Staff Attorney - Family Advocacy Unit, Community Legal Services of Philadelphia

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Community Legal Services, Inc. of Philadelphia (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, CLS is both locally and nationally renowned for ensuring access to justice for low-income individuals and communities.  CLS has eight legal units covering a wide range of civil legal services. 

Community Legal Services (CLS) of Philadelphia is seeking an attorney in its Family Advocacy Unit (FAU).  CLS is one of the leading legal services programs in the country. This exciting and demanding position combines courtroom representation of individual parents with systems and policy advocacy to improve outcomes for vulnerable families in the child welfare system.  This position will entail significant courtroom advocacy with a heavy focus on high-quality client representation.

Lawyers in the FAU zealously represent parents involved with the Philadelphia child welfare system in their effort to maintain or regain custody of their children. The FAU uses an interdisciplinary team model to provide high quality representation to these parents who are often facing complex issues that include domestic violence, addiction, mental health problems, poverty, housing issues, and utility issues. FAU lawyers also engage in non-litigation focused advocacy, including policy, administrative and legislative advocacy as well as organizing and teaching community and professional education sessions. 

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

We seek applicants with the following qualifications:

  • 2 years litigation experience preferred; will consider clinic or moot court experience for outstanding candidates
  • Excellent oral advocacy skills
  • Excellent legal research and writing skills
  • Experience and ability to work with low-income and vulnerable individuals
  • Excellent work ethic, organization, and communication skills
  • Demonstrated commitment to public interest work
  • Experience with child welfare or family law preferred, but not required 
  • Experience and interest in policy and other forms of advocacy
  • High level commitment to racial justice advocacy
  • Strong networking, relationship building and communication skills
  • Exhibit sound professional and legal judgment
  • Fluency in another language helpful, but not required

To Apply:

CLS will accept applications on a rolling basis but will not be accepted after Friday, December 13, 2019. We highly encourage interested applicants to apply immediately. 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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