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Managing Attorney – Tenant Advocacy Program

Catholic Migration Services (“CMS”) provides high quality free legal services, tenant organizing, community education, and advocacy for low-income immigrants residing in Brooklyn and Queens, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, national origin, or immigration status. CMS is committed to “welcoming the stranger in our midst” by serving and working alongside underserved immigrant communities to advance equality and social justice. CMS’ three program areas are tenant advocacy, workers’ rights and immigration. CMS is an affiliated agency of Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.

The Tenant Advocacy Program (“TAP”) provides legal advice and representation to hundreds of Queens residents each year on a variety of legal matters, including both affirmative matters (obtaining new leases, rent overcharge, repairs/services, combatting landlord harassment, SCRIE/DRIE) and defense matters (eviction and holdover cases, opposing applications for major capital improvement rent increases). TAP also leads Know-Your-Rights presentations, creates educational materials and organizes Queens tenants to assert their collective voices. TAP’s organizing work includes building organizing, educational outreach, and helping tenants make their voices heard to city and state elected officials and agencies.

POSITION:
The Managing Attorney oversees all work done by TAP to ensure that the work carries out the CMS mission, is high quality, and meets contractual obligations to CMS’ funders. The Managing Attorney will work with the Director of Legal Services to carry out and further develop the vision of the Tenant Advocacy Program. The Managing Attorney directly supervises all TAP team members, who currently include two attorneys (excluding the Managing Attorney), four tenant organizers and a paralegal. CMS’ non-supervisory staff are represented by UAW Local 2325 – the Association of Legal Aid Attorneys. The Managing Attorney will be based in our Queens office and report to the Director of Legal Services.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Develop vision for the Tenant Advocacy Program in consultation with the Director of Legal Services and TAP staff members.
• Directly supervise TAP team members. Schedule regular support meetings, develop staff work plans, and provide feedback on performance on an ongoing basis.
• Represent CMS in coalitions, before government and other funders, and before elected officials whenever program input is expected;
• Manage grant compliance and reporting, ensuring deliverables are being met for all government/private funders, and provide assistance in report writing as needed;
• Work collaboratively with other CMS managers and the Director of Legal Services to manage CMS and facilitate the provision of services in a holistic manner across all of CMS’ programs and worksites;
• Represent clients in housing-related legal proceedings including before administrative agencies, trial courts and appellate courts.
• Identify professional development opportunities for TAP staff, develop in-house trainings, and mentor staff members;
• Maintain organized and up-to-date files and database of caseload;
• Assist in planning and implementation of strategic projects related to TAP legal services and tenant organizing;
• Provide periodic reports to the Director of Legal Services about TAP’s work, progress towards meeting contract deliverables, and caseloads; and
• Assist in the daily operation of the office.

REQUIREMENTS:
• J.D. from an accredited law school;
• Admission to the New York State Bar and current status of good standing;
• Minimum of seven years of housing legal experience. Prior supervisory experience is preferred;
• Experience as a community organizer, or working with community organizers, is preferred;
• Excellent writing, communication and analytical skills;
• Computer proficiency- Microsoft Office;
• Competency in one or more foreign languages is preferred;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and work independently, as well as to work collaboratively with a team; and
• Ability and experience working with staff and clients from diverse backgrounds and communities.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS:
Applications will be accepted immediately and will be considered on a rolling basis. Interested applicants should send a cover letter, resume, list of three professional references and two writing samples to: David Colodny, Director of Legal Services and Sr. Vice President, at dcolodny@catholicmigration.org. Please include “TAP-Managing Attorney Application” in the subject line.

DIVERSITY AND NON-DISCRIMINATION POLICY:
Catholic Migration Services values workplace diversity and welcomes applicants and employees of all backgrounds. Catholic Migration Services makes all employment decisions without regard to any applicant’s or employee’s protected characteristics, including their race, religion, color, national origin, immigration status, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, arrest conviction record, or marital status.

Download the Managing Attorney – Tenant Advocacy Program employment opportunity as a PDF.