Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) is hiring a paralegal to perform public benefits work and to assist in the formation of a new medical-legal partnership program in Chicago’s Englewood neighborhood.
The paralegal will, under the supervision of the Paralegal Supervisor and the Legal Director and with the assistance of other UPLC staff, further develop an existing medical-legal partnership and assist clients in obtaining public benefits, particularly Social Security disability benefits. As part of this effort, the paralegal will:
- Direct client interviews, including initial intake interviews, or follow-up interviews, reviewing answers to discovery, and working with clients to gather information related to their case.
- Assist individuals in navigating the public benefits programs, including SNAP/LINK and Medicaid.
- Review medical records, mostly of people who have been denied Social Security disability benefits, although it may also include prison medical records.
- Work with medical providers to collect medical records.
- Communicate with local public benefits and Social Security offices, Department of Disability Services, and Hearing Offices related to case status and paperwork submissions.
- Assist attorneys with case preparation, including case summaries and drafting briefs.
- Act as backup for UPLC’s Office Coordinator, who handles scanning, incoming calls, people seeking appointments, etc.
- Perform miscellaneous office work, including file organization.
- Bachelor’s degree OR equivalent experience. 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 work independently with little supervision, as well as collaborate with others as needed.
- Ability to take initiative, self-motivate, and juggle multiple tasks.
- Flexible, a team player, with great interpersonal skills.
- Ability to read, record, and digest upsetting information about and from people in prison (including descriptions of medical neglect, solitary confinement, etc.).
- Comfortable managing an independent workload and sensitive client issues. Cross-cultural competencies and self-awareness around issues of power, privilege, and difference.
- Demonstrated commitment to social justice and experience providing direct legal services to low-income communities is preferred, but not required.
- Applicants with a connection to either the Uptown or Englewood neighborhoods are preferred, as are formerly-imprisoned people, but it is not a requirement for the job.
- All UPLC employees must be fully vaccinated and boosted against COVID, except as allowed by law.
Regular travel to UPLC’s Uptown office and the MLP office in Englewood. Occasional travel to area social service providers, typically but not exclusively in the Uptown neighborhood. Most locations can be reached via Chicago public transit.
Monday through Friday, 9:30am to 5:00pm, approximately 38 hours per week. There are limited opportunities for flex time and working from home.
This is a full-time, non-exempt position. Non-traditional hours—weekends and evenings—may be required on occasion. Comp time (not overtime) is available for paralegals.
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, including half-hour lunches daily. 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. We have begun working to formalize our commitment to diversity/equity/inclusion and to integrate it more explicitly into our work and office culture. We look forward to this position's input and participation in 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.
Send a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. Job is posted July 27, 2022 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 $35,000- $40,000. UPLC provides up to $300 a month towards health benefits (depending on personal costs, and untaxed if you get BCBS insurance through UPLC), as well as 2% of your salary to a Simple IRA., 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.