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Pension Attorney

Texas Legal Services Center

in TX

Job Title:  Staff Attorney

Program:  South Central Pension Rights Project (SCPRP)

SCPRP Staff Attorney

Job Description

JOB SUMMARY: The South Central Pension Rights Project Staff Attorney is expected to fulfill the mission of Texas Legal Services Center and carry out the Pension Counseling and Information Program described in the U.S. Older Americans Act (42 U.S.C. 3020e–1) by providing pension counseling and information services to participants and beneficiaries of employer sponsored pension and retirement savings plans. The Staff attorney is responsible for her/his caseload and reports to the SCPRP Managing Attorney.

MINIMUM JOB QUALIFICATIONS: J.D. Degree and licensed by the Supreme Court of Texas with a minimum of three (3) years of experience as a pension attorney working with ERISA employee pension benefit plans or qualified state or local government plans.

Primary Responsibilities and Duties:

1. Regional Pension Counseling and Referral Services.

a. Counseling and Information Services.

i. Case Services: The Pension Attorney will provide a range of direct and often detailed legal advocacy and other investigative and support services up to and through administrative pension claim and appeal proceedings, short of representation in court and formal litigation, including:

  • Obtaining and evaluating governing plan documents and other information (such as employment and earnings records) necessary to calculate or claim benefits or exercise pension rights;
  • Drafting and submitting benefit claims and appeals, and negotiating benefit settlement agreements, and other related assistance services ranging from brief services such as letter writing, email and telephone communications on behalf of clients, to more extensive research and investigative services;
  • Locating "lost" plan sponsors for clients who worked long enough to earn a benefit, but have since lost touch with their former employer due to a company change in name, location, form or operational status; and
  • Answering callers' basic questions about their pension plans and the laws and regulations that govern them.

ii. Referral Services: The Pension Attorney will provide referral services. The purpose of SCPRP's referral efforts is to build and utilize a region-wide network of private and public service providers to serve clients whose needs are beyond the scope of pension counseling and information services. These include: employee benefits litigation, preparation of Qualified Domestic Relations Orders, actuarial assessments (unrelated to case services), financial education and advice, retirement and estate planning, and low-income and aging related legal services.

b. Regional Service Delivery: SCPRP’s service region includes 6 states: Arkansas, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, Oklahoma & Texas.

c. Exclusive Subject Matter: For purposes of this Pension Attorney position, "pensions" or "pensions and retirement savings plans" include defined benefit pensions, defined contribution plans and profit sharing plans that provide retirement income and that are sponsored by government and private employers. Benefits that are not the focus of this position include: public or private health, welfare and disability benefits; and benefits provided through the Social Security Administration, Veterans Administration, or any other public benefit or entitlement program.

d. Individuals Served: The Pension Attorney will provide equivalent services and equivalent access to those services to individuals, regardless of age or income who:

i. Reside or work in the project's service region either now or at the time the benefit was being earned; or who
ii. Seek pension benefits that are sponsored, administered, trusteed or provided to workers within the service region either now or at the time the benefit was being earned.

e. No Charge for Access: SCPRP is easily accessible at no charge to low-income, rural and other hard-to-reach senior populations throughout the region through technologies including a toll-free phone line and an easy-to-navigate website.

2. Programmatic Consistency.

a. Legal Training. The Pension Attorney will participate in ongoing legal education, which is essential for maintaining a staff knowledgeable on the intricacies of the laws governing employer sponsored pension and retirement savings plans.

b. Data Collection and Reporting: Data will be collected and reported in a manner consistent across all U.S. Administration on Aging funded counseling projects. At a minimum, the data set will include types and levels of services provided; client outcomes, pension plan and sponsor types and their contact information; legal issues involved; and client demographics (e.g., age, gender, race and income).

3. Miscellaneous

  • Comply with all regulations, grant requirements, and internal operating and personnel policies.
  • Ensure that all client, project, and computer files are maintained in an orderly manner.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with case management systems, Adobe and Microsoft Office products and the ability to learn new technologies to carry out job functions.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in basic pension calculations. One year of college calculus preferred.
  • CEBS or ASPPA designations preferred.
  • Maintain the highest ethical standards as a member of the State Bar and stay current with updates and changes to the law.  Adhere to the ABA Standards for Civil Legal Services Providers.
  • Maintain the highest level of professionalism when working with other TLSC staff, other Legal Aid programs, governmental and funding entities, and the public.
  • Embrace and support TLSC’s overall mission, standards, policies, and confidentiality requirements.
  • Ensure that all appointments and deadlines are calendared and timely executed with sufficient time dedicated for management approval of legal documents.
  • Perform other duties as assigned by the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and the SCPCP Managing Attorney.

Essential Functions: Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. This work is professional and requires regularity for the following physical activities:

  • Occasional bending, squatting, kneeling, and good hand to finger dexterity, handling, and feeling; frequent repetitive motions;
  • Operate computer screens and keyboards for extended periods of time;
  • The noise level in the work environment is usually very quiet;
  • Ability to read and write in English and to communicate by telephone; and
  • Occasional lifting (up to 10 lbs.) of files, supplies, and office equipment.

NOTE:  The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work performed by an employee in this position.  These statements are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of employees in this position.  This position is FLSA exempt.  Employment with TLSC is on an “at will” basis and may be terminated by the employer or employee at any time with notice.  A high level of organizational and project management skills are required for this position.

Location:  2101 S IH 35 Frontage Rd., Suite 300, Austin, Texas 78741

FLSA Status: Part-time, Hourly, Non-Exempt

Supervisory Responsibilities:  None

Reports to: South Central Pension Rights Project Managing Attorney

Days and Hours of Work:
Work is during normal business hours. Hours may vary to meet program needs as determined by the Managing Attorney

TLSC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of any status or condition protected by law. We encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

How to Apply

Please send a resume and cover letter to: hr@TLSC.org with the words “SCPRP Pension Attorney” in the subject line. Also, include a completed job application form available at www.TLSC.org by or before 6:00 p.m. central standard time, December 15, 2017.

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