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Medical Legal Practice

Texas Rio Grande Legal Aid (at Brownsville Community Health Center)

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TRLA is the third largest legal services provider in the country and enjoys an exceptional litigation record. The organization represents some of the Rio Grande Valley’s most impoverished and oppressed populations free of charge. TRLA recruits throughout the country and attracts candidates who would be welcomed in the most prestigious non-profit organizations in the country.

In October 2008, Texas RioGrande Legal Aid (TRLA) opened the doors of its Medico-Legal Partnership (MLP) in Brownsville, Texas at the Brownsville Community Health Center (BCHC). MLP places lawyers and a paralegal in a clinical setting to partner with doctors and focus on three priority areas of law: housing, education, and public benefits/access to medical care. Through this collaboration, the legal community seeks to address the health problems of some of the most vulnerable individuals in the community by addressing underlying factors that are at their root legal issues. MLP is based on a national model and is the first program of its kind in the Rio Grande Valley, which is among the very poorest areas in the country. This is an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in social justice and public health.

The medico-Legal Partnership office is located at the BCHC to provide immediate access to clients and the partner medical community. Low-income families who are patients at the BCHC are eligible for MLP services.

The paralegal will serve as the first initial point of contact for families seeking assistance with legal matters, as well as act as a liaison between TRLA and BCHC. As the first point of contact, the MLP paralegal conducts intakes, which consist of interviewing the client and gathering facts.

The paralegal also manages cases and maintains communication with the client throughout the legal process. Additionally, the paralegal often provides immediate assistance to the client in obtaining other social service resources and counseling.

Some local and regional travel may be required to meet with clients who are unable to meet at the office and to conduct educational workshops with community organizations.

Although the paralegal will focus on the three priority areas, he/she can expect to provide some assistance on matters related to other areas of law as these involve MLP clients.

Duties and Responsibilities:

1.       Provide representation of clients, including administrative proceedings;

2.       Assist attorneys to represent clients in court;

3.       Properly maintain a client caseload;

4.       Conduct eligibility and substantive interviews in person and by telephone;

5.       Provide basic information and referrals to applicants for assistance;

6.       Interview clients and witnesses, investigate facts and research law;

7.       Serve process and subpoenas

8.       Prepare legal documents;

9.       Notarize documents;

10.     Prepare for and participate in community education meetings and presentations;

11.     Translate orally and in writing;

12.     Maintain accurate and complete client files and administrative records;

13.     Prepare administrative reports required by TRLA

14.     Work collaboratively with MLP staff, LMP partners, and others in the community;

15.     Comply with professional standards of a law practice, including ethical standards;

16.     Any other duties required by the primary supervisor.

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