Notice of Job Posting: Staff Attorney


Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) is hiring an entry-level staff attorney to work primarily in UPLC’s housing and Social Security disability programs.    


The staff attorney will, under the supervision of the Legal Director and with the assistance of other UPLC staff, help UPLC 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:

  • Work with other UPLC attorneys to design and implement an 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 developing a 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 with 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.


  • J.D. and licensed to practice in Illinois by Fall 2019.
  • 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.
  • Ability to handle high levels of mental stress such as would typically be encountered as a result of helping people in difficult situations.
  • Fluency in Spanish is a plus, but is 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 is a unique, racially and economically integrated neighborhood located on the North Side of Chicago. The neighborhood includes both multimillion dollar mansions and public housing developments. Residents include immigrants and refugees from all over Africa and Asia, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and more, as well as families with roots in Appalachia.

Uptown People’s Law Center was founded in the mid-1970s by community residents, including former coal miners and their widows seeking black lung disability benefits, and community activists fighting against displacement of poor people from Uptown. Uptown People’s Law Center focuses on serving people who live in Uptown and surrounding areas, and/or people who are or were incarcerated in Illinois’ prisons. The substantive areas of law we cover are focused on three areas: representing disabled people who have been denied Social Security disability benefits, usually before an Administrative Law Judge; representing tenants who are facing eviction, or other issues relating to their tenancy; and representing prisoners in civil rights lawsuits.

To Apply: 

Send a cover letter and resume to Job is posted August 14, 2019 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 an Equal Opportunity Employer. People of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, women, and/or formerly incarcerated people are especially encouraged to apply.

  • Kenneth & Harle Montgomery Foundation