Michigan Legal Help Program - Staff Attorney - Ypsilanti, MI

POSITION: The Michigan Legal Help Program (MLHP) is seeking a Staff Attorney to join its small team of advocates contributing to one of the most innovative self-help websites in the country. MLH provides not only static legal information to people representing themselves in Michigan, but tools to create the paperwork they need and step-by-step instructions to handle their legal problems from start to finish. MLH also created an automated Guide to Legal Help to provide curated resources for visitors, and the What’s Next Text program that texts visitors automatically to help them at every stage of their legal issue. Staff attorneys are involved in all aspects of MLH, continuing to create new ways to improve self-help in Michigan. All MLH staff are based out of the Ypsilanti office with a hybrid in-office/remote work schedule; a 100% remote option is also possible for Michigan residents. This is a unique opportunity to use your JD in new ways to help more people engage in our civil justice system.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM: MLHP works with judges, courts, lawyers, bar associations, nonprofits, self-help centers, libraries, and many others to promote coordinated and quality assistance for people addressing their own civil legal problems in Michigan. MLHP is an active participant of the Michigan Supreme Court’s Justice for All Commission and works closely with other stakeholders to achieve the Commission’s goals. Our interactive statewide website is a nationally recognized model that provides legal information, self-help tools, and referrals to the public and to advocates helping others. Over 63,000 people visit the MLH website per week, and in 2021, people used its Do-It-Yourself Tools to create more than 300 sets of legal forms per day. MLHP supports a Spanish language version of the site at AyudaLegaldeMichigan.org and provides live chat assistance (LiveHelp) for all web visitors between 11am-3pm weekdays. MLHP also develops and supports Self-Help Centers around the state to provide access to public computers and legal information help from trained Navigators. Visit michiganlegalhelp.org for more information.

MLHP is part of Michigan Statewide Advocacy Services (MSAS), a non-profit law firm providing free legal services to older adults and people with low income through several statewide programs. MSAS is administered by the Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP), which provides access to the justice system for those who need it the most through civil legal aid offices and statewide advocacy programs. MAP’s mission is 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. Visit miadvocacy.org for more information.

RESPONSIBILITIES: Primary Staff Attorney responsibilities include:

  • Developing new legal information content for Michigan Legal Help: staff attorneys are assigned several substantive legal areas and are responsible for development of new content in those areas (articles, videos, Do-It-Yourself Tool scripts, forms (if needed), step-by-step procedural instructions, What’s Next Text scripts, and others).
  • Maintaining assigned content: staff attorneys are responsible for modification of content in their subject areas upon learning of errors, changes in law/forms/procedures, or based on our regular annual review timeline.
  • Participating in justice community partnerships: staff attorneys collaborate on national and statewide projects including SCAO forms committees, State Bar committees, Self-Represented Litigation Network work groups, and Justice For All Commission committees and work groups.
  • Contributing to the overall operations of MLH: help train and supervise LiveHelp agents; share in training and supervision of law clerks; participate in Technology Innovation Grant projects impacting MLH, such as What’s Next Text and Michigan Legal Help’s website redesign; help maintain and update the Guide to Legal Help; help manage usability testing events; and other projects as needed.
  • Taking on one of the two following specialty assignments:
    • Document Assembly: MLH currently has a library of 50 DIY Tools that self-represented litigants use to prepare their own legal documents. Existing tools use A2J Author, HotDocs, and Docassemble platforms. The Staff Attorney would become familiar with development of DIY tools in these platforms, and along with our contracted developer, be responsible for development of new Do-It-Yourself Tools (including some designed by other MLHP staff attorneys), testing of all DIY Tools, and maintenance of the library of DIY Tools.
    • LiveHelp Leadership: While all MLH staff participate in handling LiveHelp shifts and supervising student volunteers, this staff attorney would take the lead in managing law student supervisory duties and take more LiveHelp shifts than the other staff attorneys.

QUALIFICATIONS: Applicants must be licensed to practice law in Michigan, qualified to be admitted by waiver, or able to take the next Michigan bar exam. We value analytical and problem-solving skills, as well as a demonstrated commitment to serving people with low-income and underserved populations through lived or learned experience. Applicants must be skilled in working with Microsoft Office and Google Suite and be comfortable learning new technology interfaces. Applicants must be able to effectively manage multiple tasks, set priorities, and meet all deadlines. Excellent verbal and written communication skills, a commitment to increasing access to justice for people without lawyers, the ability to take initiative in the development and completion of projects, and to work successfully on teams is required.

BENEFITS: This is a full-time position with a 2022 salary starting at $50,000 depending on experience. 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.

TO APPLY: Send resume and cover letter to jobs@lsscm.org with “MLH Staff Attorney” in the subject line. Applications received by 5/24/22 will receive priority.

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

Date Posted: 
Tuesday, May 3, 2022