STAFF ATTORNEY (PROJECT NEW START)
LOCATION: Mental Health Advocacy Services, 3255 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 902, Los Angeles CA 90010
ANNUAL FULL-TIME SALARY: $65,000 + depending on experience.
Mental Health Advocacy Services, Inc. (MHAS) is a private, non-profit organization whose mission is to protect and advance the legal rights of low-income adults and children with mental health disabilities and empower them to assert those rights in order to maximize their autonomy, achieve equity, and secure the resources they need to thrive. MHAS assists both children and adults, with an emphasis on obtaining government benefits and services, protecting rights, and fighting discrimination. MHAS also serves as a resource to the community by providing training and technical assistance to attorneys, mental health professionals, consumer and family member groups, and other advocates. Finally, MHAS participates in impact litigation and policy work in an effort to improve the lives of people with mental health disabilities.
FRINGE BENEFITS AND WORK CULTURE:
Generous fringe benefits include paid vacation, holidays, and sick leave; employee health, dental, vision, long term disability, and life insurance; and parking pass or transit fares.
MHAS is proud of its collegial, family-friendly culture that respects the work/life balance of its employees. To that end, MHAS is willing to consider flexible work schedules on a case-by-case basis. MHAS also provides employees with frequent wellness opportunities, including trainings on stress management and mindfulness, and (in non-pandemic times) regular, informal staff gatherings and a daily stretch break.
MHAS is currently determining its “post-pandemic” plan. Since March 2020, all MHAS employees have been successfully working from home and MHAS foresees at least some amount of working from home continuing indefinitely. MHAS equips all employees working from home with any needed technology and other office supplies.
MHAS seeks to hire an Attorney to provide free legal services to individuals with mental health disabilities who have experienced incarceration via Project New Start. Done in partnership with the organization Painted Brain, Project New Start is a comprehensive job placement, mental health, and legal services program for formerly incarcerated individuals who reside in South Los Angeles. The project was established to combat employment barriers specifically for individuals who are or who have been in the criminal justice system and are experiencing mental health challenges. Painted Brain and MHAS staff collaborate to provide individualized employment service plans for formerly incarcerated program participants to successfully obtain employment. Additionally, MHAS helps clients overcome barriers to reentry by providing legal services and advocacy in the areas of expungement, employment, housing, and criminal justice debt.
The ideal candidate will be expected to respond quickly to clients needing legal services primarily in the area of expungement and tickets but also at times in a range of other subject areas including mental health law, housing, employment, public benefits, and criminal justice debt. Other responsibilities will include providing legal training and technical assistance to both staff and clients at Painted Brain and other mental health partner agencies. The attorney will also take on such other client and policy work from time to time as deemed appropriate to MHAS’ mission and client goals.
JOB RESPONSIBILITIES WILL INCLUDE:
- Providing competent legal assistance to clients through advice and counsel, research and writing, negotiation, administrative advocacy, and court advocacy;
- Developing expertise in the areas of expungement and tickets;
- Maintaining a caseload in an organized and efficient manner;
- Creating training materials as assigned;
- Providing technical assistance and training to stakeholders;
- Coordinating with our partners at Painted Brain and assisting with project administration;
- Participating in policy advocacy projects; and
- Assisting with other projects and tasks as identified related to MHAS’ mission.
- D. degree and membership in California State Bar.
- Commitment and sensitivity to the rights of people with mental health disabilities and other vulnerable populations.
- Excellent legal research skills.
- Excellent oral and written communication skills with attention to detail.
- Excellent organizational skills.
- Ability to prioritize tasks, manage time, and meet deadlines.
- Demonstrated ability to analyze complex problems and develop creative solutions.
- Cultural sensitivity and demonstrated ability to work well with diverse social, economic, and ethnic groups.
COMMITMENT TO DIVERSITY, EQUITY, & INCLUSION:
Mental Health Advocacy Services seeks to fill all positions with people who share our values, including our organizational commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage all interested individuals to apply – especially people of color; women; people from low-income backgrounds; people experiencing mental health and/or physical disabilities; people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, or non-binary; immigrants; people who have been affected by mass incarceration; and people from other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. We believe that the resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness.
Review full job announcement at mhas-la.org/employment-opportunities. Submit the following to email@example.com (state “Employment Application” in subject line):
- Resume; and
- Cover letter discussing any and/or all of the following: (a) your motivation for seeking the position; (b) your interest in working with people with mental health disabilities; (c) how you meet the minimum qualifications; and/or (d)how your personal background or experiences, professional or otherwise, have prepared you to contribute to our commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
MHAS is an Equal Opportunity Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, sex, gender, national origin, ancestry, age, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status, pregnancy, mental or physical disability, or any other basis protected by law.