Attorney-In-Charge, EDNY Pro Se Legal Assistance Project

Job description

Hofstra University is a nationally ranked and recognized private university in Hempstead, N.Y. that is the only school to ever host three consecutive presidential debates (2008, 2012 and 2016). At Hofstra, students get the best of both worlds. Our campus is a leafy oasis just a quick train ride away from New York City and all its cultural, recreational and professional opportunities. We offer small classes and personal attention, with the resources, technology and facilities of a large university. Students can choose from more than 160 undergraduate program options and 165 graduate program options in the liberal arts and sciences, education, health professions and human services, the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs, the Fred DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science, the Frank G. Zarb School of Business, the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law, the Hofstra Northwell School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies, and the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. Hofstra University is a dynamic community of more than 11,000 students from around the world who are dedicated to civic engagement, academic excellence and becoming leaders in their communities and their careers.

Building on a long-established history of preparing, challenging, and inspiring its students to make an impact in their communities through its clinical and pro-bono programs, the Maurice A. Deane School of Law at Hofstra University (“Law School”) is breaking new ground by launching a pilot, two-year Pro Se Legal Assistance Program (“Program”) in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of New York’s Central Islip Courthouse in Fall 2018.  Specifically, the Program would provide limited legal assistance for pro se litigants involved in civil proceedings (excluding cases brought on behalf of incarcerated individuals) in the form of brief consultations, as well as advice and review of pleadings, discovery, answers to discovery requests, motions and oppositions thereto.  To the extent possible, this Program may also seek to produce informational resources for pro se litigants.

The Attorney-in-Charge, assisted by law students, will oversee the provision of limited legal assistance for pro se litigants involved in civil proceedings (excluding cases brought on behalf of incarcerated individuals).  The office will provide services on-site at the Central Islip courthouse three days per week, with drop-in hours and scheduled appointments.  The Attorney-in-Charge will also have weekly supervision meetings at Hofstra Law.  This Program will operate on a limited scope of legal representation model.  No permanent attorney/client relationship will be formed and pro se litigants will be required to review and give informed, written consent to a limited representation retainer agreement.  The pro se services offered by the Program may include:

(1) consultation with pro se litigants before they file a complaint to determine whether their case belongs in the EDNY, consistent with jurisdictional and other procedural considerations;

(2) explanation about timing deadlines for filing required pleadings and forms, as well as instructions for amending pleadings;

(3) limited assistance in filling out forms and simple pleadings or responsive pleadings;

(4) guidance about meaning of various court rules and practices, including any requirements for specific judges;

(5) limited advice about requirements and purposes of motions practice and discovery requests and responses, as well as available methods for informal discovery and fact investigation;

(6) identification and screening of cases that may be appropriate for referral to pro bono legal service providers; and

(7) referral to social services organizations and relevant alternative-dispute resolution programs.

In addition to supervising the Attorney-in-Charge, the Law School will provide administrative assistance, payment for malpractice insurance coverage, as well as office and technological supplies and support for the Program. 

The specific duties of the Attorney-in-Charge will include:  (1) developing a training curriculum and related materials for the law students who work with the Program, including the professional and ethical limitations of limited scope representation, special issues in providing legal assistance to unrepresented litigants, and a foundation in the substantive law and procedural rules relevant to the primary areas of need for those served by the Program, (2) outreach and communication with existing and potential community partners and referral sources, including representatives from the EDNY, (3) establishment of practices and protocols for the Program, (4) drafting grant applications and reports and cultivating sources of support for the Program, (5) collecting, assessing  and reporting case data and information, (6) promoting community engagement and collaborations, including public speaking and written communications about the Program, (7) creation of informational materials for pro se litigants, and (8) other administrative responsibilities such as maintaining malpractice insurance, case management systems, and a budget for the Program.  This position will report to Professor Jennifer Gundlach.  The Attorney-in-Charge will be encouraged and expected to engage in the life of the Law School.

This position will be on a year-to-year contract. Qualifications for the Attorney-in-Charge include:

  • A JD degree from an ABA-accredited law school;
  • Admitted to practice law in New York State and in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York;
  • A minimum of two years of litigation experience in federal court, especially in relevant areas of pro se practice, including civil rights, discrimination, federal employment claims, veteran’s and social security benefit appeals, as well as the willingness and capacity to self-teach new areas of law and/or legal skills;
  • Experience supervising, managing, and/or evaluating legal work of law students and/or new attorneys;
  • Demonstrated professional judgment and problem-solving skills;
  • Demonstrated commitment to and/or experience with the provision of high quality legal services to low and moderate-income client communities;
  • Excellent writing skills, particularly with respect to federal litigation-related documents;
  • Solid understanding of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure;
  • Experience in law office and case management;
  • Commitment to training and mentorship of law students, including constructive feedback to colleagues;
  • Sensitivity to ethical issues and ability to analyze the rules of professional responsibility;
  • Fluency in a language other than English is strongly preferred;
  • Salary commensurate with experience and qualifications.

To apply, submit a cover letter, a resume, and a list of references via email to [email protected]. The deadline to apply is July 15, 2018.

Hofstra University is an equal opportunity employer, committed to fostering diversity in its faculty, administrative staff and student body, and encourages applications from the entire spectrum of a diverse community. 




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Job No: 896908
Posted: 6/11/2018
Application Due: 8/10/2018
Work Type: