POSITION: Farmworker Legal Services (FLS) is seeking a bilingual (Spanish/English) staff attorney to join our statewide advocacy team and provide civil legal services to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers throughout Michigan. The successful candidate will have an emphasis on cases involving immigrant workers’ health and safety, including representation in workers’ compensation proceedings, and will include significant outreach and collaboration with local and national community partners. This position is union supported and based out of our Kalamazoo or Ypsilanti office with a flexible remote work schedule option.
DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM: FLS is a statewide division of the Michigan Advocacy Program (MAP). FLS fights for justice and dignity alongside the farmworker community through our systemic, multi-forum legal advocacy, community engagement, and our direct legal representation of farmworkers in their civil legal matters. Our bilingual advocates provide a full range of civil legal services to Michigan’s eligible population of migrant and seasonal farmworkers and their dependents. FLS case priorities include wage theft, trafficking, discrimination, sexual harassment, workplace health and safety, housing, civil rights, and immigration. MAP works to advance the safety, independence, and economic stability of those most affected by poverty, racism, and other structurally oppressive systems by increasing access to justice and working for systemic solutions. MAP has provided civil legal aid for those unable to afford an attorney for more than 50 years.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The Staff Attorney for Immigrant Worker Health & Safety will provide farmworkers injured at work with comprehensive, trauma-informed legal consultations and representation in their workers’ compensation proceedings and may provide representation in other matters such as employment, housing, public benefits, unemployment, and immigration. FLS attorneys work with team members on cases and advocacy projects and handle all phases of litigation in state and federal courts and administrative proceedings, including: intake, investigation, negotiations, drafting pleadings and discovery requests, motion practice, taking and defending depositions, alternative dispute resolution, and trial. FLS represents farmworkers in their claims arising from unsafe employment and housing, including workers’ compensation cases arising from workplace injuries, and in immigration-related matters, such as filing T or U-visa applications for victims of employment-based crimes. Advocacy tasks include outreach to farmworkers at migrant labor camps, community education presentations, community task force participation, policy analysis, and direct representation of individuals and groups in the full spectrum of local, state, and federal forums. To meet the specialized legal needs of farmworker cases, the position may occasionally require work and/or travel in the evening or on the weekend.
Applicants must possess:
- License to practice law in Michigan, qualify to be admitted by waiver, or able to take the next available bar exam in Michigan.
- Demonstrated commitment to justice for immigrants, low-income individuals, or underserved populations through lived or learned experiences.
- Occasional ability to work evenings or weekends.
- Excellent communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills.
Priority will be given to those with:
- Prior experience with workers compensation cases, immigrant workers, legal aid, and/or litigation.
- Ability to communicate effectively in Spanish.
- Proficiency in Haitian Creole or one of the indigenous languages native to Mexico or Central America.
BENEFITS: Salary starts at $50,000 based on years of relevant experience. The position includes excellent benefits and paid leave, a retirement plan with possible employer contribution, and LRAP (Loan Repayment Assistance Program) eligibility. Kalamazoo is a college town in southwest Michigan, located 35 miles east of Lake Michigan and two hours from Chicago and Detroit, that offers the Kalamazoo Promise (an independent scholarship program that provides students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools up to up to 100% tuition for post-secondary education).
TO APPLY: Please submit a resume, cover letter, and three professional references to firstname.lastname@example.org with “FLS Attorney” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please describe your level of Spanish competency and how your personal background or experiences have prepared you to work effectively alongside colleagues from backgrounds different than your own and the farmworker community. The position is open until filled; applications received by April 30, 2022 will receive priority.
The Michigan Advocacy Program is an equal opportunity employer, committed to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.