Jobs & Volunteering

Supervising Attorney
Staff Attorney – Discharges
Staff Attorney – VA
Volunteer: Pro Bono opportunities
Internships

Supervising Attorney

The Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks applicants for a supervising attorney.

VAP is partnered with VA hospitals, health clinics, and local veterans’ groups to reach servicemembers where they are. With a dedicated team of attorneys and advocates, VAP works tirelessly to tackle veterans’ legal challenges and connect clients to appropriate programs. Through these services, our project helps veterans achieve the stability needed to regain their health and rebuild their lives.

The supervising attorney will coordinate staff advocacy to facilitate holistic services for clients, ensuring that the benefits and housing staff collaborate with other project members working on issues tied to military service and VA claims. As a part of the management team, responsibilities will include setting case priorities, ensuring training and professional development for staff, providing quarterly case reports for Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) grants, and carrying a modified caseload.

The supervising attorney will be in charge of the legal assistance we provide under SSVF contracts. The primary focus is assisting veteran in maintaining stable housing, which includes representation in housing court. General knowledge in the areas of consumer finance, child support, and government benefits is also required.

Military experience or prior work with veterans is a plus.

Responsibilities

  • Supervise at small team of attorneys and advocates representing veterans in civil legal matters; ensure staff training, professional development, day-to-day operations and workflow; provide feedback and guidance on legal strategy and case management;
  • Represent a modified caseload of clients in housing court and administrative hearings;
  • Conduct intake, training, and special events at partner organizations’ sites;
  • Provide telephone and/or written advice to clients as needed;
  • Research legal issues, with a focus on housing law, public benefits, and VA benefits;
  • Work with the team on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs;
  • Track client information in our database, prepare reports for grants/funding sources, attend team meetings as well as strategic meetings with the director, perform administrative tasks related to the work.

Qualifications

  • JD and current membership in good standing of the New York State Bar;
  • Minimum 4 years of experience in legal services;
  • Experience managing a team; a strong work ethic and ability to take initiative; ability to organize and prioritize as a leader in  a collaborative effort, while ensuring each team member is heard;
  • Demonstrated proficiency in legal research; excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Efficient and meticulous attention to detail and deadlines;
  • Strong interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to work with people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • A commitment to serving all clients, without regard to  discharge status or criminal justice involvement.

Salary is competitive and commensurate with experience, extremely generous benefits package. To apply, please send a cover letter, resume, and writing sample to veterans@urbanjustice.org with “Supervising Attorney” in the subject line. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We regret that due to high volume, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.

The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.

 

Staff Attorney – Discharges

The Veteran Advocacy Project (VAP) seeks an attorney to represent veterans in discharge upgrade applications to the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

VAP provides free civil legal services to low-income veterans, with a focus on those living with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and substance use issues. We are partnered with VA hospitals, health clinics, and local veterans’ groups to reach servicemembers where they are. While our attorneys tackle the legal challenges, our advocates ensure that our clients are connected to appropriate social services. With a dedicated team, the project allows veterans to achieve the stability needed to regain their health and rebuild their lives.

The attorney will work with our team to address the legal needs of low-income veterans in a holistic manner. The position will focus on applications to the DoD/DHS Boards of Correction for Military/Naval Records (BCMRs/BCNR). The attorney will conduct outreach, engage in extensive investigation, research and write applications and briefs, collaborate with providers to obtain forensic psychiatric/psychological evaluations, and appear before administrative boards. The attorney may also represent veterans in appeals in federal court and may work with pro bono attorneys on a small number of cases.

Military experience or prior work with veterans is a plus.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients before the DoD/DHS BCM/NRs and potentially federal court;
  • Write discharge upgrade applications and briefs;
  • Screen veterans for relief, including exhaustive investigation of military history, post-service conduct, and medical records;
  • Collaborate with expert witnesses, including forensic mental health professionals;
  • Conduct intake at partner organizations’ sites;
  • Research legal issues, with a focus on military discharges;
  • Provide telephone and/or written advice to clients;
  • Provide thorough referrals to connect clients with other services; work with other staff on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs;
  • Track client information in our database, prepare reports required by funders, attend meetings, perform

Qualifications:

  • Current member in good standing of a state bar;
  • Knowledge of the discharge upgrade or record correction process, including experience drafting applications to the BCM/NRs and/or Discharge Review Boards;
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills;
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to work well with people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • Ability to work independently with strong motivation, to meet deadlines, and to be flexible;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and veterans’ issues.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with veterans with less-than-fully-honorable discharges;
  • Experience working with individuals living with mental illness, traumatic brain injury, or substance use disorders;
  • Knowledge of the military discharge process, to include administrative and punitive discharges;
  • Experience working on discharge upgrade applications;
  • Experience working with expert witnesses, specifically forensic mental health professionals;
  • Experience investigating cases, including locating witnesses and drafting affidavits;
  • Experience using the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Salary is commensurate with experience. Extremely generous benefits package.

