About The Commons Law Center
The Commons Law Center is on a mission to revolutionize access to basic legal services for underserved Oregonians, and we are looking for talented and passionate professionals to join us. We are a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides legal services on a sliding scale basis, free community legal education, and practical training for new legal professionals.
Last year The Commons:
- Launched an eviction defense program, hired a team to staff it, and worked with other nonprofits and legal service providers to adapt to shifting needs.
- Helped persuade Portland Housing Bureau to extend its support for the Housing Asset Preservation Program beyond the pilot phase, enabling our team to continue creating pro bono estate plans for the City’s historic African American community.
- Doubled down on unbundled, or limited scope, legal services to break the mold of expensive, time-intensive, and traumatic family law trials.
This year, we hope to engage in community-wide conversations about the future of the legal profession, from bar exam reform to limited licensure for paralegals, to share our experiences and ideas. Internally, our team is focused on doing our best work – not the most work, not the biggest work – the work that sustains, elevates, and empowers the people we serve and those working in public service. Because we are a learning organization, we strive to empower every one of our team members with the tools, the support, and the autonomy to further our overall mission.
About the Paralegal Fellow Role
The Commons Law Center seeks a paralegal to join a collaborative and innovative team that views paralegals as vital partners in legal services delivery. Rather than be assigned to a specific practice area, this paralegal will work across programs, including legal products and intake. As expertise within individuals and growth across teams happens, the paralegal’s focus may narrow. We are especially interested in working with individuals who want to pursue Oregon State Bar licensure if and when its licensed paraprofessional program is adopted.
Roles & responsibilities:
- Help develop program infrastructure to scale service delivery, including document automation, workflow management systems, templates, and forms;
- Commit to learning how to provide limited scope legal services and leveraging the informal domestic relations trial process to scale access to legal help;
- Collaborate with the program team, including director, other fellows, paralegals, and clerks, and with the broader organization, including the legal products team, to deliver and improve services;
- Support community legal education program development, including outreach, curriculum development, networking, volunteer recruitment, and ambassadorship;
- Use the organization’s tech stack to optimize workflow and communications;
- Use and help build the organization’s internal knowledge base regarding substantive legal and operational issues;
- Do extensive, substantive legal work, including legal research, discovery compilation and analysis, asset distribution calculations, trial preparation, and document drafting;
- Help develop a work experience and training program that satisfies the supervised work requirements of an Oregon State Bar Paralegal Licensure Program; and
- Help make it fun because life is too short for work to be a bummer.
- Graduation from an accredited paralegal degree program OR at least 5 years work experience as a paralegal. Law School graduates who have not yet joined a Bar are also welcome.
- Spanish fluency strongly preferred (understanding, speaking, and writing)
- Proficient working in a highly digitized office and across multiple applications
- Comfortable working remotely for the foreseeable future
Other Job Information:
How to Apply:
Legal Services Director
Employer-sponsored health and dental care, paid vacation, flexible schedule, annual performance increases, work is largely remote.
Please submit a single PDF including a cover letter, resume, unofficial transcript (if available), a short writing sample and three references to email@example.com
Our goal is for paralegals to leverage their three year fellowship so they can confidently step into their next career phase. That might involve starting your own practice (if the Bar approves a licensure program), working for another firm, or even staying on with The Commons to help build our organization in a more senior role.
Wherever you envision your career path taking you, we hope you’ll consider starting it with The Commons Law Center. We are one of the only places where you will learn an entrepreneurial approach to delivering legal services, gain new skills using organized training pathways, and help shape the future of legal services while you grow as a legal professional. All while providing critical services to communities that need them.