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Careers

Notice of Job Posting

Staff Attorney


Summary

Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) is hiring a staff attorney to work primarily in UPLC’s housing and Social Security disability programs and to oversee UPLC’s medical-legal partnership program.    

Responsibilities

The staff attorney will, under the supervision of the Legal Director and with the assistance of other UPLC staff, continue to develop UPLC’s existing medical-legal partnership and potentially establish one or more medical-legal partnerships with one or more social service agencies serving homeless and poor residents of the Uptown neighborhood. As part of this effort, the staff attorney will:

  • Continue to improve and implement the intake instrument that health care and other service providers will use to screen people for legal issues.
  • Respond to referrals by providing brief legal advice, direct legal representation in housing or Social Security disability matters, or referrals to other legal service provider.
  • Conduct a regular legal clinic for participants who drop in or are specifically identified as needing legal services.
  • Conduct trainings for health care providers, social workers, other service providers, and patients on topics such as landlord-tenant law, applying for Social Security benefits, and where to find additional free legal resources.

In addition to work in the formal medical-legal partnership, the staff attorney will work with various community organizations in Uptown to strengthen UPLC’s relationship and ability to provide legal assistance to community residents. 

The staff attorney will also provide direct legal services in housing and Social Security cases that come to UPLC outside of the medical-legal partnership or community engagement efforts. This includes: 

  • Appearing in state court for eviction proceedings, and preparing for jury trials with the drafting of and responding to discovery requests, arguing any appropriate dispositive motions, engaging in settlement negotiations, and other litigation-related tasks. 
  • Communicating with the Social Security Administration and clients regarding the progress of claims for benefits, reviewing medical records and drafting briefs in support of client’s claims for Social Security disability benefits, appearing with clients at hearings before an Administrative Law Judge. 

Additionally, the staff attorney is expected to:

  • Support the training of legal interns, including reviewing of work product, as needed. 
  • Attend CLE classes and legal community meetings on relevant legal and social justice topics. 
  • Perform other duties as assigned. 

Qualifications

  • J.D. and licensed to practice in Illinois by date of application.
  • Demonstrated commitment to social justice and experience providing direct legal services to low-income communities.
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills, including the ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences.
  • Strong interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to work effectively with clients who have experienced trauma and/or crisis.  
  • Ability to take initiative, self-motivate, and juggle multiple tasks.
  • Cross-cultural competencies and self-awareness around issues of power, privilege, and difference. 
  • Comfortable managing a workload of 25-40 matters and sensitive client issues, as well as the high intensity atmosphere of litigation. 
  • Experience handling Social Security and/or eviction cases, or general trial experience is preferred, but not required.

Travel Requirements

Travel to the offices of social service providers, typically but not exclusively in the Uptown neighborhood, to the Chicago Daley Center Courthouse, and to Social Security local offices and offices of Hearings and Operations is required. Most locations can be reached via Chicago public transit. 

Required Hours

Monday through Friday 9:30am to 5:00pm, approximately 40 hours per week.

NOTE: Non-traditional hours – occasional weekends and evenings – may be required. 

Organization Background

Uptown People’s Law Center is a nonprofit legal clinic located on the North Side of Chicago. Our work is focused on three areas: representing disabled people who have been denied Social Security disability benefits; representing tenants who are facing eviction, or other issues relating to their tenancy; and representing prisoners in civil rights lawsuits.

UPLC offers an entrepreneurial environment with a small staff of kind people who are passionate about their work. The dress code is casual (except for court appearances and certain meetings/events) and we are conveniently located a short walk from the Wilson Red Line stop. Full-time at UPLC is 37.5 hours per week. UPLC has a long history of commitment to engaging with social justice work, and values the diversity of perspectives its workers can bring to the table. Recently, we have begun work on forming a committee dedicated to upholding diversity/equity/inclusion work in the office, and look forward to this position's input on that work. In addition, we as an office have extensive experience providing accommodations as necessary in order to establish equity in our working environment. If you are interested in discussing accommodations for this position or for the interview process, please feel free to include your query with your application. We do not require a disclosure of disability in order to extend an accommodation.

To Apply

Send a cover letter and resume to hiring@uplcchicago.org. Job is posted August 7, 2021 and is available until filled. Please, no phone calls, emails, visits, or social media contact regarding the position. 

Salary depends on experience and starts at $47,000/year. UPLC provides health insurance benefits, retirement benefits, and generous paid time off to its employees.

UPLC is proud to be an equal opportunity employer, and as an organization committed to diversity and the perspective of all voices, we strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ folks, people with disabilities, and/or former prisoners to apply. Staff members are chosen on the basis of ability without regard to race, color, religion, ethnicity, sex, age, national origin, veteran status, disability, HIV status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, national origin, or prior record of arrest or conviction, in accordance with federal and state law.

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