Staff Attorney - Disability Advocacy Project

· Ithaca, New York
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Entry-level
Compensation Dependent Upon Experience





The Ithaca office of Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® has an immediate opening for a Staff Attorney in our Disability Advocacy Project (DAP). The staff attorney’s primary responsibility will be to represent claimants who have been denied Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and/or Social Security Disability (SSDI) benefits by the Social Security Administration. This work will include administrative appeals within the Social Security Administration’s appeals process, as well as litigation in federal court.  

Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. ® is a not-for-profit law firm which provides civil legal services to low-income clients in a fourteen-county area of western New York including the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier regions.  The Ithaca office directly serves residents of Tompkins and Tioga Counties.

LawNY is committed to equitable inclusion across race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, ability, sex, religion, economic circumstances, ethnicity, national origin, and culture. We are striving to transcend the construct of race and be an anti-racist law firm. We encourage staff to bring their whole selves to work each day and pledge to celebrate every aspect of who they are. 

Core Duties

  • Duties will include supervision and training of staff paralegals, AmeriCorps members, interns and volunteers as well as 
  • Maintaining a full-time caseload, including representation of eligible DAP clients in the Social Security and federal court appeals process. 
  • Develop specialized knowledge of SSI and SSDI law, administrative law, and federal court practice, as it relates to claims for SSI/SSDI disability benefits.   
  • Substantial involvement with the Courts, administrative tribunals and the private bar is expected.
  • Collaborate with other LawNY advocates, human services providers, non-profit organizations and community, client or other advocacy groups to address problems of the poor, including providing community legal education.


  • Admission to the New York State Bar is required.  
  • Experience with the Social Security Administration appeals process, and/or experience working with clients who are seeking disability benefits would be helpful.  
  • Applicants should demonstrate a strong commitment to helping poor and disadvantaged people.

Desired Skills 

  • Prior legal experience with low-income and other oppressed communities and clients.
  • Lived experience with our client communities highly desired
  • Strong problem-solving abilities, time management, and organizational skills.
  • Ability to work under deadline and manage multiple tasks.
  • Ability to empathize and sensitively respond to people in crisis situations.
  • Excellent use of Google Drive/GSuite, Word, and Excel; database programs a plus.
  • Proficiency in Spanish is an advantage, but is not required.
  • Understanding of the principles of race equity analysis and the intersection of racism and poverty and their application to LawNY’s organizational life and to our work. 
  • Passion for social justice and commitment to the mission of LawNY

Salary:  Salary is dependent on experience and based on a pay scale with annual increments.  Beginning salary for a Staff Attorney with no prior experience is $50,000 as per the LawNY® salary scale.  We also provide an excellent package of fringe benefits including health, disability and life insurance as well as generous leave provisions.

Procedure:  Applicants should submit a letter of interest and resume with three references and a writing sample to Gregg A. Thomas, Managing Attorney of the Ithaca Office. Please do not send applications directly to Ithaca office staff. All applications received by May 31, 2021 will receive full consideration.  Applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.

Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.® (LawNY®) is an equal opportunity employer. LawNY® encourages applications from diverse candidates.  LawNY® welcomes applications regardless of race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, pregnancy, national origin, age, disability, genetic information or any other consideration protected by law.  This position is considered Exempt pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act.

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  • Location
    Ithaca, New York
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation
    Dependent Upon Experience