Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. is launching a new, innovative program to address inequities in targeted low income neighborhoods through community lawyering, hiring community residents to work as advocates beside our staff, and providing legal information programming to help low income residents to understand their legal rights and responsibilities.
Under the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Program, Staff Attorneys will address a range of legal issues including issues related to racial inequality, issues that present barriers to residents’ efforts to be self-sufficient, and threats to adequate housing.
While traditional Staff Attorney positions at PSLS are based in our offices and are responding to requests for legal help that are first reviewed by our telephone counseling service, this program aims to embed our attorneys in trusted community-based locations within primarily disenfranchised communities. While our traditional Staff Attorney positions are responding to specific priority issues identified by Prairie State, the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Program Staff Attorneys will be listening to residents and community partners and identifying legal issues disproportionately impacting the residents of such communities.
In addition to the Program Staff Attorneys, PSLS will also hire residents from the targeted communities to work as Community Advocates. These Community Advocates will assist with outreach, collaborate with the Program Staff Attorneys, and be responsible for providing training and education to other community residents.
This is a part-time position, approximately 20-25 hours per week.
Among other duties as assigned, the Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Staff Attorneys in this program will:
- Provide a full range of legal services, including legal research and factual investigation, counsel and advice, brief services and document preparation, dispute resolution, and representation of clients in administrative and judicial proceedings;
- Interview and provide services to applicants on-site at community-based locations;
- Develop and maintain networking relationships with community agencies that serve the client population in targeted communities and with other local stakeholders;
- Participate in community meetings to better understand the needs of local residents;
- Conduct legal education and training for community residents;
- Provide accurate and complete information for grant reporting to funders including documenting services in client case records;
- Provide guidance and direction to the local PSLS Community Advocate and coordinate efforts with the Advocate;
- Exhibit a high level of personal energy, organization, and commitment to the position and the PSLS
Salary and Benefits
The Justice, Equity, and Opportunity Program Staff Attorney position is part-time at 20-25 hours per week. PSLS offers a salary competitive with similar organizations. Our Staff Attorney salary scale starts at approximately $35,000 per year for newly licensed attorneys and increases with each year of relevant experience. This position is part-time at 20-25 hours per week, and salary may vary depending on hours worked. PSLS is committed to providing generous benefits to its part-time employees that include:
- Vision insurance
- 403b Retirement Plan
- Extensive training and education program
- Paid sick leave
- PTO that starts at 3 weeks/year and increases with additional years worked
- 6 weeks of paid parental leave after one year of employment
- Currently admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois, or admitted in another state and eligible for reciprocityin
- Experience with trial advocacy and negotiation strongly preferred
- Commitment and passion for fighting inequity
- Strong understanding of challenges faced within low income communities of color preferred
- Experience working with the community at large and specifically working with diverse populations preferred
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Excellent oral/written communication, research skills, and computer competency
- Organizational and case management skills
- Ability to work effectively as a team member
- Moderate travel is necessary; valid driver’s license and/or reliable transportation is required