Legal Secretary - Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

Community Legal Services logo


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.

CLS is seeking a Legal Secretary for its North Philadelphia Law Center (NPLC) location.  The Legal Secretary is an integral part of the administrative team at NPLC.  The person in this position will perform secretarial and administrative duties utilizing legal terminology, procedures, and documents, they will assist attorneys in preparing legal papers and correspondence, such as summonses, complaints, motions, and subpoenas, they will provide support to the receptionist team and interact with CLS clients, and will overall provide administrative, clerical and technical support to the office as needed.  The ideal candidate will have strong time management skills, strong communication skills, strong attention to detail and organizational skills, and experience providing secretarial support to numerous staff with competing deadlines.  The Legal Secretary reports directly to the Office Manager and the NPLC Managing Attorney.

ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS OF THE POSITION:

Document Production

  • Prepares pleadings, briefs, motions, affidavits, petitions, exhibits, and other legal documents.  Knows and uses the proper forms for citation of legal authority when required.
  • Enters data and runs reports from client data software.
  • Creates electronic and hard files as needed.
  • Composes and types correspondence of a routine nature.
  • Transcribes recorded dictation.
  • Assembles office forms and/or statistics, and files and transmits to others as appropriate.
  • Uses both word processing and other software programs such as PowerPoint and Excel to produce documents.
  • Able to create and maintain spreadsheets.
  • Expert use of Outlook and Outlook 365.
  • Ability to multitask various projects, competing deadlines and other assignments.
  • Organize and maintain client files according to organizational protocols.
  • Attention to detail is required for production of all legal documents and legal correspondence, especially letters to outside counsel, the courts/judges, and other parties.

Reception & Client Assistance

  • Answers and routes telephone calls for case-handlers.
  • Takes accurate messages for case-handlers and answers inquiries in their absence.
  • Provides information to callers seeking CLS services.
  • Gathers necessary information from prospective clients to determine eligibility for CLS services.
  • With supervision, makes appropriate legal and non-legal referrals to appropriate agencies or organizations.
  • Assists in handling client intake and other client contact, including providing some substantive legal advice, as requested by and with the supervision of the Unit=s attorneys.
  • Is knowledgeable about the legal units’ cases and other activities; acts as liaison with clients, opposing counsel, court and other public officials, other staff and other persons with whom the unit staff interacts; answers questions and resolves simple problems dependent on such knowledge; locates needed materials and obtains needed data; and otherwise acts as an extension of the unit staff for whom s/he/they works.
  • Provides relief to the Receptionists as requested by the Office Manager, and provides clerical and administrative backup for other support staff, including the Office Manager.

Clerical

  • Operates and maintains office machinery necessary to complete assignments.
    • Fax
    • Photocopy
    • Scan
    • Type
  • Sorts and distributes mail.
  • Delivers mail to post office as needed.
  • Maintains office supplies and ensures ample stocking of supplies as needed and routes supply requisitions, purchase orders, and check requests.
  • Performs minor maintenance of office equipment (i.e. refill paper or toner in photocopiers), and notifies Office Manager to place service calls for repairs as necessary.
  • Maintains work area and physical appearance in neat and organized fashion.
  • Performs light office cleaning - ex. Office refrigerator and kitchen as needed; making offices ready for new hires. 
  • If licensed, notarizes documents.

Case Management and Calendaring

  • Opens and/or closes cases for case-handlers and performs conflict checks.
  • Maintains court and/or office calendars and tickler systems for designated staff members.
  • Maintains records of unit intake.
  • Maintains follow-up records relating to legal matters in progress and ensures that legal requirements and deadlines are met.
  • Is familiar with the court and administrative agency systems and practices such as federal court, bankruptcy court, state court Social Security and welfare offices.
  • Familiarity with and ability to utilize e-file systems of various courts including but not limited to PACER and Court of Common Pleas. 

Database Management/Statistical Analysis

  • Database management, including data entry, maintaining mailing lists, report generation and statistical analysis
  • Establishes and/or maintains filing systems, appointment calendars, and master calendar systems

Miscellaneous

  • Acts as office or unit timekeeper, if so assigned.
  • Distributes work to other clerical staff.
  • Assists in the interviewing and selection of new clerical staff.
  • Trains new clerical staff.
  • Performs additional functions and other duties as requested

The ideal candidate will have the following skills and abilities:

  • Provide staff with a comprehensive level of secretarial and administrative support to ensure that work is produced in an accurate, timely and professional manner.
  • Act as a positive interactive liaison between the case-handlers and their clients and other professionals.
  • Exhibit superior customer service skills to both internal and external customers.
  • Ensure that there is a flexible flow of support around the daily activities faced by CLS staff.
  • Ability to identify the need to and ability to deescalate situations with difficult clients as needed
  • Exhibit flexibility and sound judgment
  • Able to create and use forms/ spreadsheets, track the status of a high volume of cases and ensure deadlines are met.
  • Create and duplicate reports with in client service software
  • Manage and create excel spreadsheets.
  • Interact comfortably with a high volume and wide range of clients and visitors including individuals with mental health issues and individuals under great stress.
  • Provide mentoring assistance to new staff members as appropriate and necessary in order to ensure consistent staff development.
  • Spell, punctuate, and use grammar proficiently
  • Be dependable, show initiative and concern for the interests of clients
  • Work cooperatively with other staff
  • Demonstrated ability to work as part of team
  • Organize information in a clear and concise manner
  • Deal with people in a non-judgmental, empathetic, patient, and understanding manner which shows sensitivity, tact and professionalism
  • Exercise superior judgment, creativity and decisiveness
  • Be efficient in an environment that is subject to many interruptions
  • Establish, organize and maintain files
  • Communicate clearly, concisely and effectively, both verbal and written;  actively listen to and understand information and ideas as presented
  • Communicate information and ideas clearly, and concisely in writing; read and understand information presented in writing
  • Use computers and other technology driven equipment
  • Maintain a good attendance record and be punctual for the start of the business day and upon returning from lunch and breaks.

POSITION REQUIREMENTS:

  • High School Diploma or a GED is a minimum requirement
  • Demonstrated ability to type 55 wpm. 
  • A minimum of three (3) years secretarial experience preferred.
  • Former experience with a law firm or non-profit/public interest legal services organization is a plus.
  • Familiarity with legal terminology, procedures and documents in order to effectively work with correspondence such as summons, complaints, motions and subpoenas preferred.
  • Spanish language bilingual skills/fluency (oral and written) highly preferred, but not required.

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:

CLS will not accept applications via email or mail.

What to Include in your application:

Please include a cover letter expressing your interest in this position and the skills and abilities that make you a qualified candidate, an updated resume, and three professional references preferably from current or former supervisors/managers.

Community Legal Services values a diverse and inclusive work environment where employees feel a sense of belonging 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.

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.  The current minimum starting salary is $37, 100 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.  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.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay informed about the latest news and updates!

Sign Up