Community Legal Worker

Detroit, MI

The Detroit Justice Center (DJC) seeks Community Legal Workers who will help Detroiters avoid foreclosure as part of a new pilot program. The Community Legal Workers will help people stay in their homes by challenging unconstitutional property tax assessments. 

What Are Community Legal Workers?

Community Legal Workers are trained community members who will help Detroit residents understand, use, and shape the laws that affect them. Instead of turning to the traditional lawyer, DJC aims to place the law in the hands of the people to empower them to solve justice problems on their own. DJC will provide formal training for all Community Legal Workers so they are prepared to advise clients on the legal process and navigate government systems.

What are Unconstitutional Property Tax Assessments?

The Michigan Constitution states that no property may be assessed at more than 50% of its market value. However, 55 – 85% of properties were assessed at a rate in violation of the Constitution from 2009-2015. Detroit residents can appeal a property assessment to the Board of Assessors Review, but the period for appeal is only February 1 – February 15, a very short time frame.  

DJC’s Community Legal Workers will assist community members in preparing their appeals, accompany clients to the Board, and provide guidance throughout the process.

Job Duties:

  • Performing legal research and investigation into the tax assessment appeal process

  • Conducting client interviews

  • Helping community members complete forms

  • Accompanying clients to the Board of Assessors Review hearings

  • Educating the community about their rights to an appeal of their tax assessment

Qualifications:

  • Engaged member of the community, ideally with some knowledge of housing and foreclosure issues

  • Formal or informal skills in mediation, conflict resolution, and/or negotiation

  • Community organizing skills and the desire to empower your community

  • Ability to communicate ideas to a broad audience

  • Willingness to develop working relationships with local government staff and officials

Compensation: $15/hour, 20 hours/week (temporary position)

How to Apply: Please submit a resume and cover letter stating why you are interested in a Community Legal Worker position by September 26, 2018 to jobs@detroitjustice.org with the subject: “Community Legal Worker position.” Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. Please refrain from contacting the office to check on the status of your application.