Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia (“CLS”) currently seeks a Co-Managing Attorney for its Housing Unit. This is an exciting opportunity for a lawyer interested in leading a team of advocates fighting for stable, affordable, and safe housing for all renters.
CLS 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 (over 80 lawyers and 190 staff), 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. We provide high quality direct legal representation, engage in systemic policy advocacy with the goal of effectuating broad-based change, and conduct community education and outreach. You can learn more about our services at https://clsphila.org/services/.
The Housing Unit includes 40 staff working in our Center City office. The Housing Unit represents private, public, and subsidized housing tenants in matters involving eviction, illegal lockouts, and substandard housing. The Unit uses systemic advocacy and litigation to address issues ranging from lead paint elimination to federal housing policy changes to tenant eviction laws. The Co-Managing Attorney will partner with the existing Managing Attorney to supervise, train, and motivate unit staff to provide the highest quality of legal services in accordance with CLS’s program guidelines.
The Co-Managing Attorneys of the Housing Unit oversee the substantive work, manage the workflow and caseloads of all unit members, and provide critical leadership to the Unit while also maintaining a small caseload. The Co-Managing Attorneys will determine how to divide tasks in consultation with the Deputy Director of Legal Practice and Executive Director. The Co-Managing Attorneys are part of the Legal Management team and report directly to the Deputy Director of Legal Practice and Executive Director.
Essential Functions of the Position:
Client Representation & Advocacy: Within the area of landlord tenant law, including private housing and subsidized housing, the Co-Managing Attorney will:
- Strategically select cases to provide and ensure high quality legal representation to individuals and groups. This includes interviewing clients, conducting research, factual investigation, preparing pleadings, negotiating case resolutions, discovery and motion practice, and representing clients in court and at administrative hearings.
- Provide counseling, advice and other brief services and referrals as appropriate.
- Co-counsel with other attorneys.
- Represent clients and client groups in litigation, administrative advocacy, and other advocacy forums.
- Engage in and supervise appellate work, complex and major litigation, and other special projects.
- Develop, implement, and supervise litigation and/or advocacy strategies to address systemic legal problems.
- Analyze and comment on pending legislation and regulations consistent with the requirements of all funding sources.
- Motivate staff, providing support and mentorship.
- Co-develop practice group goals and workplans to achieve those goals.
- Ensure professional development and professional growth opportunities for staff.
- Train staff attorneys, paralegals, and other staff.
- Present at trainings for legal services organizations, advocates, and community groups.
- Draft training manuals, articles, and community education materials.
- Apply knowledge of poverty law issues, strategies, and solutions to engage in and supervise systemic advocacy.
- Take a leadership role in task forces, advocacy groups, community-based organizations, or bar associations.
- Keep program staff and advocates throughout the state abreast of new developments within substantive legal areas.
- Engage in local, state, regional and/or national legal services and advocacy community.
- Stay current on housing policy and best practices in legal services management.
- Participate in and supervise activities related to poverty law, including community education and outreach, writing of published materials and permissible legislative and administrative advocacy.
- Participate in statewide task forces and work groups.
- Participate in bar activities and establish effective working relationships within the bar.
- Ensure the practice group and organization develop and maintain relationships with partner organizations, including other non-profits, grass roots organizations, government agencies and elected officials.
Intake and Advice:
- Ensure intake policies, systems and procedures that identify appropriate legal issues.
- Ensure clients receive high quality and effective advice.
Development and Communications:
- Identify opportunities for resources development.
- Maintain and develop relationships with funders of the unit’s work.
- Assist with grant proposals, reports and other resource development.
- Identify opportunities for working with the media and engaging in other communications.
- Assist with and actively participate in communications and media relations.
Supervisory and Administrative:
- Monitor substantive legal work.
- Work collaboratively with Co-Manager to maintain a qualified and committed legal staff, consult and advise staff, and provide applicable training and development.
- Handle general administrative issues, such as providing input to the budget process, taking reasonable actions to achieve compliance with program regulations and requirements.
- Evaluate performance of unit staff and take corrective action if needed.
- Develop and maintain a qualified and committed support staff.
- Co-schedule, coordinate and run monthly unit meetings.
- Communicate with staff and other offices/units and foster good working relationships.
- Report to management any bar association grievances, disciplinary proceedings or malpractice claims involving the unit and cooperate with the CLS liability insurers.
- Licensed to practice law in Pennsylvania or ability to become licensed before starting the position.
- Experience working with low-income and/or hard-to-reach people from a variety of backgrounds, while demonstrating cultural humility.
- Commitment to working with diverse populations, advocating for racial and economic justice, and public interest.
- Excellent research, writing, and advocacy skills.
- Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook).
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.
- Excellent management and leadership skills.
- Able to establish effective working relationships with a variety of individuals.
- Organized, able to prioritize work, plan and problem-solve, meet deadlines and work well under pressure.
Preferred Qualifications (Note: We encourage you to apply even if you do not have all of these qualifications – we are looking for a skilled passionate advocate and leader who has the capacity to grow their skillset over time)
- Working knowledge of housing law is a plus.
- Five or more years of experience as a practicing attorney.
- Experience as a supervisor or team manager.
- Experience in a legal services or non-profit environment preferred.
Compensation & Benefits: This is a full-time exempt position. Salary range is $96,000 to $120,000 commensurate with experience. The candidate must be within a commutable distance or willing to relocate. A modest moving allowance may be available if the candidate lives more than 50 miles from the CLS Center City Office.
CLS offers a very generous and competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid medical insurance for employee and family, coverage for gender affirming care, life insurance, short/long-term disability benefits, a 403(b) retirement plan with employer contribution, and generous leave package. We recognize 13 paid holidays each year, and the leave for this position includes 5 personal days, 12 sick days, and 25 vacation days each year.
CLS offers a hybrid work environment where staff work both in the office and remotely each week. We see advantage in the flexibility for staff to work in their most efficient and comfortable environment, and we value the importance of coming together to build community, mentor and learn from colleagues in each unit, and connecting with our talented staff across a wide range of expertise.
To Apply: Candidates are highly encouraged to submit their application by Friday, June 23, 2023 for consideration for first round interviews. You can submit your application on CLS’s website at https://clsphila.org/careers/ OR submit your application below by clicking "Apply Now"
What to Include in your application: Please include a cover letter, resume, three professional references (past or current supervisors preferred) identifying your relationship, and one brief writing sample (10 pages or less). The Cover letter should include:
- Why you are interested in serving as the Co-Managing Attorney of the Housing Unit
- Additional professional and/or personal experiences, if any, that inform your qualifications for this position and are not otherwise obvious from your resume.
- Confirmation that the published salary range meets your requirements.
CLS values a diverse work environment, and continually strives to build an organization that elevates inclusion and justice both internally and through our work. CLS 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.
Community Legal Services, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. CLS 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.