Staff Attorney - Housing Law Unit (2 Positions)

· Geneva, New York
Employment Type Full-Time
Minimum Experience Entry-level
Compensation DOE





About Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc.®

Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. (LawNY®) is a not-for-profit law firm providing civil legal services to low-income clients in a fourteen-county area of western New York.

  LawNY was created by a merger of three regional legal service programs in 2004. The programs had long-standing, close relationships to the communities they served, which are maintained by our local offices. Staff work out of seven local offices and across numerous regional projects based in Bath, Elmira Geneva, Ithaca, Jamestown, Olean and Rochester. Our advocates vigorously represent low income clients

  LawNY has been providing high quality legal representation for 53 years. While our services are always expanding, our core priorities remain focused. Our 2020 cases were closed in the following practice areas: Housing (26.8%); Income Maintenance (26%); Family Law (22.4%); Health Law (13%); Miscellaneous Benefits (including wills, advanced care documents and filing waivers) (4.8%); Consumer Law (3.4%); Employment (2.6%); Individual Rights (0.8%); and Education (0.3%) In 2020, LawNY closed a total of 4,881 cases, benefiting 10,532 New Yorkers.

  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 increasingly committed to creating a law firm where race equity, diversity and cultural competency are integral components of our work, from client advocacy to internal operations. We are actively seeking applicants whose work incorporates this perspective and whose lived and professional experience contributes to sustaining an environment that enables staff and clients to feel empowered, valued, respected, and safe.

About the Geneva Office

The Geneva office serves residents of Livingston, Ontario, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates Counties. LawNY’s Geneva office has been serving clients in Western New York for over 40 years.  With a staff of more than 30, the advocates in the Geneva office serve individuals with substantive legal issues in the areas of housing, public benefits, unemployment, consumer debt, foreclosure, disability advocacy, elder law, family law, and other civil legal areas that impact an individual’s income, health, and housing. Our Geneva staff includes attorneys, paralegals, and a legal support team who work closely across areas of specialization to bring a holistic approach to addressing legal issues affecting our clients and community.


Position Summary - Staff Attorney

The Geneva office of LawNY seeks to fill an immediate opening for two Staff attorney positions. One available position is in the housing law Unit, which focuses specifically on: foreclosure; bankruptcy; landlord-tenant; homelessness prevention; fair housing; and government benefits.  Another available position is in the family law unit, which focuses on representing parents in Family court matters, specifically: custody and visitation, family offense, abuse and neglect, and child support violation proceedings.

We encourage applicants with a wide range of substantive legal experience to apply. We expect those who fill this position will grow and adapt their practice to the needs of the community and the organization, and place an emphasis on litigation and advocacy skills and the ability to practice in multiple forums. The applicant must have the caring, patience, and emotional maturity to help low-income people overcome crisis situations. 

The Staff Attorney provides comprehensive legal services to eligible clients in LawNY priority areas in accordance with LawNY program guidelines. The ideal candidate should have a strong understanding of the intersection of these legal issues with racial justice. Each member of LawNY’s staff plays a critical role in realizing LawNY’s vision of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). 

This position reports to the Supervising Attorney of the Housing Unit or the Family Law Unit in the Geneva office.

Responsibilities: These are the most significant responsibilities and primary functions of the position.

  • Provides legal services to low income clients and client groups including advice, negotiation, litigation and administrative advocacy in accordance with LawNY program priorities and case handling policies.
  • Collaborates with other human services providers, non-profit organizations and community groups as well as the courts, administrative tribunals and the private bar to address legal problems within our community.
  • Develop specialized knowledge in one or more of the following substantive areas of poverty law:  Housing and Family Court matters. 
  • Supervise and train staff paralegals, AmeriCorps members, interns, and volunteers.
  • Maintains a high level of professional competence through attendance at training sessions, seminars and conferences and individual efforts to keep abreast of current developments in the area of poverty law, the application of a race equity lens to client service, as well as issues in the community affecting low-income people.

Qualifications: These are the basic qualifications for the position.

  • Admitted to practice and in good standing in New York State, eligible for admission without examination, or willing to take the next available Bar examination.
  • Demonstrated commitment of service to low-income people.
  • Demonstrated leadership in critical issues facing low-income people.
  • Commitment to engaging in learning and developing supervision skills that support diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Additional Traits and Skills: These are the traits, attributes, attitudes, and skills that speak to the candidate’s ability to succeed in the position. While no one candidate will possess all of the qualities listed, the ideal candidate will have many of these qualities. LawNY encourages each candidate to think about their own personal knowledge, skills, and experience, as well as professional skills and experience, in relation to this list of traits and skills.

  • Litigation and advocacy experience in state and/or federal court and/or administrative forums.
  • Experience with at least one area of poverty law, especially family law, landlord-tenant, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and government benefits
  • Experience Incorporating an anti-racist and anti-oppressive lens into legal practice.
  • An understanding of the concepts of institutional and structural racism and their impact on underserved and underrepresented communities
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including a commitment to providing trauma-informed services.
  • Supports and enhances a sense of belonging and success of staff from traditionally marginalized populations.
  • Demonstrated ability to cultivate and develop inclusive and equitable working relationships with staff, clients and community members.
  • Demonstrates an understanding of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-oppression concepts and issues, especially as they apply to agency recruitment, hiring and retention
  • Humility in working with colleagues and clients across the spectrum of diversity, including race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, immigrant status, religious identity, physical and mental disabilities, and/or limited English proficiency.
  • Lived experience with our client communities.
  • True fluency in a language other than English that is spoken by our clients.
  • Ability to work under deadlines and manage multiple tasks.

Start Date & Application Timeframe

Applications will be considered until all positions are filled. You will receive a confirmation email when your application has been received on our HR platform. LawNY will contact you to inform you whether you have been offered an interview. This Position starts as soon as possible after an offer is made.

Salary and Benefits: Salary is dependent on experience and based on a pay scale with annual increments. The salary for a Staff Attorney with five years of legal services experience is $65,500per year.  We provide a superlative package of fringe benefits including:      

  • 94% employer paid health insurance (with significant HSA contributions to offset high deduction plans)
  • 100% employer paid dental and disability insurance
  • $50,000 automatic life insurance
  • Remote Work Policy: New staff are able to work from home up to 3 days per week during their 6 month probationary period with manager approval. This increases to 5 days per week once successfully finished with probationary period with manager approval.
  • LawNY is committed to providing a work-life balance to their employees.  We encourage and support a 35 hour work week to ensure our employees have this balance.


We also provide a very generous leave package including, in the first year of employment, four weeks of vacation, 12 sick days, 5 personal days, and 2 floating holidays. New parents receive 20 days of paid new parent leave.


LawNY is a qualifying public service loan forgiveness employer and a participant in the LSC loan repayment assistance program.

Application Instructions

To apply, submit your cover letter, resume, and three references through LawNY’s BambooHR platform, here.

This position is considered Exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Thank You

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  • Location
    Geneva, New York
  • Employment Type
  • Minimum Experience
  • Compensation