Farmworker Legal Services of Michigan - Staff Attorney for Employment Litigation - Kalamazoo or Ypsilanti

POSITION: Farmworker Legal Services (FLS), a non-profit law office, is seeking an employment-law attorney to join a dynamic and committed team litigating in Michigan state and federal courts on behalf of migrant and seasonal agricultural workers. The position is union supported and based out of our Kalamazoo or Ypsilanti (Ann Arbor) office with a flexible remote work schedule option.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM: FLS is a statewide division of the Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP). FLS fights for justice and dignity alongside the farmworker community through our systemic, multi-forum legal advocacy, community engagement, and direct legal representation of farmworkers in their civil legal matters. Our bilingual advocates provide a full range of civil legal services to Michigan’s eligible population of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their dependents. FLS case priorities include wage theft, trafficking, discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace health and safety, housing, civil rights, and immigration. MAP works to advance the safety, independence, and economic stability of those most affected by poverty, racism, and other structurally oppressive systems by increasing access to justice and working for systemic solutions. MAP has provided civil legal aid for those unable to afford an attorney for more than 50 years.

RESPONSIBILITIES: The Staff Attorney will handle a farmworker legal services caseload, including impact cases involving novel areas of law related to workers’ rights, including but not limited to, Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the H-2A Regulations of Immigration and Nationality Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Trafficking Victims Protection Act, and state law claims. FLS attorneys litigate complex wage and hour, multi-party employment discrimination, and human trafficking cases and may provide representation in other matters such as filing T or U-visa applications for victims of employment-based crimes, housing, workers’ compensation, public benefits, or unemployment as expertise allows. FLS attorneys work with team members on cases and advocacy projects and handle all phases of litigation in state and federal courts and administrative proceedings. The attorney will also have an opportunity to collaborate with a wide variety of federal agencies and private counsel. To meet the specialized legal needs of farmworker cases, the position may occasionally require work and/or travel in the evening or on the weekend.

QUALIFICATIONS

Applicants must possess: 

  • License to practice law in Michigan, ability to take the next available bar exam in Michigan, or qualify to be admitted by waiver or as a student attorney under MRPC Rule 8.120.
  • Demonstrated commitment to workers’ rights, immigrants, victims of crime, low-income individuals, farmworkers, or underserved populations through lived or learned experiences.
  • Culturally competent, including understanding the unique needs of low-wage workers and the ability to establish trust with client communities.
  • Excellent communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills.

Priority will be given to those with:

  • Litigation skills.
  • Prior experience with employment law, immigration law, working with immigrant workers, or legal aid.
  • Ability to communicate effectively in Spanish and English.
  • Proficiency in Haitian Creole or one of the indigenous languages native to Mexico or Central America.

BENEFITS: This is a full-time position with a salary range depending on experience and starting at $50,000. MAP offers a generous benefits package including life, short- and long-term disability, health, vision, dental and flexible spending accounts. If staff do not require health benefits, they have the option to take an annual $1,500 payout in addition to the base salary paid over the course of the year. MAP also has a generous leave policy allowing staff to accrue 3 weeks paid vacation the first year and 13 paid holidays, as well as an annual 2% contribution and 2% match to retirement plan subject to board approval for eligible staff. MAP is a qualifying employer for Public Service Loan Forgiveness. Kalamazoo is a college town in southwest Michigan, located 35 miles east of Lake Michigan and two hours from Chicago and Detroit, that offers the Kalamazoo Promise (an independent scholarship program that provides students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools up to up to 100% tuition for post-secondary education).

TO APPLY: Please submit a resume, cover letter, and three professional references to jobs@farmworkerlaw.org with “FLS Attorney” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please describe your level of Spanish competency and how your personal background or experiences have prepared you to work effectively alongside colleagues from backgrounds different than your own and the farmworker community. The position is open until filled; but priority is given to those received by December 1, 2022.

The Michigan Advocacy Program is an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

Date Posted: 
Thursday, November 10, 2022