POSITION: Paralegal (Full-Time Position)
CLOSING DATE: Position Immediately Available and Closed When Filled
LOCATION: Dallas County, Texas
OVERVIEW: Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas (LANWT) seeks a dynamic, self-starting paralegal who has vision, initiative, and a demonstrated commitment to public interest law to fill a paralegal position in Dallas County, Texas. The paralegal would office primarily with a community partner organization within Dallas County that provides services to homeless individuals and families and those at risk of homelessness. Through this collaboration, LANWT provides civil legal services to individuals with the shared goal of transitioning this vulnerable population from homelessness to independence.
DESCRIPTION: LANWT is a non-profit public interest law firm that provides high-quality free civil legal services to low-income persons in 114 counties in North and West Texas. LANWT maintains several office locations in Dallas County, Texas delivering civil legal services to the poor in a diverse and dynamic metropolitan area.
DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: The paralegal, under the direct supervision of a licensed attorney will be assigned clients, tasks, assignments and projects with expectations that all work is to be completed in accordance with LANWT's policies and procedures and attorneys' responsibilities under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct, Texas Lawyers Creed and the American Bar Associations Standards for Providers of Civil Legal Services to the Poor. Other responsibilities include:
- The paralegal is responsible for assisting clients that fall under Legal Aid of NorthWest Texas’ (LANWT) set of priorities with appropriate attorney supervision.
- A paralegal may provide paraprofessional legal services to eligible clients in civil, family and other cases in accordance with the program's mission and principles of advocacy, other program guidelines, and under the direct supervision of an attorney, according to the Rules of Professional Conduct.
- A paralegal may participate in outreach and community legal education to clients and community groups, as assigned by a supervisor, so as to provide clients or others with information and assistance in program priority areas and to build a strong positive working relationship between the program and the client or group.
- A paralegal may assist an attorney or other advocate in representing clients or working with community groups.
- Conduct intake by answering and returning applicant and client calls; conducting initial client screening, referring clients who are ineligible for LANWT service to other resources or providers, and creating electronic client files.
- Investigating and developing cases and projects assigned, including conducting necessary interviews.
- Making and following up on the referrals of clients to appropriate alternative or additional sources of assistance.
- Drafting pleadings, orders, letters, memos, and other written materials relating to assigned cases or projects.
- File legal papers/pleadings at the courthouse or through e-filing, including setting hearing dates, and interacting with court staff, opposing parties and clients.
- Maintaining accurate, complete, well-organized records and files regarding cases and projects assigned.
- Developing specialized skills and knowledge in assigned areas and remain current on new developments in that area.
- Translating for clients who speak a different language than their advocate (if applicable).
- Seeking and accepting supervision and guidance from supervising attorneys on cases and projects assigned.
- Participating in in-house training programs and staff meetings and activities.
- Reporting caseload statistics and other information regarding his/her activities and advocacy to the immediate supervisor, Director of Litigation and/or Deputy Director on a regular basis or as requested.
- Traveling to administrative agencies and elsewhere in connection with the above responsibilities.
- Develop a working knowledge of the law commensurate with his/her level of experience in areas of principal concern to LANWT’s clients. Similarly, develop legal skills (such as fact gathering, research, writing and negotiation) and a knowledge of procedure (such as administrative and court rules of practice, discovery and pleading).
- Keep apprised of changes in the law and other issues that may affect LANWT's client population, and advise management and other staff of such issues.
- Develop a knowledge of, work with, and make referrals to social service agencies and other agencies that can help LANWT's clients.
- Represent clients at hearings and other applicable guidelines governing advocacy by non-attorneys.
- Provide LANWT's Administrative Office with information on the nature and extent of services he/she provides.
- Performance of any other duties which may from time-to-time be assigned by the Managing Attorney, Deputy Director and Chief Executive Officer.
- Associate’s Degree and paralegal certification is preferred.
- Fluent in Spanish – both verbal and written is preferred.
- Candidate must be detail oriented, organized and self-motivated.
- Ability to establish priorities and meet deadlines.
- Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
- Ability to interact professionally and courteously with individuals at all levels.
- Excellent computer skills with use of Microsoft products preferred.
- Ability to work independently and exercise good judgment while maintaining client confidentiality, integrity, and discretion in the performance of all duties.
- Ability to engage in occasional work related travel.
- Excellent attendance record.