Staff Attorney, CLS Housing Unit, Philadelphia

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Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia is seeking an attorney in its Housing Unit located at the 1424 Chestnut Street office location. CLS is one of the leading legal services programs in the country. This exciting and demanding position is for a lawyer to represent clients in both public housing and private landlord-tenant matters. This staff attorney position primarily entails a focus on zealous representation of a significant number of individual clients each week in court hearings and administrative hearings. The position also entails helping to identify systemic issues and engaging in systems and policy advocacy work in consultation with the managing attorney. The staff attorney will also have housing related intake duties and supervision of staff and interns as needed.

Lawyers in the Housing Unit zealously represents private, public, and subsidized housing tenants in matters involving eviction, illegal lockouts, fair housing violations, termination or loss of subsidy, substandard housing, and discrimination, as well as barriers to stable housing for those with criminal records or domestic or sexual violence issues. Representation includes all the elements of litigation including client interviewing, investigation, discovery, identifying and preparing witnesses and exhibits, pleadings, briefs, and representation at hearings at trial level and appellate levels as appropriate in state and federal court.

Lawyers may also be asked to provide supervision and support to paralegals, social workers, and interns who are providing advice, brief service, and some representation.

Lawyers in the Housing Unit engage in non-litigation focused advocacy, including policy, administrative and legislative advocacy and racial justice initiatives, as well as organizing and teaching community and professional education sessions on a variety of issues, including lead paint elimination, domestic violence, criminal records, federal housing policy, tenant eviction laws, preservation of affordable housing, etc.

Lawyers in the Housing unit also work with the Managing Attorney to establish connections to community and government agency partners and to develop impact advocacy strategies to remove barriers to housing and general access to the courts for low-income individuals and families.

We seek applicants with the following qualifications:

  • Litigation and trial advocacy experience strongly preferred
  • Minimum of 2 or more years of housing and/or litigation experience preferred
  • Ability and interest in zealously representing a significant number of tenants in court and administrative hearings
  • Ability to manage a significant caseload of individual clients with both public and private landlord-tenant matters
  • Excellent legal analysis skills
  • Excellent work ethic, organization, and communication skills
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills
  • Excellent oral advocacy skills
  • Experience and interest in policy and others forms of advocacy
  • Possess sound professional and legal judgment
  • Experience and ability to work with low-income and vulnerable individuals
  • Illustrate a high level commitment to racial justice advocacy
  • Fluency in Spanish helpful, but not required

To Apply:

CLS will accept applications until Friday, March 22, 2019. You can submit your application on CLS’s website online at:

What to Include in your application:

Please include a cover letter, resume, three professional references and one brief writing sample (10 pages or less). Community Legal Services values a diverse work environment 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 Philadelphia Legal Services Union N.O.L.S.W./Local 2320/UAW. The current minimum starting salary is governed by that agreement and is subject to change 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, Inc. 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.

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