Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services
Equal Justice Staff Assistant
POSITION: The Equal Justice (EJ) Staff Assistant is a volunteer position located at the Thurston County Volunteer Legal Services (TCVLS), Olympia. TCVLS provides free, civil (non-criminal) legal assistance to low-income residents of Thurston, Mason, Grays Harbor, and Pacific Counties. TCVLS’s administrative office is currently located at the Family Support Center Campus located at 3545 7th Avenue S.W. near Capital Medical Center on Olympia’s Westside.
The EJ Staff Assistant is supervised on a day-to-day basis by the Program Coordinator. If the Program Coordinator is unavailable, the Executive Director or Staff Attorney can step in for support or training, as needed.
Agreeing to stringent confidentiality of client information and attorney discussions is a requirement of the position.
RESPONSIBILITIES: The EJ Staff Assistant works with clients and potential clients both over the phone and in person. The EJ Staff Assistant will check the voice messaging system for clients who have left phone messages and will return those calls to:
- Obtain more information, when necessary;
- Schedule clients at one of TCVLS’ legal advice clinics;
- Refer clients to other services, and/or
- Place clients in line for direct representation by a volunteer attorney (after conferring with the Program Coordinator).
The EJ Staff Assistant will also answer the phones “live”, refer clients to CLEAR or to the Program Coordinator for scheduling at a legal advice clinic.
The EJ Staff Assistant will use a web-based case management system to track all client information. Data from client intakes and attorney notes are entered into Legal Server within three days after a legal advice clinic.
Occasionally, the EJ Staff Assistant assists at legal advice clinic. While assisting at legal clinics, the EJ Staff Assistant interviews clients to determine eligibility, summarize legal issues and will work with the Program Coordinator to assign them to volunteer attorneys present.
The EJ Staff Assistant provides the following support for Housing Justice Project:
- Each Tuesday, gather information on cases scheduled for Unlawful Detainer court the following Friday;
- Produce and mail letters to those respondents/defendants on the calendar informing them of the availability of TCVLS direct representation for court;
- During HJP on Friday, distribute case notes to attorneys, communicates with clients in person, and performs other support tasks at the Courthouse as requested by TCVLS staff.
REQUIRED SKILLS: The EJ Staff Assistant must be well-organized, patient and provide excellent customer service to a wide variety of people. The EJ Staff Assistant is sensitive to individuals and families in crisis. Familiarity with personal computer and web-based office functions required. The EJ Staff Assistant must be able to keep all client information and attorney discussions confidential.
DESIRED SKILLS: The EJ Staff Assistant should have strong communication skills, efficient telephone interviewing skills, and accurate data entry abilities.
SUPERVISION: The position reports directly to and is supervised by the Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will train the EJ Staff Assistant on the functioning of day to day operations of TCVLS and its legal clinics and direct representation.
BENEFITS: Gain experience in an office setting, working closely with the public via telephone. Exposure to legal terminology and concepts. Gain familiarity with the civil legal system, local courts and community resources, develop customer service and interviewing skills, help community members navigate social services and legal systems to resolve their needs.
Number of Hours Each Week: 3-15 hours per week, depending on volunteer availability
Number of Positions: Unlimited. We prefer candidates who are willing to volunteer at least 3 hours per week for at least 2-3 months, for training purposes.
IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN THIS VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY, PLEASE CONTACT:
Christa Lenssen, Program Coordinator