Community Legal Worker
Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC)
The Black Legal Action Centre is seeking a Community Legal Worker.
The Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) is a not-for-profit corporation incorporated under the laws of Ontario to combat individual and systemic anti‑Black racism by providing legal services to members of Ontario’s Black communities, including engaging in advocacy, community development, law reform, test case litigation, and public legal education. BLAC is an independent community legal clinic funded by Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) and governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.
JOB TITLE: Community Legal Worker
REPORTS TO: Executive Director/Staff Lawyer
This is a one-year full-time contract position with a possibility of renewal based on funding.
PURPOSE OF POSITION
The Community Legal Worker is responsible for community outreach, public education and advocating law reform. Client intake, providing summary advice, client representation, and providing other assistance to members of the community to ensure awareness, understanding and achievement of their legal rights are also key components of the position.
The proportion of time spent in these activities may vary from time to time and is to be periodically reviewed.
MINIMUM HIRING REQUIREMENTS
Demonstrated commitment to community and/or legal work related to anti-Black racism, human rights and/or anti-discrimination. Experience dealing with the public is essential. Computer literacy is essential. The ability to communicate well, both orally and in writing is essential. Must be able to work evenings and some weekends.
Desirable: Relevant experience in law specifically related to clinic services. A second language is an asset. Being a paralegal in good standing with the Law Society of Ontario is also an asset.
MAJOR DUTIES & RESPONSIBILITIES
Community Development, Outreach and Education
- Identify issues for public legal education based on knowledge of legislative or policy developments
- Develop educational materials and self-help packages to inform the public of their rights, obligations and benefits
- Distribute educational materials and self-help kits to increase client awareness and understanding of legal issues
- Arrange necessary logistical details associated with clinic events; community development and public education programs and seminars
- Participate and/or present, as assigned, in community development activities and law reform activities designed to further the legal interests and improve the lives of Black Ontarians
- Keep informed of information related to inter-clinic working group meetings
- Participate and/or present, as assigned, in committees and organizations representing client concerns, including inter-clinic working groups
- Conduct research to identify the need for new or changes to existing services and programs
- Advocate clinic services to increase community awareness
- Provide specialty legal services to other clinics
- Act as a resource person for community groups based on knowledge of the community, client issues and concerns and clinic operations
- Participate in public legal education activities within the clinic’s areas of expertise
- Research, prepare and produce oral and written public legal education sessions and in-house training sessions on legal issues, and participate in events as public speaker/conference presenter
- Carry out intake function in compliance with the office practice and procedures
- Ensure privacy and maintain confidentiality of clients at all times.
- Assess client needs to ensure that the clinic can serve them and/or determine other appropriate services/ legal services
- Transfer incoming calls to appropriate staff based on knowledge of functional responsibilities and clinic operations
- Respond to inquiries from the public to provide information regarding clinic services, processes and procedures
- Assess the urgency of the client’s needs; where necessary, engage with caseworker staff to assist the client based on urgency
- Refer potential clients and the public to other legal services, social agencies, or government services based on knowledge of community services; assist with the services and follow up as needed and as appropriate
- Conduct initial conflict of interest checks and update the conflict list by adding names when directed
- Obtain necessary intake information from clients to complete necessary intake documentation and forms
- Provide basic information using the intake manual, without giving legal advice, and document details for review by legal staff
- Prepare materials and presentations on law reform issues, participate in law reform activities, other than litigation and research for law reform, as assigned
- Conduct research for law reform litigation and participate in other law reform activities including participation on public/government/consultation committees, as assigned
- Assist in preparation of legal services reports for the clinic’s Board of Directors
- Preparation of operational statistics to inform Board of clinic services and activities; attend Board meetings, as required
- Assist in preparation of monthly, quarterly and annual statistical reports for LAO
- Assist in preparation of annual funding application to LAO
- Attend meetings with staff, as required
- Other duties, as determined by the Executive Director
- The successful applicant must be able to travel (by airplane, train, or car) throughout Ontario; occasional overnight travel may be require
- Work may involve frequent exposure to difficult situations (e.g.: providing advice to upset or agitated client(s))
- High volume of contacts and requirement to multi‑task
- Use of electronic equipment and information technology
- Commitment to social justice, particularly combatting anti‑Black racism, and delivering high quality legal services to low income individuals and groups
- Possess strong advocacy skills including research, analysis and negotiation
- Ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing
- Ability to work effectively in an organization under the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors
- Ability to negotiate and manage third party relationships, including with partner organizations, as assigned
- Ability to organize, plan, and implement activities appropriate to advance organizational objectives
- Excellent computer skills
- Willing and able to work independently, and to make independent decisions
- High ethical standards
- Excellent time management skills and ability to multi-task and prioritize work
- Strong interpersonal skills focused on building and maintaining positive relationships with all levels of staff, clients, volunteers and external stakeholders
- Attention to detail and problem-solving skills
- Demonstrated ability to advocate for clients with the public at large and similar organizations
- Ability to utilize analytical, interpretive, evaluative and constructive thinking
- Proficiency in MS Office (MS Word and MS Outlook, in particular); familiarity with email scheduling tools
Salary will be based on relevant experience and be within the range of average salaries of Community Legal Workers in other LAO-funded clinics.
Please apply via e-mail with a cover letter and resume by March 20, 2020.
Please provide three current professional/employment references with your application.
If you require any accommodation during the interview process please contact BLAC at firstname.lastname@example.org to make appropriate arrangements.
While we thank all applicants for their interest, only those selected for an interview will be contacted.
We welcome applications from people who are reflective of the diverse communities we serve.