Staff Attorney (Regional Disability Advocacy Program)
Legal Aid of Southeastern PA (LASP) seeks an attorney to handle Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) cases, outreach and compliance. The full-time position, based in Norristown, will serve low-income clients in Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties.
The attorney will work closely with a paralegal handling SSI and SSDI cases and coordinating targeted outreach to Bucks, Chester, Delaware and Montgomery County Assistance Offices and community organizations that serve clients likely to need, or qualify for, SSI or SSDI. The attorney will also aid in the support and expansion of LASP’s SSI and SSDI work by identifying potential new outreach sites, addressing systemic issues affecting SSI and SSDI clients, and working with LASP’s Pro Bono Director and Pro Bono Coordinators to recruit, train and monitor pro bono attorneys in that work. The attorney will work closely with LASP’s compliance staff to ensure that project goals are achieved.
There are currently over 32,000 SSI and SSDI recipients in LASP’s service area, and likely many more eligible for this benefit. This position will address issues that arise for those currently receiving these benefits and advocate on behalf of those who may be eligible. Typical SSI and SSDI cases involve the following:
- SSI/SSDI initial claims for children and adults if there is no other agency available to provide this service;
- Continuing disability reviews;
- Reconsiderations after an initial denial;
- Age 18 redeterminations;
- Post-hearing appeals to the Appeals Council or in federal court;
- Post-eligibility cases involving reduction or termination of benefits.
Last year LASP opened 292 SSI/SSDI cases and expects that number to grow with targeted outreach, centralized case handling, and pro bono efforts spearheaded by this position.
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following:
- Interviewing clients, assisting in determining eligibility for services, and ascertaining and investigating facts. The position will include reviews of a large volume of medical records;
- Conducting legal research and interpreting statutes, case law, regulations, and other sources of law;
- Providing advice and counsel to clients;
- Preparing legal documents, including but not necessarily limited to: briefs, pleadings, motions, notices, correspondence, memoranda, and discovery-related documents;
- Developing strategy and arguments for presentation of cases and assisting in preparation of witnesses for hearings and trials;
- Representing clients at hearings, appeals, and before administrative agencies;
- Reviewing decisions and consulting with management team to determine the merit of potential appeals;
- Participating in external professional and community organizations relevant to casework;
- Conducting clinics, community education, and workshops;
- Becoming engaged in LASP team efforts to achieve office and program goals, including participation in program-wide affinity groups and task forces, particularly the public benefits task force;
- Developing knowledge of community referral resources and assessing community and client needs;
- Enhancing skills and substantive knowledge through training, CLE, and other educational opportunities;
- Abiding by all applicable professional standards of ethics and practice;
- Completing required administrative tasks including entering of notes and timekeeping in LASP case management software, and maintaining of physical files;
- Ensuring that requirements of grants and contracts which may provide funding for the position are met, and assisting with grant reports;
- Working closely with the DAP Paralegal, providing direction and guidance on casework, outreach, development and reporting.
- Performing other duties and responsibilities as may be assigned.
SUPERVISOR: Community Engagement Unit Supervising Attorney.
QUALIFICATIONS: License to practice law in Pennsylvania or admitted in another jurisdiction and eligible for admission to Pennsylvania. 0-5 years’ experience as a lawyer; demonstrated proficiency in word processing, Outlook products, case management software, and online legal research tools; Passionate commitment to public interest law and serving low-income individuals and vulnerable populations; Strong written and oral advocacy and organizational skills. The successful candidate must be willing to accept complex and challenging cases and develop creative strategies to assist clients. Spanish language proficiency is desirable.
TO APPLY: Send resume and writing sample to Kesha James, Deputy Director for Advocacy at Legal Aid of Southeastern Pennsylvania by email to Hiring@lasp.org. Position will remain open until filled.
LASP is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate in the recruitment, selection, or advancement of employees on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, creed, age, religion, marital status, physical handicap, political affiliation or on any other basis prohibited by law.