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SMRLS – Assistant Director of Litigation and Advocacy

Posted 10 months ago

SMRLS has an exciting leadership position for a strong and experienced Assistant Director of Litigation and Advocacy, who knows how to prioritize, make decisions, motivate others and inspire high quality legal work, with a proven track record of creative problem-solving and change management.

SMRLS is a non-profit law firm which receives federal, state, local, public, and private funding to provide free legal assistance to low income and elderly people who reside in 33 counties of southern Minnesota, as well as to agricultural workers throughout Minnesota and North Dakota.  As Minnesota’s oldest legal aid program (founded in 1909), SMRLS has established a tradition of effective, client-centered legal work, a strong partnership with the private bar, support from a bi-partisan Legislature and the Minnesota Supreme Court, and a partnership with the other Minnesota Legal Services Coalition programs in providing access to justice.  SMRLS has an experienced, dynamic staff of approximately 57 attorneys, 45 additional staff and 800 volunteer attorneys to provide legal assistance to over 200,000 eligible persons.

SMRLS is a client-centered organization which is committed to its Mission:  Providing a full range of high quality legal services, in a respectful manner which enable clients to: enforce their legal rights; obtain effective access to the courts, administrative agencies and forums which constitute our system of justice; maintain freedom from hunger, homelessness, sickness and abuse; and empower persons and ensure equal opportunity, thus, helping persons to help themselves and become economically self-reliant, to the extent their individual abilities and circumstances permit.  SMRLS values, welcomes, and promotes diversity in all aspects of its work.  SMRLS has adopted Practice Standards and Guiding Principles to accomplish its Mission.   SMRLS is an anti-racist law firm which welcomes all clients, encourages and supports a diverse staff, advocates successfully to eliminate barriers for persons of color, and ensures equal access to and fair treatment by SMRLS and the legal system.

SMRLS’ Litigation Support Counsel, under the direction of SMRLS’ Director of Litigation and Advocacy, will be responsible for:

  • Mentoring attorneys at all levels, teaching litigation and advocacy skills, and helping develop and implement strategies resulting in robust professional development of SMRLS attorneys;
  • Approving appeals to state and federal appellate courts;
  • Mooting of significant oral arguments;
  • Review of significant pleadings, briefs and legal memoranda;
  • Attendance at significant court appearances, appellate arguments, depositions and settlement conferences;
  • Preparation and/or coordination of amicus briefs;
  • Co-counseling, coordinating and advising on complex litigation and appeals to appellate courts, leading litigation teams, and evaluating alternative forums and approaches for resolving issues in advance of litigation;
  • Working with SMRLS’ Volunteer Attorney Program Coordinators to involve private attorneys and law firms in co-counseling, and
  • Working to develop collaborative external relations with SMRLS’ public supporters and key stakeholders.


This position requires an extensive and varied litigation background (including extensive litigation and oral arguments before State and Federal appellate courts), a history of creative lawyering and high impact advocacy, demonstrated leadership in litigation, and substantive expertise in poverty law issues or the equivalent;

  • Be passionate about SMRLS’ mission and demonstrate a commitment to advocating for the legal rights of low-income persons and client communities;
  • Possess significant commitment, skills, and experience in mentoring and training less experienced attorneys;
  • Possess strong leadership skills and a leadership style that inspires and encourages professional growth by others;
  • Have successful management experience in a legal services program or similar organization, including team management;
  • Exhibit excellent communication skills and the ability to inspire the trust and confidence of the SMRLS staff, Leadership Team, board, client communities, and the public
  • Be admitted to the Minnesota State Bar or admitted to practice in another state and eligible to be admitted in Minnesota

Application Process:

Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Please submit a letter expressing your qualifications for the position, your vision for the future of SMRLS litigation and advocacy, and a brief description of a first-year work plan for the position. Please include a resume, writing sample, and contact information for three references.

Submissions should be sent to: Human Resources

                                                 55 E 5th Street, Suite 800

                                                 St. Paul, MN 55101


Salary is commensurate with experience according to scale. Excellent benefits include medical, dental, life insurance, 403(b) with employer matching, and long-term disability.

SMRLS is committed to diversity in the workplace.  Women, minorities, and persons with disabilities

are especially encouraged to apply.

Apply Online