commitment to racial justice advocacy;
  • The ability to work cooperatively as part of a team

SALARY AND BENEFITS: 

Salary is commensurate with years of experience based on union scale. Full health coverage for employees and their dependents.  Generous holiday and leave benefits.

 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.  Interested applicants should email a cover letter and resume, preferably in one PDF document, to: work@philalegal.org.

Application deadline is January 15, 2022.   However, the position will be filled as soon as an appropriate candidate is identified.