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 its Pro Bono and Community Partnerships Practice Group (PCG). PCG manages numerous projects, including community-based legal clinics, court-based help desks, adult and juvenile record relief and advance directives, all in collaboration with the private bar. PCG supports and advances Legal Aid Chicago's mission by recruiting volunteers and developing, managing, and improving pro bono focused projects.
About PCG’s Criminal Records Relief Work: PCG serves clients with barriers to employment, education, or housing who seek to have their criminal record expunged, sealed, or vacated, or with alternative forms of criminal record relief such as certificates of good conduct and healthcare waivers. This staff attorney position will be involved in all aspects of criminal records relief, with an emphasis on juvenile records, including records research, eligibility determinations, preparing and filing paperwork, and appearing in court. The staff attorney will work closely with law students and volunteers who participate in criminal records relief, providing supervision and support.
About the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk: Legal Aid Chicago runs the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk (“JEHD”) at the Cook County Juvenile Center. At the JEHD, we help individuals access their juvenile court records, evaluate their eligibility to expunge these records, and complete the juvenile expungement petitions and other paperwork and may represent them at expungement hearings. This position will oversee the work at JEHD, including the law students and volunteers who provide support.
This position reports to a Supervisory Attorney.
- Provide comprehensive legal representation to clients in criminal records relief matters with a focus on juvenile records including filing petitions and appearing in court on matters involving expungement, sealing, and motions to vacate
- Oversee the day-to-day work of the Juvenile Expungement Help Desk including client intake and supervision of law students
- Recruit, train, and support volunteer attorneys to provide representation in juvenile expungement matters, including through juvenile record expungement clinics
- Establish and maintain relationships with community providers providing services to youth and adults with criminal justice system involvement and engage in community outreach
- Participate in training to agencies, advocates, clients, or community groups about legal services and rights impacting low income persons and other vulnerable persons;
- 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
- Track data related to pro bono work and assist on related reporting
- Assist in reporting and administering applicable grants
- 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 an Illinois law license, be awaiting results from the July 2022 bar exam, or be eligible to waive into the Illinois bar.
- Applicants must be highly collegial, be willing to work in an interdisciplinary manner with all Legal Aid Chicago staff and have enthusiasm about working in a fast-paced practice and training and mentoring less experienced attorneys, advocacy staff, and volunteers.
- Strong oral and written communication skills, highly developed organizational skills, and great client counseling skills are all required.
- Experience coordinating volunteers, working with youth and organizing and implementing trainings is preferred.
- Confidence in speaking to groups of professionals is necessary.
- The successful applicant will be collegial, well-organized, 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
Cover letter, resume, law school transcript, legal writing sample, and the 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 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 experience with our client communities are encouraged to apply.