Paralegal (Public Benefits: Outreach and Enrollment)
For over 50 years, Legal Aid Chicago has provided free civil legal assistance to people living in poverty in metropolitan Chicago. Each year our attorneys, volunteers, and staff help resolve civil legal problems, including domestic violence, consumer fraud, and unfair evictions. Legal Aid Chicago was founded on the philosophy that all individuals are entitled to quality civil legal representation, regardless of their income. We work to ensure that poverty is not an impediment to justice by dismantling the legal barriers that perpetuate inequality. Legal Aid Chicago staff live our mission through our core values of equity, excellence, inclusion, kindness, and respect.
Legal Aid Chicago seeks a full-time Public Benefits Outreach and Enrollment Paralegal. The paralegal will report to a Supervisory Attorney. Paralegals handle all functions related to casework, from initial intake through representation of clients at administrative hearings. The duties of the paralegal include the following:
- Maintain knowledge of law and procedures related to benefits administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services such as Medicaid, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Aid to Needy Families (TANF);
- Maintain a regular intake schedule and other casework duties which include, without limitation: consultation with supervising attorney as to proper course of action, preserve the confidence of clients, avoid conflicts of interest, account for clients' moneys, maintain the same ethical standards of conduct required of attorneys;
- Represent clients by undertaking such activities as: interview and initial fact gathering, factual and legal research, devise, review, revise and implement the strategy for going forward, prepare a case for hearing, draft legal papers, negotiate, present evidence, interrogate witnesses, oral advocacy, and properly prepare the client and maintain an ongoing relationship;
- Assist clients to apply for benefits from the Illinois Department of Human Services using the Department’s Application for Benefits Eligibility (ABE) online portal and meet clients at City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services offices (when health and safety conditions allow);
- Work with attorneys on cases or projects; investigation and research; preparation of depositions, discovery materials, pleadings, briefs and other legal materials;
- Provide advice and referral to individuals not accepted as clients;
- Participate in maintaining good community relations by acting as a liaison between community groups and the Legal Aid Chicago staff. Tasks may include, without limitation: outreach and community education to client groups and social service agency personnel; advocacy training in legal rights and entitlement;
- Assist with grant reporting;
- Maintain proficiency with all equipment, computer hardware and software necessary to perform the duties of the position; and
- Other duties as determined by the Supervising Attorneys and Director.
- Bachelor’s Degree preferred;
- Experience and comfort interacting with people living in poverty, older adults, people with physical, mental and cognitive disabilities, immigrants and people with limited English Proficiency required;
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills required;
- Familiarity with public benefit program eligibility criteria preferred;
- Knowledge of and experience with the Illinois Department of Human Services application process preferred;
- Fluency in Spanish is a plus.
Salary: Commensurate with experience. Legal Aid Chicago offers a comprehensive benefits package, including low-cost employer-paid health plan options, employer-provided group life and long-term disability insurance, fitness center access, generous paid time off, and much more.
Send cover letter, resume, and the names and contact information of two professional references: email@example.com. Be sure to write “Public Benefits Enrollment Paralegal” in the subject line of your e-mail. No phone calls, please.