At Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. we work to empower individuals by increasing access to education and employment and we help clients improve their quality of life through increased access to income and other support programs. Staff Attorneys provide legal services to low-income individuals seeking assistance with expungement and sealing of criminal records, restoring driver’s licenses, and removing other barriers to employment, education and housing. PSLS is part of a statewide movement to prevent a surge in homelessness by expanding our legal services for low income renters. PSLS staff are preparing and distributing legal information resources for renters, holding virtual presentations to inform residents and social service providers about the laws surrounding evictions and the special protections in place from State and Federal moratoriums, working with local courts to establish coordinated eviction responses in many communities including courthouse based services, reviewing and responding to proposed Illinois Supreme Court rules related to evictions, and are participating in defenses to legal attacks on the legality of the eviction moratoria.
Among other duties as assigned, the Staff Attorney will:
- Provide legal services including legal research and factual investigation, counsel and advice, brief services and document preparation, dispute resolution, and representation of clients in state and federal court and before administrative agencies in a wide range of cases, including: restoration/reinstatement of driver’s licenses; addressing problems associated with criminal records, including expungement/sealing; overcoming barriers posed by credit records, correcting inaccuracies, including identity theft, and addressing improper prospective employer inquiries; credentialing and professional licensure issues and other legal issues.
- Conduct outreach to organizations serving ex-offenders, community based organizations, and parole and probation offices. Develop and present client education at community partner locations.
- Coordinate a clinic or mini summit for criminal records relief in Kankakee
- Provide accurate and complete information for grant reporting to grant funders including documenting services in the case record
- Exhibit a high level of personal energy, organization, and commitment to the position and the PSLS mission
- Interview and provide services to applicants on-site at courthouse sites, outreach locations and the office
- Develop and maintain networking relationships with community agencies that serve the client population in targeted communities and with other local stakeholders
- Assist in developing community legal information and training
Salary and Benefits
The Staff Attorney position is a full-time position at 37.5 hours per week. PSLS offers a salary competitive with similar organizations. Our Staff Attorney salary scale starts at $50,000 per year for candidates who meet the minimum qualifications, and increases with each year of relevant experience. PSLS is committed to providing an excellent, comprehensive benefits package to its full-time employees that includes:
- Health insurance, including the opportunity to qualify for a wellness credit
- Dental insurance
- Vision insurance
- 403b retirement plan including employer contributions
- Extensive training and education program
- Flex schedule and partial remote work
- PTO that starts at 3 weeks/year and increases with additional years worked at PSLS
- Paid sick leave
- 6 weeks of paid parental leave after one year of employment
- 12 paid holidays
- Candidates who are currently admitted to the practice of law in the State of Illinois, or admitted in another state and eligible for reciprocity in Illinois are preferred. Consideration will be given to law graduates who will be sitting for the next bar exam.
- Experience in trial advocacy and negotiation preferred
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Excellent oral/written communication, research skills, and computer competency
- Organizational and case management proficiency
- Ability to work effectively as a team member
- Spanish language proficiency is preferred, but not required
- Some travel is required; applicant must have a valid driver’s license and/or reliable transportation
- We will give preference to candidates who have experience providing services to low-income individuals
Prairie State Legal Services is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive working environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We recruit, employ, pay, and promote qualified applicants and employees without regard to race, ethnicity, color, religion, gender, gender identity, expression, or presentation, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or any other legally protected status.
Prairie State Legal Services is a not for profit civil legal aid organization that has served northern and central Illinois for more than 40 years, maintains 11 office locations, and has a staff of nearly 200 employees including training and litigation staff with extensive experience. Our 36 county service area includes rural communities, suburban areas, and mid-size urban cities which necessitates the development of diverse strategies and we encourage our staff to cultivate and utilize creative approaches to reach and serve our client population. Employees of PSLS benefit from the expertise and community connections of their local office staff along with robust program-wide resources. We strive to provide an array of services responsive to the needs of our clients and therefore have developed several specialized projects and maintain one of the most productive pro bono programs in the nation. PSLS has excellent fiscal controls and upholds the highest rating from Charity Navigator and Guidestar. For more information regarding PSLS services and operations, please visit our website at www.pslegal.org.