May 12, 2020

Legal Programs Assistant / Paralegal

Root & Rebound Seeks Legal Programs Assistant/ Paralegal

About Root & Rebound:

Root & Rebound (R&R) is a national reentry and advocacy organization that addresses racial, economic, and social inequities within the criminal justice system. Root & Rebound’s mission is to restore power and resources to the families and communities most harmed by mass incarceration through legal advocacy, public education, policy reform and litigation—a model rooted in the needs and expertise of people who are directly impacted.

More information about Root & Rebound can be found at www.rootandrebound.org

Our model is three-pronged:

 

  • Educate: Root & Rebound democratizes the law so that it serves, and ceases to harm, people directly impacted by mass incarceration. We create legal guides, toolkits, online materials, and self-help tools not only for people directly impacted but for the infrastructure of agencies that can better support them.
  • Advocate: Root & Rebound advocates for the protection and restoration of rights of people with records and past court-involvement, so that they can access basic needs including employment, housing, and family reunification through the only free Reentry Legal Hotline in the nation, statewide clinics, and court representation. 
  • Reform: Root & Rebound works to eliminate barriers to reentry, while amplifying the voices of people in reentry, by grounding our policy advocacy work in engaging a feedback loop of information and thought partnership from our clients to policymakers.

 

Commitment: Full-time

Location: Based in Oakland, CA, with some travel required.

Legal Programs Assistant/Paralegal 

The Legal Programs Assistant/Paralegal at Root & Rebound serves as the backbone of our California legal team, responsible for supporting attorneys working in 5 California regions (Bay Area, Central Valley, Rural & Tribal Communities in Northern CA, Los Angeles, and the Inland Empire) through their own efforts and by coordinating and overseeing volunteers, interns, and pro bono paralegals to do the same. This work includes organizing client matters across the state, prescreening legal intakes for clinic attendees across the state, entering legal intakes into the client database, ensuring internal compliance with data entry protocols and audits, and supporting robust communication with clients.  

The ideal candidate is impeccably organized, calm under pressure, passionate about ensuring high-quality and consistent client work through client data entry and management, thrives in environments that demand creativity, innovation and piloting new systems and ideas, and has 5-10 years of experience working as a Legal Assistant or Paralegal, ideally in a similar, fast paced, nonprofit legal services environment. 

This person is technologically savvy and comfortable with legal client management systems, including client data-base systems (Clio), legal search engines (LexisNexis), legal cloud-based client systems (Lawyaw) Google Drive, Excel.  Great communicator, who leans into problem-solving through collaboration and direct feedback, and is eager to take the initiative.  Must be detail-oriented.

In partnership with and alongside the Programs Team, the Legal Programs Assistant/Paralegal will be responsible for components of the administration and coordination of Root & Rebound’s legal programs, focusing on public education and direct services via the reentry legal hotline and clinics. 

Legal Administrative Support of Direct Legal Services (Estimated 60% of Time):

  • Assist with client communication, including but not limited to: case status updates, requesting paperwork, getting updated contact information. Maintain communication with attorneys on client matters, elevating urgent legal concerns to the responsible attorney. 
  • Support, under the supervision of an attorney, direct services follow-up from site-based and clinic offerings across the state by completing record cleaning forms and serving them by mail. 
  • Input client data into our online client management system in a timely manner. Assist attorneys across the state to organize and have strong administrative data across California and South Carolina. 
  • Prescreen clients for direct service program eligibility and elevating urgent client matters.
  • Process new prison legal mail with legal issues requiring Know Your Rights, materials, and prepare reply letters.
  • As possible and needed, conduct new legal research for R&R‘s hotline and prison mail clients, including drafting short Know Your Rights fact sheets. 
  • Support in-depth client work with cite-checking, filing court paperwork, assisting with service, calendaring with court.
  • Provide support for front desk and reception coverage, as needed.
  • Develop tools and resources to streamline legal/programs work.

