Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia (CLS) is a non-profit public interest agency providing free civil legal services to low-income Philadelphia residents. As the largest provider of free civil legal services in the Philadelphia area, CLS is both locally and nationally renowned as a premier legal services provider dedicated to ensuring access to justice for all low-income individuals and communities. CLS has ten legal units covering a wide range of civil legal services.
CLS is seeking two full-time bilingual Spanish speaking paralegals for its Housing Unit. The Housing Unit fights for the stability of vulnerable individuals and families by preventing homelessness through legal advocacy and promoting housing quality and affordability for low-income tenants. Paralegals are critical to the team and take on significant responsibility, including assisting with interviewing potential clients, providing advice and representation to clients, and maintaining client files.
JOB DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The job duties and responsibilities necessary for this position include:
Providing direct representation of clients in administrative proceedings, including representation at fair housing hearings, public housing grievance and admissions hearings;
Maintaining a client caseload and exercising independent professional judgment required of an advocate on all aspects of each case;
Assisting in negotiations with opposing parties, which will include frequent contact with landlords, public housing managers, public housing caseworkers, and opposing counsel;
Participating in policy advocacy around issues such as habitability, preservation of affordable housing, reasonable accommodations and barriers to housing due to domestic/sexual violence and criminal records;
Giving clients advice under the supervision of attorneys;
Assisting in litigation support, including drafting pleadings, affidavits, and discovery;
Maintaining accurate and complete client files and administrative records, including data entry into client databases and other requirements;
Outreaching to community, including legal education presentations. Presentations may take place outside of the regular office setting and after office hours; and
Obtaining relevant case facts and drafting thorough memoranda for case handlers.
The ideal candidate will have the following skills and abilities:
Ability to learn a large volume of complex material quickly, initiative, strong interpersonal skills and ability to interact well in a multi-cultural environment.
Willingness and motivation to assist on substantive cases and administrative matters.
Excellent oral and written communication skills
Strong interpersonal skills
Strong writing skills
Ability to deal with a high volume of direct client interaction
Strong computer literacy including proficiency in Microsoft Office
Fluency in Spanish, including the ability to read and write fluently, and to translate written documents accurately
Some substantive experience in housing law is preferred, but not required.
Experience in legislative or administrative advocacy, or experience with a social services agency or a nonprofit that advocates on behalf of the low-income individuals is preferred, but not required.
To Apply: CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled. However, candidates are highly encouraged to submit their application by Friday, January 27, 2023 for consideration for first round interviews. You can submit your application on CLS’s website online at: https://clsphila.org/about-cls/available-positions OR by clicking on "Apply Now" below.
What to include in your application: Please include a cover letter, resume, three professional references preferably from current or former supervisors and one brief writing sample (2-10 pages).
CLS values a diverse and inclusive work environment where employees feel a sense of belonging and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. CLS invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how their unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.
Compensation: This is a full-time position covered by the collective bargaining agreement between CLS and the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFL-CIO and its affiliate District 1199C. The current minimum starting salary is $41,990 for entry-level applicants, which increases with relevant years of experience and according to the provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement. CLS asks for a minimum two-year commitment from individuals who accept an offer of employment for a paralegal position.
Benefits: CLS offers a very generous and competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid medical (including gender affirming care), life, and short/long-term disability benefits, a 403(b)-retirement plan with employer contribution, and a generous leave package.
Community Legal Services, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants of all diverse backgrounds to apply. CLS does not discriminate in the selection of employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, genetics, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. In addition to federal law requirements, CLS complies with all applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall and transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.