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SMRLS – Agricultural Worker Project Lead Attorney

Posted 2 years ago

Position: Agricultural Worker Project Lead Attorney – Saint Paul, Minnesota

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services, Inc. (SMRLS) seeks an experienced attorney to lead its Agricultural Worker Project (AWP).
SMRLS provides free, high-quality legal help in critical civil matters to low-income people in southern Minnesota, as well as to agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. For 110 years, SMRLS has helped individuals and families secure and protect their basic needs, maintaining freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness, and abuse.

AWP provides free, high-quality civil legal services to agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota focused on improving clients’ working and living conditions through legal representation, outreach, and education. AWP advises and represents clients with cases involving wage theft, workplace health and safety violations, inadequate employer-provided housing, labor trafficking, employment discrimination or retaliation, H-2A contract violations, and other legal matters that specifically impact agricultural workers. AWP provides legal rights education to agricultural workers in Minnesota and North Dakota through extensive outreach and presentations to agricultural worker communities.

AWP is looking for an experienced, ambitious, and visionary attorney to lead its team of dedicated staff attorneys and paralegals/outreach workers to address, resolve, and prevent the myriad legal issues that negatively impact the working and living conditions of agricultural workers. AWP currently has four permanent staff members in total between SMRLS’ offices in Moorhead, Minnesota and Saint Paul, Minnesota; the lead attorney will be responsible for providing leadership and support to the AWP staff in both offices. In addition to leading and managing the program and its staff, the lead attorney is expected to handle a limited but complex caseload, both independently and as co-counsel with other AWP staff.

Responsibilities:
 Provide training, guidance, and supervision to AWP staff, including through co-counseling
 Independently handle a limited caseload including complex litigation in state and federal courts
 Guide AWP’s outreach and legal education efforts; directly provide outreach to agricultural workers on occasion
 Assess the legal needs of the client community, establish goals, and appropriately allocate AWP’s resources
 Collaborate with state and federal agencies and community partners on initiatives to improve the working and living conditions of agricultural workers
 Provide presentations and trainings to attorneys, agencies, community partners, and agricultural workers regarding AWP and agricultural worker legal rights
 Act as a member of coalitions, task forces, and other groups to advocate for agricultural workers
 Develop connections with the private bar for co-counseling and private attorney involvement purposes
 Track AWP outcomes and draft grant reports

 Supervise law students/temporary staff in addition to permanent staff on occasion
 Other responsibilities as determined by the needs of the program
Qualifications:
 Admission to the Minnesota and/or North Dakota bar, or eligibility for admission to either on motion without examination (admission to both states is needed).
 A minimum of five years of litigation experience preferred, primarily in employment law matters related to low-wage workers
 Proficiency/fluency in Spanish is strongly preferred
 Demonstrated commitment to serving the needs of low-income and immigrant communities
 Ability to work with diverse groups and individuals with comfort and sensitivity
 Willingness to work irregular hours, including some evening outreach and limited overnight travel, in order to meet the needs of AWP’s client community
 Adaptability and flexibility; ability to handle a variety of responsibilities under pressure
 Excellent oral and written communication skills
 Proficiency in Word, Excel, and Google systems
 Possession of a current driver’s license

Position Open: Immediately. Applications will be accepted on an ongoing basis until the position is filled.

Compensation: On scale according to experience. Good benefits include paid vacation and sick/safe time.

To apply, please visit www.smrls.org or submit a cover letter, resume, and three professional references to:
John Joachim
Director of Human Resources
Southern MN Regional Legal Svcs. 55 East Fifth Street, Suite 800 Saint Paul, MN 55101-1473
john.joachim@smrls.org

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