 

Data Management and Audits (10% of Time)

  • Develop and implement strong systems for client data collection, from paper intake to data entry into client management system to ensuring attorneys’ proper use of data systems. 
  • Provide initial and regularly recurring trainings to R&R attorneys, direct services staff, and program volunteers on data systems, and provide regular support on using and implementing data systems to the R&R Legal Team.
  • Work collaboratively with the R&R Data & Evaluation Coordinator to ensure an internal culture that values data and tracking, pull data for grant reports, and ensure client data is well managed, complete, and accurate.
  • Manage and audit all paper data and data entered into our electronic client management system, ensuring that all data entered by the legal team is completed and accurate weekly, and includes all required and relevant client information.
  • Support R&R legal team in following case closure protocols, including surveying clients, inputting case outcomes, and ensuring no data is missing from closed cases.

 

Management Responsibilities (30% Time):

  • Directly supervise and support onboarding of AmeriCorps VISTA staff member(s).  
    • Current VISTA team member’s responsibilities include event/clinic outreach, client outreach, support & coordination for the legal team, etc. 
    • Prospective VISTA team member’s responsibilities include communicating with existing clients regarding critical updates and reminder check-ins, calling courts regarding client matters, and connecting clients with warm referrals to social service providers. 
  • Lead weekly check-ins with direct reports to oversee responsibilities, support with upcoming projects and deadlines and coach toward growth and learning.
  • With support of Head of People at Root & Rebound, engage in direct and evidence-based feedback conversations, as well as performance management reviews throughout the year; Create opportunities for direct report to share their expertise with the team/organization; Initiate opportunities for direct report to pursue training and professional development.
  • Develop paralegal internship and volunteer programs to increase R&R’s capacity to provide legal services.
    • Serve as point of contact with paralegal programs, schools, and other coordinated volunteer groups in order to recruit volunteers and interns. 
    • Develop volunteer and intern role descriptions, onboarding plans, and ongoing supervision structures. 
    • Recruit, screen, match, train, supervise and manage paralegal and administrative support volunteers and interns. 
    • Support the programs team  to proactively recruit volunteers, interns, law clerks, and volunteer attorneys to carry out R&Rs mission.

Qualifications:

  • 5-10 years as a legal assistant
  • Preference for applicants who have worked in a fast-paced nonprofit or community legal aid environment. 
  • A certified paralegal is a plus, but is not needed in this position.
  • A.A., B.A., B.S. or paralegal certificate
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office software; Proficiency with Google products (Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive).
  • Responsible and reliable, with a strong work ethic. 
  • Positive, professional, and humble attitude. 
  • Excellent problem-solving skills. Proactive in thinking of and designing creative solutions to advance our mission and work.
  • Excellent time-management and organizational skills. 
  • Excellent communication skills.
  • Ability to incorporate clear direction and supervision. 
  • Able to effectively work on multiple projects.
  • Creative, enthusiastic, and willing to learn and try new things.
  • Willingness to travel. You may be expected to attend legal clinics that Root & Rebound routinely hosts in Northern California, the Central Valley and Los Angeles/Inland Empire regions. These trips can vary in length from one day to a week. Please note: Until further notice, all in-person legal clinics have been suspended in favor of hosting them online and via phone. 
  • Demonstrated commitment to social, racial, and criminal justice.
  • Spanish proficiency is a plus!

 

Compensation & Benefits:

This position will begin as a full-time position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience and employment benefits that include medical, vision, and dental care, as well as three weeks of paid time off per year plus holiday closures, which typically includes 2 weeks around the December/January holidays as well as federal holidays.

 

Application Instructions:

To apply for this position, please send a resume, cover letter, short writing sample, and at least three references with contact information in an email to Eva DeLair (Associate Director, Northern California Programs & Policy Reform) at [email protected] by May 22, 2020. Resumes without a cover letter, writing sample, and references will not be reviewed. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled. No phone calls, please.

 

Root & Rebound is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages applications from all qualified individuals including formerly incarcerated and/or system-involved individuals, people of color, persons with disabilities, ethnic and religious minorities, women, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender variant individuals. People with past involvement in the justice system are seen as an asset to our organization and are strongly encouraged to apply.

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