Cornell Law School - Tenants Advocacy Practicum - Tenants Advocacy Attorney

30 Jun 2022 5:58 PM | Michael Murphy (Administrator)

CORNELL LAW SCHOOL is hiring a Tenants Advocacy Attorney for its Tenants Advocacy Practicum.

Reporting to the Cornell Law School’s Director of Pro Bono Services and Externships, Michaela Rossettie Azemi, and the Tenants Advocacy Practicum Professor, William Niebel, the Tenants Advocacy Staff Attorney will have primary responsibility for supervising and managing the Tenants Legal Hotline dedicated to providing legal services to support indigent tenants. The Tenants Advocacy Staff Attorney will:

  • Focus on developing an expanded reach for the hotline, including across five counties.

  • Work independently to accept cases across Tompkins, Tioga, Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler counties, with a special focus on BIPOC tenants, tenants at or below the poverty line, and tenants unable to be served by Legal Assistance of Western New York (including people in the U.S. without status).
  • Deliver affirmative outreach to service providers across these five counties to build the hotline and expand the scope of representation. 
  • Provide expanded representation to hotline clients, including negotiation, drafting letters, and representation in eviction court.

The attorney will also have a working and collaborative relationship with the Tenants Advocacy Fellow and the Tenants Advocacy Practicum students. The attorney will supervise pro bono students on the hotline and work closely with the Practicum professor to expand the number of cases the hotline accepts. Although the attorney will work closely with the Practicum professor, they will have no formal teaching responsibilities. When appropriate, the attorney will work with students from the Tenants Advocacy Practicum on active matters, to help these students become familiar with legal issues related to housing justice in upstate New York and to otherwise aid in their professional development.

This position is ideal for a candidate who is eager to use their prior litigation and housing advocacy backgrounds to help prevent eviction and displacement in the upstate New York. It calls for someone entrepreneurial, who is willing to help shape a new model for the delivery of the Practicum and the Hotline’s important services.

The appointment is for a one-year term and is benefits eligible. Reappointment for a second-year is possible based on performance and funding availability. Salary is based upon experience/qualifications and is within the following range: $75,000 - $90,000.

The selected candidate may choose to work a hybrid schedule, with part of the work taking place remotely (pending university approval if working outside New York State) and part of the work taking place in person. The selected candidate must be available and willing to return to Ithaca for any and all court appearances in-person for housing cases.


·         Develop partnerships with service providers across five counties (Tompkins, Tioga, Steuben, Chemung, and Schuyler) and with Legal Assistance of Western New York, Inc. to close the gap in services for tenants facing eviction and homelessness.

·         Collaborate with the Tenants Advocacy Fellow, local housing attorneys, and advocacy groups to enhance the impact of the Practicum work, researching legal and factual questions, drafting research memos, working with clients and witnesses, drafting legal papers, presenting oral argument and counseling and training pro bono students and attorneys.

·         Travel as required for litigation, conferences, speaking engagements and trips to each of the five counties the hotline covers.

Minimum Qualifications

Applicants must have a J.D. or equivalent, be admitted to the New York bar, and have a minimum of three years of relevant experience as a lawyer. Applicants should have excellent communication skills, both oral and written; excellent analytical skills; and the temperament to develop and work effectively with a network of tenants advocacy groups and legal aid organizations, private volunteer attorneys, and advocacy organizations. Applicants should also have the skills necessary to supervise and mentor law students and work collaboratively in a team-based environment. Applicants will need to have the ability to operate on their own, with light supervision.

Preferred Qualifications

Preference will be given to candidates who have experience in housing justice advocacy; supervising other lawyers or law students; and have strong relationships with organizations that the Practicum is likely to partner with, including local service providers, legal aid organizations, legal aid tech nonprofits, and tenants unions across the five counties. 

To Apply

Please submit a cover letter explaining your interest in the position, including a description of any relevant life or work experience, your CV, two legal writing samples (either an unedited copy of a pre-filing brief or legal memorandum to a client), and a list of references to Additional information may be requested during the application process.

To ensure maximum consideration, please submit all application materials by Friday, August 5, 2022. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with priority given to early applicants.

About Us

Founded in 1887, Cornell Law School is a top-tier law school, currently ranked 13th by U.S. News & World Report. We offer a 3-year JD program for about 200 students per class, a one-year LLM program for about 90 students from countries throughout the world, and a doctoral (JSD) program for about 2-3 new students per year. Cornell Law School has 41 tenured and tenure-track faculty, including 20 with chaired faculty positions; and 15 clinical professors in the legal research and writing program and in clinics at the local, national, and international level. Our faculty is consistently ranked among the top in the country for scholarly productivity and influence, and has preeminence in many areas, including quantitative and qualitative empirical legal studies, international and comparative law, and robust doctrinal scholarship in core fields. Our school is committed to being recognized as the leader among law schools at combining inspiring theoretical, doctrinal, and experiential teaching with cutting-edge scholarship in a supportive, intellectually rich community, so that our graduates can achieve excellence in all facets of the legal profession.

Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery and engagement. Located in Ithaca, NY, Cornell's far-flung global presence includes the medical college's campuses on the Upper east Side of Manhattan and Doha, Qatar, as well as the new Cornell Tech campus to be built on Roosevelt Island in the heart of New York City. We offer a rich array of services, programs and benefits to help employees advance in their career and enhance the quality of personal life, including: employee wellness, workshops, childcare and adoption assistance, parental leave, flexible work options.

Diversity and Inclusion are a part of Cornell University’s heritage. We are a recognized employer and educator valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans and Individuals with Disabilities. We also recognize a lawful preference in employment practices for Native Americans living on or near Indian reservations. Cornell University is an innovative Ivy League university and a great place to work. Our inclusive community of scholars, students, and staff impart an uncommon sense of larger purpose, and contribute creative ideas to further the university's mission of teaching, discovery, and engagement.

As part of the university's comprehensive vaccination program, all Cornell employees are required to have and provide proof of an FDA-or WHO-authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine and booster or have obtained a university-approved disability/medical or religious exemption, regardless of their role and work location.

New hires are required to provide documentation showing full vaccination status (that is, completion of two shots of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine or one shot of the Janssen/Johnson & Johnson) before their first day of work. If a new hire's vaccination is not complete or information is not received by their start date, the first day of work will be delayed. It is possible in some cases that an offer of employment may be withdrawn.

For additional information on Cornell's Vaccination/Booster Compliance Program click here.


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