To apply: Please send a cover letter and resume with “Discharge Attorney” in the subject line to veterans@urbanjustice.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We read every application with care but regret that, due to high volume, we are unable to respond to inquiries and will contact only those candidates selected for further consideration.

The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.

 

Staff Attorney – VA

The Veteran Advocacy Project seeks an attorney  accredited by the Department of Veterans Affairs to join the staff. VAP provides free civil legal services to low-income veterans, with a focus on those living with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, and substance use issues. We are partnered with VA hospitals, health clinics, and local veterans’ groups to reach servicemembers where they are. While our attorneys tackle the legal challenges, our advocates ensure that our clients are connected to appropriate social services. With a dedicated team, the project allows veterans to achieve the stability needed to regain their health and rebuild their lives.

The attorney will work with our team to address the legal needs of low-income veterans in a holistic manner. The position will focus on enabling veterans to gain access to VA health care and resources. The attorney will collaborate with partner organizations to create long-term stability for veterans by providing representation in VA Character of Discharge (COD) determinations. This will include outreach at partner sites, communication with social workers and case managers, and the creation of both applications and appeals by gathering evidence, preparing briefs, and attending hearings.

Military experience or prior work with veterans is a plus.

Responsibilities:

  • Represent clients before the Department of Veterans Affairs in Characterization of Discharge determinations, over-payments, GI Bill matters, and claims for VA Pension and Disability Compensation;
  • Conduct intake at partner organizations’ sites;
    Provide telephone and/or written advice to clients;
    Research legal issues, with a focus on VA benefits and military discharges;
  • Provide thorough referrals to connect clients with other services; work with other staff on case strategies and integration of services to meet clients’ needs;
  • Track client information in our database, prepare reports required by funders, attend meetings, perform administrative tasks related to the work.

Qualifications:

  • Current member in good standing of a state bar;
  • Current accreditation with the Department of Veterans Affairs;
  • Minimum of two years’ experience working on VA claims;
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills;
  • Excellent organizational and time-management skills;
  • Excellent communication skills, including the ability to work well with people living with mental illness, substance use disorders, and traumatic brain injury;
  • Ability to work independently with strong motivation and little supervision;
  • Ability to manage a high client load;
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and veterans’ issues.

Salary is commensurate with experience. Extremely generous benefits package.

To apply: Please send a cover letter and resume with “VA Attorney” in the subject line to veterans@urbanjustice.org. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. We regret that, due to high volume, we are unable to respond to inquiries and will contact only those candidates selected for further consideration.

The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.


 

Pro Bono

VAP welcomes attorneys who would like to take on pro bono cases. There is a great need for family law services, representation in housing court, and assistance with military discharge upgrades. To learn more about volunteering with VAP please email veterans@urbanjustice.org.

This summer we held our second training on military discharge upgrades. When servicemembers leave the military their discharge status determines what benefits, if any, they will eligible to receive. A bad discharge can be a barrier to employment, benefits, and health care. Many of our servicemembers are given less than honorable discharges due to misconduct connected to mis- or undiagnosed Post Traumatic Stress and Traumatic Brain Injury. VAP is fighting to get these veterans the help they deserve. For firms who would like to take on cases, we have an online resource center with seven videos, sample applications, and more!

 

INTERNSHIPS

The Veteran Advocacy Project provides legal representation to low-income veterans, with a focus on those living with Post Traumatic Stress, Traumatic Brain Injury, substance use disorders, and other mental health issues. When these veterans face legal challenges, such as eviction or an improper denial of benefits, it dramatically increases the risk that they will spiral further into illness, become homeless, or die by suicide. The Veteran Advocacy Project intervenes before veterans reach the breaking point by connecting them with resources and ensuring their access to housing, health care, and income.

Our practice covers Housing Court, VA claims, public benefits, military discharge upgrades, and more. We are seeking 2Ls and 3Ls with excellent analytical and critical thinking skills, demonstrated proficiency in legal research, and the ability to communicate well with others, including those living with mental illness. Interns will participate in outreach, client interviews, and take on legal matters of their own. They will be able to represent veterans in administrative hearings, write legal memos, or participate in discharge upgrades or VA claims cases. They will be provided with training and supervision. The summer program at the Urban Justice Center also includes weekly trainings in other practice areas, as each of the eleven projects present on some aspect of their legal work.

Please send a resume and cover letter to veterans@urbanjustice.org with the subject: “[Fall/Spring/Summer YYYY] Internship.”  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis.

The Urban Justice Center is an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will be afforded equal employment opportunities without discrimination because of race, religion/creed, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, sexual orientation, military status, predisposing genetic characteristics, victim of domestic violence status or marital status.