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 staff attorney in our Public Benefits Practice Group. This position reports to a Supervisory Attorney.
The Public Benefits Practice Group challenges wrongful denials, terminations, calculations, overpayments, and sanctions concerning benefits from the Department of Human Services including SNAP, TANF, AABD Cash, and Medicaid. The group also challenges wrongful denials, terminations, and overpayments concerning benefits from the Social Security Administration including SSI and Social Security Disability benefits. The group also assists veterans to obtain benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Our Public Benefits Practice Group houses a ground-breaking medical-legal partnership (MLP) with the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System to integrate legal, medical, and public health services in Chicago’s most health challenged neighborhoods. This project addresses the social determinants having the greatest negative consequences for client-patients’ well-being. This position will work within the MLP team.
- Maintain a caseload of individual cases representing clients before the Social Security Administration, Illinois Department of Human Services and other state agencies that oversee public benefits in state and federal courts
- Maintain and grow knowledge in a specialized area of law, and competence in related areas of law
- Interview eligible clients on a wide range of public benefits issues and provide advice and brief services in appropriate cases
- Participate in complex litigation or advocacy to address systemic issues
- Work collaboratively with Legal Aid Chicago staff, students and volunteers to provide comprehensive legal services
- Act as a subject matter expert within the Public Benefits Practice Group concerning health harming legal issues affecting our patient/client population
- Engage in advocacy designed to have a lasting, measurable effect on our client community
- Engage in community outreach, support legal training and provider education for our health partners, and assist with data collection and reporting to our health partners
- Participate in other activities related to poverty law including publication, permissible legislative and administrative advocacy, media relations, and fundraising as needed
- Maintain case files and accurate timekeeping in electronic case management system
- Work with External Relations to administer grants that support the work of the MLPs and Public Benefits Practice Group
- Handle other duties as determined by the Supervisory Attorneys and the 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.
- Applicants must have a J.D. degree and be licensed to practice law in Illinois (or will be sworn into the Illinois bar in November 2022), or be licensed in another state and able to waive into the Illinois bar
- Strong oral and written communication skills, highly developed organizational skills, and great client counseling skills
- The successful applicant will be collegial and demonstrate a commitment to and experience with our client communities and/or people living in poverty, and applicants are encouraged to share that experience in their cover letter
- Applicants must have the ability to work well under pressure
- Spanish proficiency is preferred
Cover letter, resume, writing sample, and the contact information for two professional references are required to apply. The position will remain open until filled.
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.