Location

Mississippi

Department

Legal

Deadline date

August 3, 2021

POSITION OVERVIEW

American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi seeks a self-motivated team member with community and civic engagement advocacy experience to fill the position of Paralegal in support of our Legal Department. Initially the position will be part-time (20 hours/week).

The Paralegal position at the ACLU of MS combines the roles of an investigator and legal assistant and is designed to support the rigorous fact-finding requirements of our litigation program and the administrative needs of our Legal Department.  The position is designed to augment and enrich the ACLU of MS’s work to discover, develop, analyze, and assess the type of stories, information, and quantitative data that is required to prove civil rights and constitutional violations. 

The Paralegal reports directly to the Legal Director and ultimately to the Executive Director.  The goals of the position include:

  1. independently draft investigation plans that target constitutional or civil rights violations in Mississippi;
  2. independently execute a wide range of quantitative research, records request, in-depth personal interviews, and drafting accurate affidavits and declarations;
  3. exercise a keen understanding of underlying legal issues such that investigation priorities and problem-solving strategies target relevant legal issues;
  4. identify and locate persons to interview, draft declarations and affidavits, and to use all opportunities to foster community engagement when appropriate; and
  5. manage legal intake and the administrative needs of the legal department.  

The Legal Department’s small staff works in a highly collaborative and fast-paced environment; there will be time pressure and deadlines. 

REPONSIBILITIES

Investigation Responsibilities include:

  • Identify data and information that courts find important, obtain data after independently researching a range of sources, and demonstrate aptitude in executing useable and accurate qualitative and quantitative analyses using Excel and other software. 
  • Draft investigation plans – identifying specific types of people, records, locations, and data sources – to target relevant constitutional issue in preparation for litigation. 
  • Independently identify and interview possible plaintiffs; follow-up effectively; draft declarations that are compelling, grammatically correct, and which demonstrate a keen understanding of how to target underlying legal issues.
  • Be familiar with the legal and fact-finding issues underpinning all of the ACLU of Mississippi’s current and proposed litigation. 
  • Master the letter of Mississippi’s public records act, including the mechanics of initiating and appealing denials, and successfully use it. 
  • Understand privilege law and principles of ethical conduct in investigation.
  • Demonstrate adeptness at either knowing or knowing how to independently determine what facts are required to prove all of the claims relevant to our current and proposed litigation. 
  • Independently design and track projects and move them swiftly and accurately from inception to completion, communicating continuously with the case team such that needing to be asked for updates is rare.
  • Develop and utilize relationships with partner organizations and our internal advocacy and policy departments to be maximally effective in supporting litigation while meaningfully supporting the organization’s broader work as a whole. 

Administrative Responsibilities include:

  • Direct the intake review process and intake database, appropriately follow-up with intake when necessary, and advise attorneys accurately of the status of all open and closed intake. 
  • Make recommendations on intake issues that reflect an accurate understanding of our current and proposed litigation efforts.
  • Identify, develop, and implement more efficient ways to handle intake.
  • Be accurate and timely in completing administrative tasks, such as maintaining paper and electronic files, calendaring, submitting expense requests, retrieving records requests, maintaining litigation cost spreadsheets, and completing copying/scanning tasks.
  • Additional duties include document management, assist with intern oversight, completion of copying/scanning tasks, case docketing, filing.

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Either (a) a degree in a subject requiring field work or quantitative research; or (b) one year of experience working as an investigator, journalist, investigating paralegal, or in a position requiring comparable skills;
  • Excellent writing skills and attention to detail;
  • Excellent research and data collection skills;
  • Highly skilled in use of MS Word and Excel, as well as ability to quickly learn data;
  • Knowledge and background using technology and social media to source investigations;
  • Excellent organization and team communication skills: a strong, consistent attention to detail, ability to meet tight deadlines, and the ability to follow through on work assignments with a minimum of direct supervision.
  • Ability to take and give feedback constructively;
  • Self-motivated and self-directed;
  • Ability to get along and work collaboratively with diverse personalities;
  • A strong sense of humor;
  • Accuracy and attention to detail in completion of all tasks, including administrative tasks;
  • Flexibility to work weekends or evenings

HOW TO APPLY

E-mail (1) a resume; (2) three references (and how you know them); and (3) a cover letter describing your interest in this position and how you specifically satisfy the qualifications specified above. Direct the email to jtom@aclu-ms.org with the subject heading: "Job Application: Paralegal."  Please indicate in your cover letter where you learned about this position.  No phone calls or walk-ins, please.