For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided free civil legal assistance to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago. Each year our attorneys, volunteers, and staff help resolve civil legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. Legal Aid Chicago was founded on the philosophy that all individuals are entitled to quality civil legal representation, regardless of their income. We work to ensure that poverty is not an impediment to justice by dismantling the legal barriers that perpetuate inequality. Legal Aid Chicago staff live our mission through our core values of equity, excellence, inclusion, kindness, and respect.
Position: Legal Aid Chicago seeks a full-time Paralegal in our Public Benefits Practice Group. The paralegal will report to a Supervisory Attorney. Paralegals handle all functions related to casework, from initial intake through representation of clients at administrative hearings. The duties of the paralegal include the following:
- Maintain knowledge of law and procedures related to benefits administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF)
- Conduct intake and comprehensive legal screening for potential new clients
- Represent clients by undertaking such activities as: interview and initial fact gathering, factual and legal research, devise, review, revise and implement the strategy for going forward, prepare a case for hearing, draft legal papers, negotiate, present evidence, interrogate witnesses, oral advocacy, and properly prepare the client and maintain an ongoing relationship
- Assist clients to apply for benefits from the Illinois Department of Human Services and meet clients at City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services offices
- Provide litigation support to attorneys including, but not limited to, drafting letters, pleadings, discovery, records requests, and outreach materials
- Provide advice and referral to individuals not accepted as clients and make appropriate referrals to additional or alternative legal services and to necessary social services
- Participate in maintaining good community relations by acting as a liaison between community groups and the Legal Aid Chicago staff. Tasks may include, without limitation: outreach and community education to client groups and social service agency personnel; advocacy training in legal rights and entitlement
- Maintain knowledge of the case acceptance criteria of other Legal Aid Chicago Practice Groups to facilitate appropriate internal referrals
- Maintain case files and accurate timekeeping in electronic case management system
- Track data related to grant and assist on related reporting
- Assist attorneys with administrative tasks
- Maintain proficiency with all equipment, computer hardware and software necessary to perform the duties of the position and
- Other duties as determined by the Supervising Attorneys and Director.
Salary: Commensurate with experience. Legal Aid Chicago offers a comprehensive benefits package, including low-cost employer-paid health plan options, employer-provided group life and long-term disability insurance, fitness center access, generous paid time off, and much more.
- Bachelor’s Degree preferred
- Experience and comfort interacting with people living in poverty, older adults, people with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities, immigrants, and people with limited English Proficiency required
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills required
- Familiarity with public benefit program eligibility criteria preferred
- Knowledge of and experience with the Illinois Department of Human Services application process preferred
- Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
- The applicant’s personal background, experience, or professional background should reflect an ability to work effectively in cross-cultural situations with clients, co-workers and the community we serve.
- Good organizational and information-gathering skills as well as strong and versatile computer skills are essential.
- Ability to work collaboratively with others and to draft documents including letters and basic pleadings is essential.
To Apply: Cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of two professional references are required to apply.
Legal Aid Chicago is firmly committed to creating a diverse workplace and is proud to provide equal employment opportunities to all applicants and therefore does not discriminate on the basis of creed, color, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age religion, marital or parental status, alienage, disability, political affiliation or belief, military or military discharge status, or ex-offender status. Applicants who have experiences with our client communities are encouraged to apply.