Staff Attorney - Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

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Community Legal Services of Philadelphia, Inc. (CLS) is seeking a compassionate and highly driven staff attorney to work across two practice groups, the SSI Unit and Health & Independence (H&I) Unit. The staff attorney will focus on ensuring that low-income Philadelphians can access the income supports from the Social Security Administration (SSA) that they need to thrive. The position will blend individual client representation with innovative policy work and community engagement.

CLS is a non-profit public interest organization 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. We provide high quality direct legal representation, engage in systemic policy advocacy with the goal of creating broad-based change, and conduct community education and outreach.

The SSI Unit performs critical advocacy on behalf of the disability community, representing clients in SSI disability applications and appeals. The H&I Unit represents older adults and people with disabilities to retain their independence, access needed care, and preserve their decision-making power. Both units assist Philadelphians with navigating complex legal systems.

The staff attorney will work closely with clients and community members to address barriers to accessing SSA income supports, including people with serious behavioral health conditions, people who have experienced family violence and other trauma, older adults, children and youth, people returning from incarceration, immigrants, and people who are limited English proficient.

The staff attorney will align their work with the disability and racial justice movements.


Job duties and responsibilities include:

  • Providing high-quality client representation in SSI disability appeals and SSA financial eligibility matters like income and asset issues;
  • Working closely with colleagues in both the SSI and H&I Units to identify and respond to emerging client issues involving SSA;
  • Representing CLS in local, state, and federal disability policy coalitions;
  • Participating in federal legislative and administrative advocacy pertaining to SSA’s operations and eligibility rules;
  • Engaging in impact litigation, including class action litigation, as necessary; and
  • Conducting outreach and education to clients and community members to demystify SSA income programs and make them more accessible.


  • Admission to the Pennsylvania Bar or ability to waive in;
  • Experience providing high quality, compassionate direct client representation;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills;
  • Excellent negotiation and analytical skills;
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills;
  • Ability to work cooperatively and collaboratively with diverse colleagues and communities;
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced, high-volume work environment;
  • Ability to meet deadlines and maintain attention to detail; and
  • Strong commitment to disability and racial justice.


  • Substantive knowledge of and experience with Social Security and/or public benefits law;
  • Experience working with the disability community;
  • Litigation and/or policy experience;
  • Supervision experience; and
  • Fluency in a world language.

To Apply:

CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled. However, candidates are highly encouraged to submit their application by Friday, March 24, 2023 for consideration for first round interviews. 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 (past or current supervisors preferred) identifying your relationship, and one brief writing sample (10 pages or less).

CLS 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 CLS and the Philadelphia Legal Services Union N.O.L.S.W./Local 2320/UAW. CLS offers a competitive salary based on experience. The current minimum starting salary is $62,000 for newly admitted attorneys, which increases with relevant years of experience and according to the provisions of the current collective bargaining agreement.


CLS offers a very generous and competitive benefits package including 100% employer paid medical (including gender affirming care), life, and short/long-term disability benefits, a 403(b)-retirement plan with employer contribution, and generous leave package, including 13 paid holidays and five personal holidays each year.

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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