NewsJanuary 24, 2020

We're Hiring! Legal and Community Research Associate (Applications Closed)

Post type: 

We are welcoming a new part-time team member to join our close-knit group. The Legal and Community Research Associate Position offers individuals a powerful opportunity to remake farm business law as a force by and for our nation’s farmers, with a focus on the most innovative and direct to consumer operations. To build that future, we need someone with sharp legal research and community research skills, and who gets excited about convincing others to be a part of something big. If that sounds like you, please apply. Let us know in the cover letter why and how this opportunity is right for you.

Farm Commons is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers farmers to create solutions to their business law needs, within a community of support. We do this by fostering education, leadership development, and community-based problem solving. We work as a small but mighty team of remote staff who wake up each day ready to empower sustainable farmers nationwide to build resiliency through the law.

Position Description:

If successful, the Legal and Community Research Associate will achieve the following:

  1. Conduct community research programs that result in identification of opportunities to resolve persistent barriers to farm business resilience, while developing effective partnerships able to carry out the resolution into the future.
  2. Contribute to the development of participatory legal education and research as a concept by developing and implementing nontraditional programs for gathering and analyzing legal information and knowledge with community and business stakeholders.
  3. Strengthen Farm Commons’ service to the community by identifying community needs and mobilizing people and partnerships to address those needs.

In order to achieve the above results, the Legal and Community Research Associate will do the following:

  1. Engage in extensive community outreach to recruit and lead participants, partners, and stakeholders for collaborative research projects.
  2. Plan and conduct focus groups and other feedback activities; conduct market-based research including client and partner interviews to better understand the community’s intersection with legal issues.
  3. Conduct legal and community research, which may include reading statutes, regulations, and case law, gathering and reading contracts, consulting secondary sources, interviewing expert attorneys, and coordinating with the Staff Attorney as necessary.
  4. Work with the Executive Director to design project deliverables including white papers, guides, and strategy documents; write resulting resources and coordinate with the Staff Attorney as necessary to complete writing; coordinate with Farmer and Partner Development Manager to achieve outreach on deliverables.
  5. Align our work within the broader scholarship on community based and participatory legal research as a whole; align our work within the legal education market as a whole.
  6. Assist in the design and implementation of projects under the direction of the Executive and Associate Directors; document and facilitate program progress in the organization’s project management system.


Qualified candidates will possess the following:

  1. Associate, undergraduate, or professional degree in a law-related field, including but not limited to a paralegal degree, law degree, or masters in legal studies as well as proficiency in legal research, analysis, and writing.
  2. Detailed experience in community-based research including surveys, focus groups, interviews and other methods of receiving input from communities, in the context of business/market research, community organizing/advocacy, or member services.
  3. Educational background or experience in agriculture, farming, and food systems.
  4. Proven ability to take initiative in developing programs that are goal-focused, results-oriented, and replicable with limited oversight.
  5. Substantial, demonstrated skills in assembling effective coalitions and partnerships from among diverse stakeholders such as attorneys, advocates, land owners, small business owners, and industry representatives.
  6. Excellent written and oral communication skills, including the ability to clearly and confidently deliver persuasive content and conduct workshop-style instruction.


This is a half time, 20-hour per week position at a pay rate of $26 per hour. Benefits also provided.

Successful candidates may be from any location in the lower 48 states, but a preference will apply to Midwest-based candidates.

Occasional travel will be required, including overnight stays of 2 nights or more around the country.

How to Apply:

To apply for this position, please send a cover letter and resume to Rachel Armstrong, by February 14, 2020. Cover letters must detail whether and how the applicant meets the 6 qualifications stated. Letters should not exceed 5 pages in length. Please submit both the letter and the resume together as a single pdf document. Please write Legal and Community Research Associate into the subject line of your email submission. Confirmation of receipt will be sent within 3 days, but not after the deadline.


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