Who We Are
Columbia Legal Services is a nonprofit civil legal aid organization that advances social, economic, and racial equity for people living in poverty. We support communities and movements by bringing deep legal expertise that is grounded in – and strongly guided by – an understanding of race equity.
We seek systemic solutions by bringing class action lawsuits, using cutting edge legal theories, engaging in policy advocacy, and supporting communities in building their own power. We have a special responsibility to serve people whose access to free legal services is restricted, due to institutionalized or immigration status.
At CLS we seek a team that reflects our organizational values of community, race equity, and justice. This includes hiring staff with connections to the communities we serve whenever possible, and a commitment to strive for justice and equity in our hiring practices and in our staff culture.
Columbia Legal Services seeks a full-time Bilingual (Spanish and English) Legal Assistant with 1-3 years’ experience to join our statewide advocacy team working to dismantle the structures that perpetuate poverty, racism, and other injustices in Washington. This position is based in our Kennewick office. We anticipate a start date of October 1 for this position.
Our Kennewick-based Legal Assistant will play an important role providing support to litigation teams, working alongside attorneys, other legal support staff, and advocacy and community engagement specialists. This role is also responsible for office-specific administrative duties.
As this role often includes working on multiple projects and litigation teams at once, we seek someone for this role with strong time management skills, strong attention to detail, and experience managing multiple priorities. The ideal candidate will also have experience with the full litigation cycle, including preparing pleadings and other documents and with court procedures including electronic filing.
CLS brings its core values of community, race equity, and justice into all aspects of its work, and we seek an individual for this role who aligns with these values.
All CLS staff have the option to complete some work remotely; however, this position will require a physical presence at the office at least once per week, as well as an ability to attend required meetings at the office and in the community.
CLS requires that all employees adhere to our COVID-19 vaccine mandate through proof of vaccination or by requesting a medical or religious accommodation. Staff are also required to follow CLS COVID-19 protocols while engaging in in-person work in our offices and in the community.
- Support teams of attorneys on complex litigation and other advocacy-related activities, such as filing and preparing pleadings, correspondence, and other needed documents.
- Maintain electronic and hard-copy files, organize documents and enter data.
- Communicate effectively orally and in writing with clients, community agencies and organizations, and government agencies.
- Conduct general research on the internet and in libraries, etc.
- Organize large amounts of documents and data, prepare charts, one-pagers, and presentations in support of advocacy.
- Perform other legal assistant tasks as needed, including general administrative and advocacy-related support.
- Distribute information by mail, fax and e-mail, manage calendars for staff attorneys, and help prepare attorneys for meetings, presentations, testimony, and court appearances.
- Organize and schedule meetings, trainings and conference calls.
- Provide light reception for the Kennewick office by receiving guests and monitoring front door activity.
- Order office supplies as needed and coordinate with CLS Operations Manager on other office needs.
- Meet with office vendors as needed, in coordination with CLS Operations Manager.
- Check and distribute mail. Note: this requires a weekly in-person office visit.
This job description is not designed to contain a comprehensive listing of activities, duties or responsibilities that are required of the employee, and others may be assigned.
The ideal candidate will have all or most of the experience below, or have a combination of comparable experience where they have demonstrated similar skills or responsibilities. We encourage all interested candidates to apply.
- Demonstrated experience in and/or understanding of supporting litigation in a law office and familiarity with federal and state court rules and procedures.
- Proficiency in the use of law office technology including court document filing programs.
- Willing to learn new software programs as needed, including LegalServer and case management tools (e.g., Everlaw), or demonstrated experience and ability to learn and utilize similar technology.
- Intermediate experience with Microsoft Office365 applications, including SharePoint and Microsoft Teams, for the creation and management of case documents, spreadsheets, and e-mail.
- Strong organizational and time management, attention to detail, and critical thinking and analytical skills.
- Ability to work independently and participate as an effective member of our advocacy team, including an ability to work across offices using online and virtual tools.
- Ability to coordinate multiple projects at the same time.
- Excellent communication and interpersonal skills (oral and written).
- Willingness to engage with the public, client groups and participate in community outreach.
- Bilingual skills in Spanish/English are required in order to communicate effectively with clients.
- Strong preference for experience with electronic file management.
- Proficiency with Access or other database software preferred.
- Advanced skills in Excel and experience working with large sets of data preferred.
Compensation and Benefits
CLS is proud to be a unionized employer. This full-time, non-exempt position is a bargaining unit position, represented by Washington Legal Workers, our in-house labor union.
Columbia Legal Services is committed to providing an equitable work environment, including a commitment to pay equity. As part of this commitment, all employees’ pay is based on years of experience in their role or in previous roles doing substantially similar work and set on a standard pay scale for their position, rather than on negotiations, which have been shown to contribute to pay disparities. The 2023 salary range for a Legal Assistant with 1-3 years of experience is $50,195 to $53,097.
CLS has a 35-hour workweek. We also offer a comprehensive compensation package including the following:
- 14 paid holidays annually
- Winter Break office closure between Christmas and New Year’s
- 12 sick days annually
- 15-21 paid vacation days annually (based on years of experience)
- 3-5 personal days annually (based on years of experience)
- Early office closure the first Friday of the month
- Paid parental and family medical leave benefits
- Paid sabbatical every 7 years
- Student Loan Repayment Assistance Program (for employees with less than 10 years’ experience)
Additionally, we pay 100% of employee premiums for excellent health, vision, and dental benefits plus 50% of the maximum out-of-pocket deductible and offer heavily subsidized family premiums.
We also offer a 403(b) retirement benefit with employer contribution and a match, disability and life insurance, a subsidized transit pass, and an employee wellness program.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have also provided home office setup support for working remotely and time off for vaccinations or illness related to COVID-19. We are continuing those benefits in 2023.
Submit a resume via our online application portal by clicking “Apply for This Job” on the top right. We will review applications on a rolling basis and will remove the position from our website once it is filled. If you need a reasonable accommodation for the application process, please contact email@example.com.
We are committed to an environment of mutual respect, collaboration, and equal opportunity for all employees, and strongly encourage applications from people of color, immigrants, people who have been affected by mass incarceration, and other underrepresented and historically marginalized groups. We believe in building and sustaining an organization that is reflective of the communities we serve, and is diverse in work background, experience, education, race, color, national origin, sex, age, religion, marital status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity, ancestry, national origin, or sensory, mental and physical abilities. We believe that the resulting diversity is both a source of program strength and a matter of fundamental human fairness.