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KEJC seeks Housing Justice Attorney to prevent eviction in Fayette County

Updated: Jul 24, 2023


Housing Justice Litigation Attorney

Kentucky Equal Justice Center seeks an attorney with litigation experience who wants to make life fairer for Kentuckians who rent their homes in Lexington-Fayette County. KEJC believes every Kentuckian has the right to health care, housing, fair pay, food, education, and safety.

The Housing Justice Litigator will be responsible for handling most of the eviction cases accepted through the new Lexington-Fayette County Housing Stability Program, which was launched to increase access to counsel for all tenants facing eviction. Much of this work will address one of the largest gaps in access to justice in the Commonwealth: the lack of legal counsel for undocumented Kentuckians who cannot afford an attorney and are not eligible for traditional legal services programs.

The Housing Justice Litigator will work with our Housing Justice Team to identify and pursue both individual cases and class actions with the potential to establish precedent that will help level the dramatic power imbalance between landlords and their renters.

This attorney and Housing Justice Team will work across sectors—including legal aid programs, the private bar, and governmental units—and across geographies to ensure that all Kentuckians facing eviction have access to rental assistance, legal assistance, and justice.

KEJC works in Kentucky’s capital and in courtrooms and communities across Kentucky. This position’s funding prohibits “general advocacy” on policy matters. The primary work of the Housing Justice Attorney will be to:

  • Deliver direct services to Kentuckians facing eviction, including representation of individuals that legal aid organizations cannot serve, assistance enrolling Kentuckians in rental assistance programs, and impact and/or class action litigation.

  • Identify pattern and practice violators of URLTA/general landlord-tenant protections to address with affirmative litigation, independently or in conjunction with other legal aid program.

  • Support other attorneys and community service providers who are also delivering those services, co-counseling cases with legal aid program staff and the Housing Justice attorneys.

  • Build systems at KEJC and with our organizational partners) to allow Kentuckians to access legal assistance and rental assistance more easily and reliably, including:​​

    • Providing legal support to tenants unions and other organizers working in the housing ecosystem who may need legal support in public meetings, or with calls to action.

    • Working with other staff to build legal apps for use by attorneys or Kentuckians facing eviction

    • Organizing, maintaining, and publicizing an eviction litigation brief bank

The Housing Justice Litigation Attorney will join a multi-function advocacy team that includes our Housing Justice Attorney, Outreach Coordinator, Housing Outreach Organizers, and our Senior Counsel and Director to build the housing justice program at KEJC. The immediate goal: deliver rental assistance and housing stability and security to all Kentuckians. The long term goal: every Kentuckian experiences housing as a human right.

Duties and Responsibilities

The Housing Justice Attorney will:

  • Build, develop, and continually improve the role of KEJC Housing Litigators in the Housing Stability Services Access to Counsel initiative for tenants facing eviction in Fayette District Court

  • Develop detailed knowledge of options and best practices for preventing evictions and delivering rental assistance to Kentuckians

  • Help the Housing Justice team monitor proposed changes in local, state, and federal law, regulations, and practices related to eviction and rental assistance programs

  • Help the Housing Justice team develop state, regional, and national peer and expert networks for advice, counsel, and development and evaluation of proposals and initiatives

  • Prepare a variety of written materials including compelling public-facing communications on housing, evictions, and rental assistance

  • Participate in meetings, conferences calls and activities of local, state, and national public interest partners, including Kentucky Housing Corporation, Kentucky’s four LSC-funded legal aid programs, directly-impacted Kentuckians,, the National Low Income Housing Coalition, and ThriveKY, with a focus on ensuring every Kentuckian who needs rental assistance gets it and every Kentuckian facing eviction experiences zero days of homelessness

  • Help develop and implement a communications plan designed to provide useful and timely information through multiple media to support delivery of rental assistance

  • Defend Kentuckians facing eviction in court

  • Identify and pursue impact litigation opportunities on key issues and handle a caseload of individual matters

Qualifications

The successful candidate will demonstrate:

  • Active membership in the Kentucky Bar or admission soon after hiring.

  • Commitment to social justice and to equal access to the courts

  • A minimum of two years’ experience as an attorney; KEJC has a preference for candidates whose experience includes housing litigation and experience working across organizations to deliver housing stability services, but candidates who have other relevant skills and experience should apply

  • Strong communication skills, both written and verbal, including demonstrated ability to craft engaging, comprehensible public-facing communications

  • Comfort speaking in front of groups

  • Excellent interpersonal skills

  • Comfort working in a multicultural setting, with sensitivity to language and cultural differences

  • Excellent organizational and problem-solving skills

  • Facility with social media and web-based communications tools

  • Ability to be a self-starter in developing and carrying out activities, to take initiative and work independently, as well as in a team

  • Knowledge of low-income issues and poverty law

  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion

​Proficiency in a second language, especially Spanish, is strongly preferred.

Location

KEJC has offices in Lexington and Louisville, but we seek to hire the most outstanding candidate for the position wherever they live in Kentucky. We consider geographic diversity within Kentucky both a strength and a challenge. We will explore it with candidates invited to interview.


Salary and Benefits

Salaries for attorneys are based on experience and our salary scale. Generous fringe benefits include health, retirement, dental, life, and disability coverage. KEJC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, but we provide health and retirement benefits through participation in state and county employee plans.


Grant Funded Position with Potential Renewal

This position is funded by a grant from Lexington-Fayette County Housing Stability Services through December 2024, with a strong likelihood of renewal for additional years. Over time, sustainability will depend on locating new sources of support.

Starting Date: August 15, 2023, or ASAP.


Application Deadline: Apply now. Open until filled. We will interview promising candidates on a rolling basis.

Application Instructions

To apply, please use our app https://bit.ly/work-at-kejc to upload as a single .pdf document:

  • a cover letter

  • your resume

  • Writing sample (or excerpt not to exceed 5 pages)

  • three references with their phone numbers and email addresses

If your writing sample or other work materials are available online, you may provide them by linking to them in the cover letter or in a separate document in the single .pdf upload.

If you need an accommodation or assistance to submit your application and materials, please email stefanie@kyequaljustice.org. Only applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

For more information

Contact Stefanie Ebbens Kingsley, Housing Justice Attorney, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, 201 West Short Street, Suite 310, Lexington, KY 40507. Email: stefanie@kyequaljustice.org.

Diversity Statement

KEJC welcomes your application. As an organization, we are deeply committed to anti-racism and are working to build a racial justice framework into our programming and policy initiatives. We acknowledge our history as a predominately white organization and are committed to ending white supremacy. Doing so is essential to our objective of full equality for all people.

KEJC provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants without regard to race, color, religious creed, sex, national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, pregnancy, childbirth (or related medical conditions, including, but not limited to lactation), physical disability, mental and/or intellectual disability, age, military status or status as a Vietnam-era or special disabled veteran, marital status, registered domestic partner or civil union status, gender (including sex stereotyping and gender identity or expression), medical condition (including, but not limited to, cancer-related or HIV/AIDS-related), genetic information, or sexual orientation in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws.

Women, people of color, transgender individuals and members of other underrepresented populations are strongly encouraged to apply. KEJC also supports and encourages people who were formerly convicted to be active in their community. Background checks results that indicate a conviction do not necessarily disqualify you from employment. KEJC reserves the right to request further information to fully assess an applicant’s candidacy in relation to the job duties associated with the position.

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