LEGAL AID SOCIETY OF NORTHEASTERN NEW YORK
Law Clerk Opportunities 2023
The Legal Aid Society of Northeastern New York (LASNNY) provides effective, free civil legal services and education to and advocacy for people with low income or other barriers to accessing the legal system. We secure basic needs, protect and preserve legal rights, provide equal access to justice and seek fairness and dignity for all our clients. We have offices in Albany, Amsterdam, Canton, Plattsburgh and Saratoga Springs to serve low and moderate income residents of Albany, Clinton, Columbia, Essex, Franklin, Fulton, Greene, Hamilton, Montgomery, Rensselaer, Saratoga, St. Lawrence, Schenectady, Schoharie, Warren and Washington Counties and the St. Regis Reservation.
Commitment to providing legal services to the poor. Excellent research and writing skills. Ability to work well under stress and time pressure. Prior relevant experience in legal services to the poor, especially law school clinical experience, and ability to speak Spanish is a plus. Both unpaid and paid clerkships are available subject to grant funding. All work done with Legal Aid will count toward the 50-hour pro bono requirement for admission to the NYS Bar. Law Clerks must be willing to commit to a minimum of 10 hours per week. Our clerkships are available remotely or in-person.
Fall clerkships August 21, 2023 to December 1, 2023
However, we will consider applications submitted after that date if that becomes necessary in order to fill all of our internship positions.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: Cover Letter (cover letter should state what program(s) and LASNNY office(s) are of interest to applicant), Resume, and Writing Sample are required.
Please submit your materials to:
Robert R. Romaker, Esq.
95 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206
LASNNY is committed to the creation of an inclusive and diverse workplace and providing Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action to all applicants. We strongly encourage applications from women, BIPOC, LGBTQ persons, protected veterans, applicants and recipients of public assistance, the elderly, and people with disabilities.
Below are descriptions of the various programs offered at LASNNY. Please specify which program(s) you are interested in working with and which office(s) you are interested in working with in your cover letter. Clerks generally gain experience interacting with clients; researching and writing both court documents and client correspondence; attending court appearances, administrative hearings, or other meetings, and exposure to a law firm environment.
Disability Advocacy Project – Albany and Saratoga Springs Offices
DAP advocates represent clients with physical and mental impairments including, but not limited to clients suffering from intellectual limitations, anxiety, depression, HIV, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, musculoskeletal impairments, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. DAP advocates review medical, educational, and vocational records to argue if adults and children meet the rules for a finding of disability as defined by the Social Security Administration. DAP law clerks will have the opportunity to perform research and writing for federal court cases, administrative appeals, and administrative hearings. They will also call clients, observe meetings and hearings, and assist attorneys in preparation for hearings.
Domestic Violence Legal Assistance (DVLAP) – All Offices
DVLAP services includes assistance with obtaining Orders of Protection, Child and Spousal Support, Custody and Visitation, and Divorce. We also assist survivors of domestic violence with their civil legal problems related to public assistance, food stamps, foreclosure, landlord/tenant, consumer, employment, and immigration issues. Clerks must have an understanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and/or experience with domestic violence or sexual assault work. This clerkship will provide the student solid experience with client interviewing and counseling, petition and motion drafting, and family court practice. Student must be willing to occasionally travel for court appearances and client meetings.
Economic Justice – Albany, Amsterdam, and Saratoga Springs Offices
The goal of the Economic Justice staff attorneys is to ensure that low-income residents of our capital region community have sufficient income to maintain their housing and the essentials of daily living and that those in need are served by systems that are just, fair, and responsive. Through the legal work of the Economic Justice attorney, households will access and secure financial supports necessary to meet basic human needs (public assistance, including emergency assistance, SNAP, Medicaid, childcare assistance, unemployment insurance benefits, SSI). Through working with the individuals and families served by this project, the program also identifies and secures changes needed in the delivery of income supports and related human services so that the systems serving low-income residents of the capital region respond as the law requires and in a manner that supports and develops human potential. The Economic Justice law clerk will have the opportunity to perform research and writing for fair hearings, administrative appeals, and possibly assist the attorney with Article 78 appeals. They will also call clients, observe meetings and hearings, and assist the staff attorney in preparing evidence for hearings. Clerk responsibilities will also include but are not limited to calling medical/social services providers; document review and analysis; drafting legal documents and correspondence; assisting staff attorneys in hearing/trial preparation.
Foreclosure Prevention Project (FPP) – Albany Office
FPP provides legal assistance to low-income homeowners facing foreclosure. In addition to mortgage foreclosures, the FPP also assists eligible homeowners in tax foreclosure proceedings, and post-foreclosure evictions, as well as land contract matters and tenants residing in foreclosed properties. Clerk responsibilities include but are not limited to client contact; legal research and writing; document review and analysis; investigation; drafting legal documents and correspondence; attending client interviews, meetings, and court appearances.
Housing – All Offices
Housing attorneys represent low-income clients in Albany, Columbia, Greene, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties who are facing eviction in both city and town/village courts, termination or denial of housing vouchers (Section 8) and denial of emergency assistance by the Department of Social Services. Housing attorneys also occasionally initiate affirmative litigation to force landlords to reverse illegal evictions and/or make necessary repairs. The housing practice also includes representation in public and subsidized housing evictions and requesting and pursuing reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities under the Fair Housing Act and enforcing the rights of tenants under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The clerk will be involved in drafting pleadings and correspondence, conducting client interviews, and contacting clients, case development and investigation, research and legal assessment, trial and hearing preparation, and accompanying attorneys to court and administrative hearings.
Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) – Albany Office
The Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) offers free tax advice and representation to low-income New Yorkers living in sixteen counties. The law clerk will assist the LITC Staff Attorneys and Clinic Director with preparing forms, interviewing clients, researching areas of tax law, preparing tax returns, collecting financial information from clients, and other tasks as assigned. The LITC assists taxpayers with federal tax issues, including innocent spouse relief requests, injured spouse claims, audits/examinations, earned income tax credit appeals, deficiency notices, liens and levies, alternative collection methods, settlement of tax debts, and identity theft issues, among others. The LITC can also help with New York State tax disputes where the client also has a dispute with the IRS. Most taxpayers assisted by the LITC have incomes at or below 250% of the federal poverty level.
Education Law Project (ELP) – Albany Office
LASNNY’s Education Law Project (ELP) provides free legal services to children and families for education related issues. The ELP provides specialized legal assistance for education matters to low-income children and families with K-12 school related issues. Our work this school year (2022-2023) will specifically aim to recover instructional support for challenges arising from the pandemic, which may have impacted academic progress including, with a special focus on disparate and disproportionate suspension for disabled children. The ideal law clerk for this position would be someone with coursework in education law and experience in education (e.g., teacher, teaching assistant, etc.). Responsibilities include observing and conducting client interviews, communicating with clients, investigating and fact checking school-based documents, drafting memoranda, and preparing for and attending Committee on Special Education meetings, Superintendent Suspension hearings, and Due Process Hearings.
Senior Legal Services (SLS) – Albany Office
The Senior Legal Services Program provides legal advice and assistance to people aged 60 years or older residing in Albany, Rensselaer, and Schenectady Counties. We primarily advise people with estate planning issues, but also assist in other practice areas such as housing, benefits counseling, consumer debt, among others. The law clerk will assist the Senior Legal Services attorneys with interviewing clients, researching legal issues, and providing advice. There may be additional opportunities for the law clerk in preparing wills through our Albany City Simple Wills Program.