Paralegal - Public Benefits
Job Type
Full-time
Description

Legal Aid Chicago encourages applicants with relevant volunteer and work experience, who have experiences with our client communities or individuals who identify as a person of color, LGBTQIA+, immigrant, or otherwise having backgrounds and experiences that are underrepresented in the legal profession to apply.

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 three (3) full-time paralegals within our Public Benefits Practice Group. The paralegal will focus on assisting individuals in applying for benefits from the Illinois Department of Human Services and Social Security Administration, will report to a Supervisory Attorney, and is responsible for the following tasks:


Responsibilities:

  • Maintain knowledge of law and procedures related to benefits administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF) and Social Security Administration (SSA) disability benefits
  • 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 IDHS and SSA including completing and submitting application forms and obtaining and submitting other documents necessary to establish eligibility.
  • 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
  • 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: regular application assistance activity at City of Chicago Department of Family and Social Service sites, 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 equipment and technology necessary to perform the duties of the position and
  • Other duties as determined by the Supervising Attorneys and Director.

Salary and Benefits: 

This position is part of the National Organization of Legal Services Workers, UAW Local 2320. The Collective Bargaining Agreement sets employment terms and compensation is determined by the CBA salary scale, based on paid experience. 


The Paralegal position begins at $44,863 and increases for every relevant year of experience. 


Legal Aid Chicago offers a comprehensive benefits package, including:

  • Bilingual Paralegals are eligible for an additional stipend
  • Medical, dental, and vision insurance, effective the first day of employment
  • Time Off: 15 vacation days and 18 sick days accrued within the first year of employment 
  • 19 paid holidays, including four (4) floating holidays
  • Twelve weeks of Paid Parental Leave at 100% of the salary after six months of employment
  • 403(b) retirement plan with an employer contribution after one year of employment
  • $50,000 Basic Life and Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance, at no cost
  • Access to Employee Assistance Program resources, at no cost
  • Monthly internet reimbursement
  • Legal Aid Chicago is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and is an eligible employer for the federal public service loan forgiveness program


Requirements
  • Undergraduate degree strongly preferred
  • Strong oral and written communication skills, highly developed organizational skills, and great client counseling skills and be someone who genuinely enjoys interacting with clients
  • Spanish fluency strongly preferred
  • 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
  • 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
  • Applicants must have the ability to work well under pressure
  • Applicant must have the ability to work well independently and as part of a team
  • Valid Driver’s License required
  • Knowledge of and experience with the IDHS and SSA application process preferred
  • Knowledge of and experience with medical, social and vocational issues affecting people with chronic medical conditions and experience reviewing medical records preferred.

Legal Aid Chicago offers a hybrid work environment. Our offices, located in downtown Chicago at 120 S. LaSalle Street, is ADA accessible and has convenient access to public transportation and local expressways. This position may require travel to court or other outreach events.


To Apply: Submit a cover letter, resume, and the contact information of two primary professional references and one alternative professional reference. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and 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, or any other protected status.


If an accommodation is needed to complete this application, contact Human Resources at humanresources@legalaidchicago.org.