Housing Unit Paralegal (Two Positions Available)
Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia is a non-profit public interest agency providing free civil legal services to low-income Philadelphia residents. As the largest provider of free civil legal services in the Philadelphia area, CLS is both locally and nationally renowned as a premier legal services provider dedicated to ensuring access to justice for all low-income individuals and communities. CLS has eight legal units covering a wide range of civil legal services. The Housing Unit, located at our 1424 Chestnut Street office, fights for the stability of vulnerable individuals and families by preventing homelessness through legal advocacy and promoting housing quality and affordability for low-income tenants.
CLS is looking to fill two (2) paralegal job openings in the Housing Unit. These would be full-time positions responsible for interviewing potential clients both in person and over the telephone on a rotating basis with other unit members, providing advice and representation to the unit’s clients as well as maintaining a large number of client files, under the supervision of attorneys in the unit. Housing unit Paralegals provide representation at administrative hearings, such as the Fair Housing Commission and public housing grievance and admissions hearings. The position also includes conducting community education and trainings, and some involvement in policy advocacy around issues such as habitability, preservation of affordable housing, reasonable accommodations and barriers to housing due to domestic/sexual violence and criminal records.
Strong interpersonal skills, excellent oral and written communication skills, as well as the ability to deal with a high volume of direct client interaction are required. Some substantive experience in Housing law is preferred, but not required. Good writing skills and the ability to learn a large volume of material quickly are also required. Other responsibilities and qualifications necessary for this position include knowledge of other community resources for appropriate referrals, interviewing clients, obtaining the relevant case facts and drafting thorough memoranda for the case handlers, negotiating favorable outcomes for clients, and giving clients advice under the supervision of attorneys. Fluency in writing and speaking a language other than English, preferably Spanish, is preferred, but not required.
This is a full-time position covered by the collective bargaining agreement between Community Legal Services, Inc. (CLS) and the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees, AFL-CIO and its affiliate District 1199C. CLS asks for a minimum two-year commitment from individuals who accept an offer of employment for a paralegal position. The current minimum starting salary is $37,800 for entry-level applicants but that salary is subject to change or adjustment if an applicant has relevant years of experience and according to the provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement. Raises and benefits are also governed by that agreement.
Community Legal Services, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes applicants of all diverse backgrounds to apply. CLS, Inc. does not discriminate in the selection of employees on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, sexual identity, genetics, age, national origin, disability, or veteran status. In addition to federal law requirements, CLS complies with all applicable state and local laws governing nondiscrimination in employment. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, recall and transfer, leaves of absence, compensation and training.
Required Qualifications: Two or four-year college degree. Strong writing skills, computer literacy, the ability to learn complex material quickly, initiative, strong interpersonal skills and ability to interact well in a multi-cultural environment. Willingness and motivation to assist on substantive cases and administrative matters.
Preferred Qualifications: Experience in legislative or administrative advocacy, or experience with a social services agency or a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of the poor.
To Apply: CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled. You can submit your application on CLS’s website online at:
What to Include in your application:
Please include a cover letter, resume, three professional references and one brief writing sample (10 pages or less). Community Legal Services values a diverse work environment and strongly encourages women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ, people with disabilities, people who have experienced poverty or homelessness and people who have had prior contact with the juvenile, criminal, or child welfare systems to apply. CLS invites all applicants to include in their cover letter a statement about how your unique background and/or experiences might contribute to the diversity, cultural vitality, and perspective of our staff and legal services practice.