Current Job Opportunities

The Lawyers for Equal Justice project at Hawai‘i Appleseed is looking for a talented individual with a passion for advancing social and economic equity through litigation to join us through the AmeriCorps VISTA program to work on advancing policies that create economic opportunity and security for all Hawai‘i residents. This is a one-year commitment, with the possibility of extending an additional year.

The primary goals of the person filling this position are:

  1. Identifying and addressing systemic problems that perpetuate poverty, inequity, and injustice by analyzing law, policy, and practice affecting low-income Hawai‘i residents across a broad range of issue areas; and
  2. Connecting LEJ’s work to the community that it serves by building and strengthening relationships with community-based organizations and low-income residents throughout Hawai‘i.

The person filling this position must have an interest in legal research and complex litigation, and will work closely with LEJ’s Director/Litigation Director. The VISTA Community Legal Advocate will engage in the following activities:

  • Completing research and developing lawsuits in state and federal court to identify actionable issues impacting low-income communities in Hawai‘i
  • Supporting ongoing lawsuits filed by LEJ and its partners in state and federal court
  • Synthesizing research and data and preparing memoranda and reports on salient issues
  • Developing potential legal and policy solutions to problems identified
  • Preparing communications materials for distribution to both the public at large and target audiences
  • Educating and engaging organizations and communities served in addressing issues perpetuating poverty and inequity
  • Supporting LEJ’s Director/Litigation Director

About Hawai‘i Appleseed

Hawai‘i Appleseed is committed to a more socially just Hawai‘i, where everyone has genuine opportunities to achieve economic security and fulfill their potential. We change systems that perpetuate inequality and injustice through policy development, legislative advocacy, coalition building, and litigation. Hawai‘i Appleseed’s work addresses a variety of areas critical to creating self-sufficiency for people in Hawai‘i, such as housing, hunger, and tax & wage issues. For example, our research, coalition building, and lobbying efforts helped to create a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) that will provide $135 million in tax relief to low-income families over a period of five years.

Lawyers for Equal Justice is a project of Hawai‘i Appleseed that engages in legal advocacy and impact litigation to change systems and policies to make justice, equality and opportunity available to everyone. For example, LEJ is currently representing low-income tenants in a case that seeks to preserve a 142-unit low-income housing complex that was intended to remain affordable for 51 years, but is being converted to market rentals after just 18 years. The 300-plus tenants who live at the complex are at risk of losing their homes, and the community is at risk of losing an important and scarce resource for low-income housing. LEJ is advocating to enforce the original 51-year commitment and keep the complex affordable.

Position Qualifications

The right candidate will have the following strengths and qualifications:

  • Hard-working and driven by a passion for social and economic justice, with an interest in legal advocacy
  • Commitment to excellence and integrity in the work conducted for the organization
  • Good interpersonal and communications skills
  • Knowledge of the systemic issues affecting the well-being of low-income people (knowledge of issues unique to Hawai‘i and familiarity with Hawai‘i communities is a plus)
  • Skill in conceptualizing and executing legal and policy analysis, including
    • Exercising good judgment in all phases of a project
    • Employing intellectual curiosity in gathering information
    • Being able to sort out the most salient facts when dealing with voluminous amounts of information to ensure that the many facets of a policy issue are explored
    • Being detail-oriented in data collection and documentation
    • Developing feasible options or alternative proposals
    • Anticipating consequences of legal and policy decisions
  • Exceptional research and writing skills including the ability to communicate complex issues using language and graphics appropriate to non-experts
  • Ability to work effectively under the pressure of tight time frames and rigid deadlines
  • Self-directed, while also being able to work well in teams and with coalition partners
  • Strong and proven ability to manage multiple tasks concurrently
  • Bachelor’s degree (an advanced degree and or work experience in public policy, law or related fields is strongly preferred)
  • Command of standard office systems, equipment, and software

Compensation, Benefits, and Term of Service

AmeriCorps VISTA is a national service program that works to eliminate poverty. The program requires VISTAs to commit to a one-year term of service. The position may be extended for an additional year if funding is available. Many of Hawai‘i’s Appleseed’s staff members are former AmeriCorps/VISTA members.

VISTA members in Honolulu receive a living allowance of $24,119 that enables them to live very frugally, comparable with the members of the low-income communities VISTAs serve. In addition, VISTA members at Appleseed are provided with a $500 per month housing stipend and a monthly bus pass. VISTA members are eligible for a $6,095 end of service education award. Additional information regarding compensation and benefits for VISTA members can be found at http://www.vistacampus.gov/in-service/benefits-service.

Interested candidates should send a letter of interest, resume and a writing sample to jobs@hiappleseed.org as soon as possible since the position will be filled once the right candidate is identified. The start date will be in June or July 2020.